15 “At the end of every seventh year there is to be a canceling of all debts! 2 Every creditor shall write ‘Paid in full’ on any promissory note he holds against a fellow Israelite, for the Lord has released everyone from his obligation. 3 (This release does not apply to foreigners.) 4-5 No one will become poor because of this, for the Lord will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you if you obey this command. The only prerequisite for his blessing is that you carefully heed all the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 6 He will bless you as he has promised. You shall lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow! You shall rule many nations, but they shall not rule over you!
7 “But if, when you arrive in the land the Lord will give you, there are any among you who are poor, you must not shut your heart or hand against them; 8 you must lend them as much as they need. 9 Beware! Don’t refuse a loan because the year of debt cancellation is close at hand! If you refuse to make the loan and the needy man cries out to the Lord, it will be counted against you as a sin. 10 You must lend him what he needs, and don’t moan about it either! For the Lord will prosper you in everything you do because of this! 11 There will always be some among you who are poor; that is why this commandment is necessary. You must lend to them liberally.
12 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, whether a man or woman, you must free him at the end of the sixth year you have owned him, 13 and don’t send him away empty-handed! 14 Give him a large farewell present from your flock, your olive press, and your winepress. Share with him in proportion as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God rescued you! That is why I am giving you this command.
16 “But if your Hebrew slave doesn’t want to leave—if he says he loves you and enjoys your pleasant home and gets along well with you— 17 then take an awl and pierce his ear into the door, and after that he shall be your slave forever. Do the same with your women slaves. 18 But when you free a slave you must not feel bad, for remember that for six years he has cost you less than half the price of a hired hand! And the Lord your God will prosper all you do because you have released him!
19 “You shall set aside for God all the firstborn males from your flocks and herds. Do not use the firstborn of your herds to work your fields, and do not shear the firstborn of your flocks of sheep and goats. 20 Instead, you and your family shall eat these animals before the Lord your God each year at his sanctuary. 21 However, if this firstborn animal has any defect such as being lame or blind, or if anything else is wrong with it, you shall not sacrifice it. 22 Instead, use it for food for your family at home. Anyone, even if ceremonially defiled at the time, may eat it, just as anyone may eat a gazelle or deer. 23 But don’t eat the blood; pour it out upon the ground like water.
The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.