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Deuteronomy 15 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Shmittah: Cancellation of Debts

15 “At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts. This is how you are to cancel debts: every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not force his neighbor or his brother to repay, for Adonai’s debt cancellation has been proclaimed. A foreigner you may force, but your hand is to release whatever your brother owes you.

“However, there should be no poor among you, for Adonai will surely bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess. If only you would carefully listen to the voice of Adonai your God, being careful to do all these mitzvah that I am commanding you today! For Adonai your God will bless you as He promised you. So you will lend to many nations, but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

“If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that Adonai your God is giving you—you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother. [a] Rather, you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking. Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you. 10 You must surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him—for because of this thing Adonai your God will bless you in all your work and in every undertaking of your hand.

11 “For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’

12 “If your fellow Hebrew—a man or woman—is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you are to set him free. 13 When you set him free, you are not to send him away empty-handed. 14 You are to surely provide for him from your flock and threshing floor and winepress. As Adonai your God has blessed you, you are to give to him. 15 You will remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; therefore I am commanding you this thing today.

16 “Now if he tells you, ‘I will not go away from you’—because he loves you and your household since he is well off with you— 17 then you are to take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And to your female slave you are to do the same. 18 It should not seem hard to you when you set him free from you, for he has served you six years—double the value of a hired worker. So Adonai your God will bless you in all that you do.

19 “All the firstborn males that are born in your herd and your flock you are to consecrate to Adonai your God. You are to do no work with the firstborn of your herd or shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 You are to eat it before Adonai your God year after year in the place Adonai chooses—you and your household. 21 But if it has any blemish—if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish—you are not to sacrifice it to Adonai your God. 22 You are to eat it within your gates, the unclean and the clean together, just as they eat the gazelle or deer. 23 Only its blood you are not to eat—you must pour it out on the ground like water.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 15:8 Verse 7 is 15:8 in Christian translations; cf. Rev. 24:17.
Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

Deuteronomy 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Year for Canceling Debts

15 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Freeing Servants

12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.

16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.

18 Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

The Firstborn Animals

19 Set apart for the Lord your God every firstborn male of your herds and flocks. Do not put the firstborn of your cows to work, and do not shear the firstborn of your sheep. 20 Each year you and your family are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose. 21 If an animal has a defect, is lame or blind, or has any serious flaw, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You are to eat it in your own towns. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it, as if it were gazelle or deer. 23 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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