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Deuteronomy 15:17-19 New English Translation (NET Bible)

17 you shall take an awl and pierce a hole through his ear to the door.[a] Then he will become your servant permanently (this applies to your female servant as well). 18 You should not consider it difficult to let him go free, for he will have served you for six years, twice[b] the time of a hired worker; the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

Giving God the Best

19 You must set apart[c] 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.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 15:17 sn When the bondslave’s ear was drilled through to the door, the door in question was that of the master’s house. In effect, the bondslave is declaring his undying and lifelong loyalty to his creditor. The scar (or even hole) in the earlobe would testify to the community that the slave had surrendered independence and personal rights. This may be what Paul had in mind when he said “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17).
  2. Deuteronomy 15:18 tn The Hebrew term מִשְׁנֶה (mishneh, “twice”) could mean “equivalent to” (cf. NRSV) or, more likely, “double” (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT). The idea is that a hired worker would put in only so many hours per day whereas a bondslave was available around the clock.
  3. Deuteronomy 15:19 tn Heb “sanctify” (תַּקְדִּישׁ, taqdish), that is, put to use on behalf of the Lord.
New English Translation (NET)

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