Deuteronomy 15

1 At the end of every seven years, you shall cancel debts. 2 This is the way it shall be done: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not require payment from his neighbor and his brother; because the LORD’s release has been proclaimed. 3 Of a foreigner you may require it; but whatever of yours is with your brother, your hand shall release. 4 However there shall be no poor with you (for the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it) 5 if only you diligently listen to the LORD your God’s voice, to observe to do all this commandment which I command you today. 6 For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. You will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 7 If a poor man, one of your brothers, is with you within any of your gates in your land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your poor brother; 8 but you shall surely open your hand to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, which he lacks. 9 Beware that there not be a base 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 to the LORD against you, and it be sin to you. 10 You shall surely give, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him; because that for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work, and in all that you put your hand to. 11 For the poor will never cease out of the land. Therefore I command you to surely open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor, in your land. 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 shall let him go free from you. 13 When you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty. 14 You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your wine press. As 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 you this thing today. 16 It shall be, if he tells you, “I will not go out from you,” because he loves you and your house, because he is well with you; 17 then you shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your female servant you shall do likewise. 18 It shall not seem hard to you, when you let him go free from you; for he has been double value of a hired hand as he served you six years. the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do. 19 You shall dedicate all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock to the LORD your God. You shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 You shall eat it before the LORD your God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, you and your household. 21 If it has any defect, is lame or blind, or has any defect whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22 You shall eat it within your gates. The unclean and the clean shall eat it alike, as the gazelle, and as the deer. 23 Only you shall not eat its blood. You shall pour it out on the ground like water.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–11

This year of release typified the grace of the gospel, in which is proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord; and by which we obtain the release of our debts, that is, the pardon of our sins. The law is spiritual, and lays restraints upon the thoughts of the heart. We mistake, if we think thoughts are free from God’s knowledge and check. That is a wicked heart indeed, which raises evil thoughts from the good law of God, as theirs did, who, because God had obliged them to the charity of forgiving, denied the charity of giving. Those who would keep from the act of sin, must keep out of their minds the very thought of sin. It is a dreadful thing to have the cry of the poor justly against us. Grudge not a kindness to thy brother; distrust not the providence of God. What thou doest, do freely, for God loves a cheerful giver, 2Co 9:7.

Verses 12–18

Here the law concerning Hebrew servants is repeated. There is an addition, requiring the masters to put some small stock into their servants’ hands to set up with for themselves, when sent out of their servitude, wherein they had received no wages. We may expect family blessings, the springs of family prosperity, when we make conscience of our duty to our family relations. We are to remember that we are debtors to Divine justice, and have nothing to pay with. That we are slaves, poor, and perishing. But the Lord Jesus Christ, by becoming poor, and by shedding his blood, has made a full and free provision for the payment of our debts, the ransom of our souls, and the supply of all our wants. When the gospel is clearly preached, the acceptable year of the Lord is proclaimed; the year of release of our debts, of the deliverance of our souls, and of obtaining rest in him. And as faith in Christ and love to him prevail, they will triumph over the selfishness of the heart, and over the unkindness of the world, doing away the excuses that rise from unbelief, distrust, and covetousness.

Verses 19–23

Here is a direction what to do with the firstlings. We are not now limited as the Israelites were; we make no difference between a first calf, or lamb, and the rest. Let us then look to the gospel meaning of this law, devoting ourselves and the first of our time and strength to God; and using all our comforts and enjoyments to his praise, and under the direction of his law, as we have them all by his gift.

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