The Sabbatical Year1“At the end of aevery seven years you shall grant a release. 2And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed. 3 bOf a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release. 4 cBut there will be no poor among you; dfor the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— 5 eif only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today. 6For the Lord your God will bless you, fas he promised you, and gyou shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and hyou shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.
7“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, iyou shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8but jyou shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. 9Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your keye look grudgingly ▼
▼Or be evil; also verse 10on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he mcry to the Lord against you, and nyou be guilty of sin. 10You shall give to him freely, and oyour heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because pfor this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11For qthere will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, r‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
12 s“If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold ▼
▼Or sells himselfto you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. uAs the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15 vYou shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16But wif he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, 17then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave ▼
▼Or servant; the Hebrew term ‘ebed designates a range of social and economic roles (see Preface)forever. And to your female slave ▼
▼Or servantyou shall do the same. 18It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired worker he has served you six years. So the Lord your God will bless you in all that you do.
19 z“All the firstborn males that are born of your herd and flock you shall dedicate to the Lord your God. You shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 aaYou shall eat it, you and your household, before the Lord your God year by year at the place that the Lord will choose. 21 abBut if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22You shall eat it within your towns. acThe unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as though it were a gazelle or a deer. 23 adOnly you shall not eat its blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.
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