[b-hebrew] Exodus 21:8

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Tue Oct 27 22:11:17 EDT 2009

K Randolph wrote:
> This is from the section from verses 7 – 11 dealing with how one should deal
> with a purchased Hebrew slave girl.
>  אם־רעה בעיני אדניה אשׁר־לא יעדה והפדה לעם נכרי לא־ימשׁל למכרה בבגדו־בה׃
> I get the basic picture that if the slave girl does not please her master, a
> master who has not had sexual relations with her, he still does not have the
> authority to sell her to people of other nations. That would be treating her
> shabbily.
> My particular question deals with והפדה what is it? The final heh is a
> personal pronoun, referring to the slave. Is it related to the word פיד as
> in doing something bad to her?
> The Qere reading has it that the master has had sexual relations with her,
> therefore he is not allowed to sell her because of how he has treated her
> underhandedly. Is there any variant reading that supports the Qere reading?
> The Qere reading makes sense of the בבגדו־בה.
> Any thoughts?

The first unclear verb (what the master “did not do” or “did to him”) is
יעדה (designated her), not ידעה (sexual relations).  The traditional
explanation is a combination of the Qere/Qetiv:
	אשר לא יעדה	that he did not designate her
	אשר לו יעדה	that he designated her for himself
Rashi says “שהיה לו ליעדה ולהכניסה לו לאשה” (he should have designated
her and married her).

The second verb in question (והפדה) is taken to be a form of the verb
פדה, “redeemed”.

I’ll check how S. R. Hirsch explains the grammar tomorrow.

—Joel Salomon

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list