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Deuteronomy 15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15

Debts and the Poor. At the end of every seven-year period[a] you shall have a remission of debts, and this is the manner of the remission. Creditors shall remit all claims on loans made to a neighbor, not pressing the neighbor, one who is kin, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed. You may press a foreigner, but you shall remit the claim on what your kin owes to you. However, since the Lord, your God, will bless you abundantly in the land the Lord, your God, will give you to possess as a heritage, there shall be no one of you in need if you but listen to the voice of the Lord, your God, and carefully observe this entire commandment which I enjoin on you today. Since the Lord, your God, will bless you as he promised, you will lend to many nations, and borrow from none; you will rule over many nations, and none will rule over you.

If one of your kindred is in need in any community in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor close your hand against your kin who is in need. Instead, you shall freely open your hand and generously lend what suffices to meet that need. Be careful not to entertain the mean thought, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” so that you would begrudge your kin who is in need and give nothing, and your kin would cry to the Lord against you and you would be held guilty. 10 When you give, give generously and not with a stingy heart; for that, the Lord, your God, will bless you in all your works and undertakings. 11 The land will never lack for needy persons; that is why I command you: “Open your hand freely to your poor and to your needy kin in your land.”

Hebrew Slaves. 12 If your kin, a Hebrew man or woman, sells himself or herself to you, he or she is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year you shall release him or her as a free person. 13 When you release a male from your service, as a free person, you shall not send him away empty-handed, 14 but shall weigh him down with gifts from your flock and threshing floor and wine press; as the Lord, your God, has blessed you, so you shall give to him. 15 For remember that you too were slaves in the land of Egypt, and the Lord, your God, redeemed you. That is why I am giving you this command today. 16 But if he says to you, “I do not wish to leave you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 you shall take an awl and put it through his ear[b] into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. Your female slave, also, you shall treat in the same way. 18 Do not be reluctant when you let them go free, since the service they have given you for six years was worth twice a hired laborer’s salary; and the Lord, your God, will bless you in everything you do.

Firstlings. 19 You shall consecrate to the Lord, your God, every male firstling born in your herd and in your flock. You shall not work the firstlings of your cattle, nor shear the firstlings of your flock. 20 In the presence of the Lord, your God, you shall eat them year after year, you and your household, in the place that the Lord will choose. 21 But if a firstling has any defect, lameness or blindness, any such serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord, your God, 22 but in your own communities you may eat it, the unclean and the clean eating it together, as you would a gazelle or a deer. 23 Only, you must not eat of its blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:1 At the end of every seven-year period: in every seventh, or sabbatical, year. Cf. 15:9; 31:10; and compare Jer 34:14 with Dt 15:12. A remission of debts: it is debated whether a full cancellation of debts is meant, or merely a suspension of payment on them or on their interest, but the former is more likely. Cf. Ex 23:11 where the same Hebrew root is used of a field that is “let lie fallow” in the sabbatical year.
  2. 15:17 His ear: cf. Ex 21:6 and note there.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Deuteronomy 15 New 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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