GOD'S WORD® Translation
1At the end of every seven years, you must cancel debts. 2This is what you will do: If you've made a loan, don't collect payment on the debt your neighbor still owes you. Don't demand that your neighbor or relative pay you, because the [time] for suspending payments on debts has been proclaimed in the LORD's honor. 3You may demand that a foreigner pay, but don't collect payment on the debt another Israelite still owes you. 4In any case, there shouldn't be any poor people among you, because the LORD your God will certainly bless you in the land he is giving you as your own possession. 5He will bless you only if you listen carefully to the LORD your God and faithfully obey all these commands I'm giving you today. 6The LORD your God will bless you, as he promised. You will make loans to many nations, but you will not have to borrow from any of them. You will rule many nations, but no nation will ever rule you.
7This is what you must do whenever there are poor Israelites in one of your cities in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. 8Be generous to these poor people, and freely lend them as much as they need. Never be hard-hearted and tight-fisted with them. 9When the seventh year-the year when payments on debts are canceled-is near, you might be stingy toward poor Israelites and give them nothing. Be careful not to think these worthless thoughts. The poor will complain to the LORD about you, and you will be condemned for your sin. 10Be sure to give to them without any hesitation. When you do this, the LORD your God will bless you in everything you work for and set out to do. 11There will always be poor people in the land. That's why I command you to be generous to other Israelites who are poor and needy.
12Whenever Hebrew men or women are sold to you as slaves, they will be your slaves for six years. In the seventh year you must let them go free. 13But when you let them go, don't send them away empty-handed. 14Generously give them provisions-sheep from your flocks, grain from your threshing floor, and wine from your winepress. Be as generous to them as the LORD your God has been to you. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God freed you. That's why I'm giving you this command today. 16But suppose a male slave says to you, "I don't want to leave you," because he loves you and your family and is happy with you. 17Then take an awl and pierce it through his ear lobe into a door, and he will be your slave for life. Do the same to a female slave [if she doesn't want to leave].
18If you have to let your slave go free, it won't be a hardship for you. It would have cost you twice as much to hire someone to do the same work for those six years. Besides, the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
19You must dedicate every firstborn male from your herds and flocks to the LORD your God. Never use a firstborn ox for work, and never shear a firstborn sheep. 20Every year you and your family must eat these animals in the presence of the LORD your God in the place the LORD will choose. 21But if an animal is lame or blind or has any other serious defect-never sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22Eat it in your city. Clean and unclean people may eat them together as if they were eating a gazelle or a deer. 23But never eat the blood. Pour it on the ground like water.
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved.