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Deuteronomy 15Common English Bible (CEB)

Year of canceled debts

15 Every seventh year you must cancel all debts. This is how the cancellation is to be handled: Creditors will forgive the loans of their fellow Israelites. They won’t demand repayment from their neighbors or their relatives because the Lord’s year of debt cancellation has been announced. You are allowed to demand payment from foreigners, but whatever is owed you from your fellow Israelites you must forgive. Of course there won’t be any poor persons among you because the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, but only if you carefully obey the Lord your God’s voice, by carefully doing every bit of this commandment that I’m giving you right now. Once the Lord your God has blessed you, exactly as he said he would, you will end up lending to many different peoples but won’t need to borrow a thing. You will dominate many different peoples, but they won’t dominate you.

Now if there are some poor persons among you, say one of your fellow Israelites in one of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don’t be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward your poor fellow Israelites. To the contrary! Open your hand wide to them. You must generously lend them whatever they need. But watch yourself! Make sure no wicked thought crosses your mind, such as, The seventh year is coming—the year of debt cancellation—so that you resent your poor fellow Israelites and don’t give them anything. If you do that, they will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. 10 No, give generously to needy persons. Don’t resent giving to them because it is this very thing that will lead to the Lord your God’s blessing you in all you do and work at. 11 Poor persons will never disappear from the earth. That’s why I’m giving you this command: you must open your hand generously to your fellow Israelites, to the needy among you, and to the poor who live with you in your land.

12 If any of your fellow Hebrews, male or female, sell themselves into your service, they can work for you for six years, but in the seventh year you must set them free from your service. 13 Furthermore, when you set them free from your service, you must not let them go empty-handed. 14 Instead, provide for them fully from your flock, food, and wine. You must give to them from that with which the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember how each of you were slaves in Egypt and how the Lord your God saved you. That’s why I am commanding you to do this right now. (16 Now if your male servant says to you: “I don’t want to leave your service” because he loves you and your family and because life is good for him in your service, 17 then you may take a needle and pierce his ear with it into the doorframe. From that point on, he will be your permanent servant. Do the same thing for female servants.) 18 Don’t consider it a hardship to set these servants free from your service, because they worked for you for six years—at a value double that of a paid worker. The Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.

19 You must devote every oldest male animal from your herds or flocks to the Lord your God. Don’t plow with your oldest male ox and don’t shear your oldest male sheep. 20 Year after year, you and your family are allowed to eat these animals in the presence of the Lord your God, in the location the Lord selects. 21 But if there is any defect in it, lameness, blindness, any flaw whatsoever, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You are allowed to eat those in your own cities, whether you are polluted or purified, just as you would eat gazelle or deer. 23 Even so, don’t consume any blood. Pour it out on the ground, like water.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Deuteronomy 15New International Version (NIV)

The Year for Canceling Debts

15 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Freeing Servants

12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.

16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.

18 Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

The Firstborn Animals

19 Set apart for the Lord your God every firstborn male of your herds and flocks. Do not put the firstborn of your cows to work, and do not shear the firstborn of your sheep. 20 Each year you and your family are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose. 21 If an animal has a defect, is lame or blind, or has any serious flaw, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You are to eat it in your own towns. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it, as if it were gazelle or deer. 23 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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