1-2Every seven years you must announce, “The Lord says loans do not need to be paid back.” Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment. 3This law applies only to loans you have made to other Israelites. Foreigners will still have to pay back what you have loaned them.
4-6No one in Israel should ever be poor. The Lord your God is giving you this land, and he has promised to make you very successful, if you obey his laws and teachings that I'm giving you today. You will lend money to many nations, but you won't have to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they won't rule you.
7 After the Lord your God gives land to each of you, there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then don't be mean and selfish with your money. 8Instead, be kind and lend them what they need. 9Be careful! Don't say to yourself, “Soon it will be the seventh year, and then I won't be able to get my money back.” It would be horrible for you to think that way and to be so selfish that you refuse to help the poor. They are your relatives, and if you don't help them, they may ask the Lord to decide whether you have done wrong. And he will say that you are guilty. 10You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you do.
11 There will always be some Israelites who are poor and needy. That's why I am commanding you to be generous with them.
Setting Slaves Free
Moses said to Israel:
12 If any of you buy Israelites as slaves, you must set them free after six years. 13And don't just tell them they are free to leave— 14give them sheep and goats and a good supply of grain and wine. The more the Lord has given you, the more you should give them. 15I am commanding you to obey the Lord as a reminder that you were slaves in Egypt before he set you free. 16But one of your slaves may say, “I love you and your family, and I would be better off staying with you, so please don't make me leave.” 17Take the slave to the door of your house and push a sharp metal rod through one earlobe and into the door. Such slaves will belong to you for life, whether they are men or women.
18Don't complain when you have to set a slave free. After all, you got six years of service at half the cost of hiring someone to do the work.
(Leviticus 27.26,27; Numbers 18.15-18)
Moses said to Israel:
19 If the first-born animal of a cow or sheep or goat is a male, it must be given to the Lord. Don't put first-born cattle to work or cut wool from first-born sheep. 20Instead, each year you must take the first-born of these animals to the place where the Lord your God chooses to be worshiped. You and your family will sacrifice them to the Lord and then eat them as part of a sacred meal.
21But if the animal is lame or blind or has something else wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22You can butcher it where you live, and eat it just like the meat of a deer or gazelle that you kill while hunting. Even those people who are unclean and unfit for worship can have some. 23 But you must never eat the blood of an animal—let it drain out on the ground.