Setting Slaves Free
- Moses said:
- 1 Every seven years you must announce, The
Lord says loans do not need to be paid back. Then if you have loaned
money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment. 3 This law
applies only to loans you have made to other Israelites. Foreigners will still
have to pay back what you have loaned them.
4 No one in Israel should ever be poor. The Lord your
God is giving you this land, and he has promised to make you very successful,
if you obey his laws and teachings that Im giving you today. You will
lend money to many nations, but you wont have to borrow. You will rule
many nations, but they wont rule you.
7 After the Lord your God gives land to each of you,
there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then
dont be mean and selfish with your money. 8 Instead, be kind and lend
them what they need. 9 Be careful! Dont say to yourself, Soon
it will be the seventh year, and then I wont be able to get my money
back. It would be horrible for you to think that way and to be so selfish
that you refuse to help the poor. They are your relatives, and if you dont
help them, they may ask the Lord to decide whether you have done wrong. And
he will say that you are guilty. 10 You should be happy to give the poor what
they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you
11 There will always be some Israelites who are poor
and needy. Thats why I am commanding you to be generous with them.
- Moses said to Israel:
- 12 If any of you buy Israelites as
slaves, you must set them free after six years. 13 And dont
just tell them they are free to leave14
give them sheep and goats and a good supply of grain and wine.
The more the Lord has given you, the more you should give them.
15 I am commanding you to obey the Lord as a reminder that you
were slaves in Egypt before he set you free. 16
But one of your slaves may say, I love you and your family,
and I would be better off staying with you, so please dont
make me leave. 17 Take the slave to the door of your house
and push a sharp metal rod through one earlobe and into the door.
Such slaves will belong to you for life, whether they are men
18 Dont complain when you have
to set a slave free. After all, you got six years of service
at half the cost of hiring someone to do the work.
(Leviticus 27.26, 27; Numbers 18.15-18)
- Moses said to Israel:
- 19 If the first-born animal of a
cow or sheep or goat is a male, it must be given to the Lord.
Dont put first-born cattle to work or cut wool from first-born
sheep. 20 Instead, each year you must take the first-born of
these animals to the place where the Lord your God chooses to
be worshiped. You and your family will sacrifice them to the
Lord and then eat them as part of a sacred meal.
21 But if the animal is lame or blind
or has something else wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it
to the Lord your God. 22 You can butcher it where you live, and
eat it just like the meat of a deer or gazelle that you kill
while hunting. Even those people who are unclean and unfit for
worship can have some. 23 But you must never eat the blood of
an animallet it drain out on the ground.
The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary