Deuteronomy 15

1“At the end of every seven years, you must cancel debts. 2This is the way you must do this: Every person that has lent money to another Israelite must cancel that debt. He should not ask a brother (an Israelite) to pay back that debt. Why? Because the Lord said to cancel debts during that year. 3You may require a foreigner to pay you back. But you must cancel any debt another Israelite owes you. 4There should not be any poor people in your country. Why? Because the Lord is giving you this land. And the Lord will greatly bless you. 5But this will happen only if you obey the Lord your God. You must be careful to obey every command that I have told you today. 6Then the Lord your God will bless you, like he promised. And you will have enough money to make loans to many nations. But you will not need to borrow from anyone. You will rule over many nations. But none of those nations will rule over you. 7“When you are living in the land the Lord your God is giving you, there might be a poor person among your people. You must not be selfish. You must not refuse to give help to that poor person. 8You must be willing to share with him. You must lend that person whatever he needs. 9“Don’t ever refuse to help someone simply because the seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near. Don’t let an evil thought like that enter your mind. You must never have bad thoughts about a person that needs help. You must not refuse to help him. If you don’t help that poor person, then he will complain to the Lord against you. And the Lord will find you guilty of sin. 10“Give the poor person all that you can. Don’t feel bad about giving to him. Why? Because the Lord your God will bless you for doing this good thing. He will bless you in all your work and in everything you do. 11There will always be poor people in the land. That is why I command you to be ready to help your brother. Give to the poor people in your land that need help. 12“You might buy a Hebrew man or woman to serve you as a slave. You may keep that person as a slave for six years. But in the seventh year, you must let that person go free. 13But when you let your slave go free, don’t send him away with nothing. 14You must give that person some of your animals, grain, and wine. The Lord your God blessed you and gave you plenty of good things. In the same way, you must give plenty of good things to your slave. 15Remember, you were slaves in Egypt. And the Lord your God set you free. So that is why I am giving you this command today. 16“But one of your slaves might say to you, 'I will not leave you.’ He might say this because he loves you and your family and because he has a good life with you. 17Make this servant put his ear against your door, and use a sharp tool to make a hole in his ear. This will show that he is your slave forever. You must do this even to the women slaves that want to stay with you. 18“Don’t feel bad about letting your slave go free. Remember, he served you six years at only half the money you would have paid a hired person. The Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. 19“All the first male animals born in your herd and flock are special. You must give them to the Lord. Don’t use any of those animals for your work. And don’t cut wool from any of those sheep. 20Every year you must take those animals to the place the Lord your God will choose. There with the Lord, you and your family will eat those animals. 21“But if an animal has something wrong with it—if it is crippled or blind or has something else wrong with it—then you must not sacrifice that animal to the Lord your God. 22But you may eat the meat from that animal at home. Any person may eat it—people who are clean and people who are unclean. The rules for eating this meat is the same as the rules for eating gazelles and deer. 23But you must not eat the blood from the animal. You must pour the blood out on the ground like water.

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