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Deuteronomy 15Modern English Version (MEV)

The Sabbatical Year

15 At the end of every seven years you shall grant a relinquishing of debts. This is the manner of the relinquishing: Every creditor that has loaned anything to his neighbor shall relinquish it. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother, because it is called the Lord’s relinquishment. You may collect it from a foreigner, but that which your brother has that is yours your hand shall release. However, there will be no poor among you, for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God has given you for an inheritance to possess, if only you carefully obey the voice of the Lord your God, by carefully observing all these commandments which I command you today. For the Lord your God will bless you, just as He promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. You will reign over many nations, but they will not reign over you.

If there be among you a poor man, one of your brothers within any of your gates in your land which the Lord your God has given you, you must not harden your heart or shut your hand from your poor brother. But you shall open your hand wide to him and must surely lend him what is sufficient for his need, in that which he lacks. Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, “The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,” and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin in you. 10 You must surely give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because in this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to do. 11 For the poor will never cease from being in the land. Therefore, I command you, saying, “You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and needy in your land.”

Freeing Servants

12 If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you must let him go free from you. 13 When you send him out free from you, you must not let him go away empty-handed. 14 You shall supply him liberally out of your flock, out of your floor, and out of your winepress. From that with which the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. Therefore, I command this to you today.

16 It shall be, if he says to you, “I will not go away from you,” because he loves you and your house, because he is well off with you, 17 then you must take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And you shall also do likewise to your female servant.

18 It will not seem difficult for you when you send him away free from you, for he has been worth a double hired servant[a] in serving you six years. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all that you do.

The Firstborn Animals

19 You must sanctify all the firstborn males that come out of your herd and flock to the Lord your God. You must do no work with the firstborn of your bulls or shear the firstborn of your sheep. 20 You shall eat it before the Lord your God year by year in the place where the Lord shall choose, you and your household. 21 If there is any defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has a serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You shall eat it within your gates. The unclean and the clean person alike shall eat it, as if it were a gazelle or a deer. 23 Only you must not eat its blood. You shall pour it on the ground like water.


  1. Deuteronomy 15:18 Or double the amount.
Modern English Version (MEV)

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.


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