Deuteronomy 15

The year to forgive debts

1 At the end of every seven years you must remove the debts of people that you have lent money to. 2 This is how you must do it:

Every person who has lent money to someone must remove that debt. He must not demand to get his money back from any other Israelite. It is the Lord's time to remove debts. 3 You can demand to get your money back from a foreign person. But if you have lent money to another Israelite, you must forgive the debt.

4 The Lord will bless you in the land that he is giving you to live in. So there should be no poor people among you. 5 But you must always obey him completely. So be careful to obey all the commands that I am giving to you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you, as he has promised to do. You will lend money to the people of many other nations, but you will not borrow money from them. You will rule over many other nations, but they will not rule over you.

7 The Lord your God will bless you in the land that he is giving to you. But perhaps there will be a poor person among the Israelites in one of your towns. Then do not refuse to help him. Do not think only about yourself. 8 Instead, be generous. Lend him the money that he needs.

15:8‘Generous’ means that you do not want to keep things for yourself if someone else needs them more. See verses 10 and 14.

9 Be careful not to think this wicked thought: ‘The seventh year will happen soon. That is the year when I must forgive people's debts. So I will not lend money to people at this time.’ Do not be cruel like that to another Israelite who is poor. Do not refuse to lend him anything. He might complain about you to the Lord. Then the Lord would say that you are guilty of a sin. 10 Instead, you should certainly lend money to him. Do not feel upset about it. If you are generous, the Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.

11 There will always be some poor people among you in the land where you are going. So I command you to be generous to other Israelites who are poor. Help them with the things that they need.


12 You may buy another Israelite to be your servant, a man or a woman. Let that servant work for you for six years. Then in the seventh year, you must let him go free. 13 When you let him go, you must not send him away with nothing to take with him. 14 Give him gifts of sheep, grain and wine. Be generous! Give him many good things, as the Lord has blessed you with good things. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt. But the Lord your God rescued you from there. This is why I am giving you this command today.

16 But perhaps your servant will say to you, ‘I do not want to leave you!’ He may say that because he loves you and your family. He enjoys his life with you. 17 If he says that, you must take a tool with a sharp point. Push it through his ear, into your door. After that, he will be your servant for his whole life. Do the same thing for any female servant who wants to stay with you.

18 Do not think that it will be difficult for you if he goes free. Remember that he has served you well for six years. He has been worth twice as much as a servant that you pay to do your work. The Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.

The first animals that are born

19 You must keep separate every firstborn male animal that is born from your cows, sheep or goats. They belong to the Lord your God. Do not make these firstborn animals do any work for you. Do not cut off the wool from your firstborn sheep. 20 Each year, you and your family must take these animals to the place that the Lord your God will choose. Eat them there, at the Lord's special home. 21 But if a firstborn animal is not perfect, you must not offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. It must not be blind or have weak legs. It must not have anything wrong with it. 22 You may eat animals like that at home. It is the same as if you are eating meat from deer. Anyone may eat it. That includes people who are clean and people who are unclean. 23 But you must not eat the animal's blood. You must pour it on the ground like water.