Old Testament

Deuteronomy 15
The Sabbatical Year and the Remission of Debt
151At the end of seven years grant a release.[]
2This is how the release is to be done: Every creditor is to release[] what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not exact it from his neighbor or from his brother Israelite, because the Lord's release has been proclaimed. 3You may exact it from a foreigner, but your hand is to release whatever your brother Israelite owes you.[]
4However, there should be no poor people among you, because the Lord will greatly bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance for you to possess, 5if you obey the voice of the Lord your God by carefully carrying out all of this command that I am giving you today. 6For the Lord your God will bless you, just as he has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
7However, if there is a poor person among you, any one of your fellow Israelites within the gates of your towns in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your poor brother. 8Rather, open up your hand to him and freely lend him enough of whatever he needs for himself. 9Be careful that you do not harbor this wicked thought: Year seven, the year of release, is near! So as a result you have a harsh attitude toward your poor brother and do not give him anything. Then he will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. 10Give freely to him, and do not feel resentful about giving to him, because on account of your giving, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and whatever you put your hand to. 11Since there will never cease to be poor people in the land, I command you, open up your hand to your brother in your land, to the afflicted and the poor among you.
The Release of Servants
12If your brother, that is, a Hebrew man or woman, sells himself to you, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year you are to set him free. 13When you set him free, do not send him out empty-handed. 14Provide for him generously from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your winepress. Give to him from the blessings that the Lord your God has given to you. 15You should remember that you yourself were a slave in the land of Egypt, but the Lord your God redeemed you. Therefore I am commanding this procedure to you today.
16But he might say to you, “I don't want to leave you,” because he loves you and your household, and he is well off with you. 17In that case you are to take an awl and bore through his ear into the door, and he will be a slave to you permanently. Do the same in the case of your female slave. 18When you do set a servant free, it should not seem like a hardship to you, because for six years he has earned for you double the income that a hired worker would. The Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.
Dedication of the Firstborn
19Set apart for the Lord your God every firstborn male from your herd and your flock. Do not work the firstborn of your oxen, and do not shear the firstborn of your flock. 20You and your household are to eat the firstborn in the presence of the Lord each year, in the place that the Lord will choose. 21But if it has a defect (if it is lame or blind, or if it has any other serious defect), you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22You may eat it within the gates of your towns. The unclean and the clean person alike may eat it, as you would a gazelle or a deer. 23But you must not eat its blood. You are to pour it out on the ground like water.


  • 15:1 That is, a remission of debt
  • 15:2 Or forgive
  • 15:3 It is not certain if the creditor is to forgive the debt permanently or to suspend repayment during the year in which there is no harvest.