Deuteronomy 15

Release for Debt Slaves

15:1 At the end of every seven years you must declare a cancellation1 of debts. 15:2 This is the nature of the cancellation: Every creditor must remit what he has loaned to another person;2 he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite,3 for it is to be recognized as “the Lord’s cancellation of debts.” 15:3 You may exact payment from a foreigner, but whatever your fellow Israelite4 owes you, you must remit. 15:4 However, there should not be any poor among you, for the Lord5 will surely bless6 you in the land that he7 is giving you as an inheritance,8 15:5 if you carefully obey9 him10 by keeping11 all these commandments that I am giving12 you today. 15:6 For the Lord your God will bless you just as he has promised; you will lend to many nations but will not borrow from any, and you will rule over many nations but they will not rule over you.

The Spirit of Liberality

15:7 If a fellow Israelite13 from one of your villages14 in the land that the Lord your God is giving you should be poor, you must not harden your heart or be insensitive15 to his impoverished condition.16 15:8 Instead, you must be sure to open your hand to him and generously lend17 him whatever he needs.18 15:9 Be careful lest you entertain the wicked thought that the seventh year, the year of cancellation of debts, has almost arrived, and your attitude19 be wrong toward your impoverished fellow Israelite20 and you do not lend21 him anything; he will cry out to the Lord against you and you will be regarded as having sinned.22 15:10 You must by all means lend23 to him and not be upset by doing it,24 for because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you attempt. 15:11 There will never cease to be some poor people in the land; therefore, I am commanding you to make sure you open25 your hand to your fellow Israelites26 who are needy and poor in your land.

Release of Debt Slaves

15:12 If your fellow Hebrew27 – whether male or female28 – is sold to you and serves you for six years, then in the seventh year you must let that servant29 go free.30 15:13 If you set them free, you must not send them away empty-handed. 15:14 You must supply them generously31 from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress – as the Lord your God has blessed you, you must give to them. 15:15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore, I am commanding you to do this thing today. 15:16 However, if the servant32 says to you, “I do not want to leave33 you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 15:17 you shall take an awl and pierce a hole through his ear to the door.34 Then he will become your servant permanently (this applies to your female servant as well). 15:18 You should not consider it difficult to let him go free, for he will have served you for six years, twice35 the time of a hired worker; the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

Giving God the Best

15:19 You must set apart36 for the Lord your God every firstborn male born to your herds and flocks. You must not work the firstborn of your bulls or shear the firstborn of your flocks. 15:20 You and your household must eat them annually before the Lord your God in the place he37 chooses. 15:21 If they have any kind of blemish – lameness, blindness, or anything else38 – you may not offer them as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. 15:22 You may eat it in your villages,39 whether you are ritually impure or clean,40 just as you would eat a gazelle or an ibex. 15:23 However, you must not eat its blood; you must pour it out on the ground like water.

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