|<< Deuteronomy 15 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The Sabbatical year of release, Deuteronomy 15:1. The manner in which this release shall take place, Deuteronomy 15:2-5. Of lending to the poor, and the disposition in which it should be done, Deuteronomy 15:6-11. Of the Hebrew servant who has served six years, and who shall be dismissed well furnished, Deuteronomy 15:12-15. The ceremony of boring the ear, when the servant wishes to continue with his master, Deuteronomy 15:16-18. Of the firstlings of the flock and herd, Deuteronomy 15:19, Deuteronomy 15:20. Nothing shall be offered that has any blemish, Deuteronomy 15:21. The sacrifice to be eaten both by the clean and unclean, except the blood, which is never to be eaten, but poured out upon the ground, Deuteronomy 15:22, Deuteronomy 15:23.
1At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.
At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release - For an explanation of many things in this chapter, see the notes on Exodus 21 (note), Exodus 23 (note), and Leviticus 25 (note).
2And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S release.
3Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;
4Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:
There shall be no poor - That is, comparatively; see Deuteronomy 15:11.
5Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.
6For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.
7If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
8But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
Thou shalt open thine hand wide - Thy benevolence shall be in proportion to his distress and poverty, and thy ability. Thou shalt have no other rule to regulate thy charity by.
9Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart - לבבך בליעל lebabecha beliyaal, thy belial heart, that is, thy good-for-nothing or unprofitable heart; See on Deuteronomy 13:13 (note).
And thine eye be evil - An evil eye signifies a covetous disposition. See the same form of expression used by our Lord in the same sense, Matthew 6:23. If thine eye be evil - If thou be a covetous person. Evil eye is by our Lord opposed to single eye, i. e., a person of a liberal, benevolent mind. Covetousness darkens the soul; liberality and benevolence enlighten it.
And he cry unto the Lord against thee - What a consolation to the poor and the oppressed, that they have a sure friend in God, who will hear their cry and redress their grievances!
10Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
11For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
For the poor shall never cease out of the land - To this passage our Lord appears to allude Mark 14:7 : For ye have the poor with you always. God leaves these in mercy among men to exercise the feelings of compassion, tenderness, mercy, etc. And without occasions afforded to exercise these, man would soon become a Stoic or a brute.
12And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
13And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:
Thou shalt not let him go away empty - Because during the time he served thee, he made no property for himself, having been always honest towards thee; and now when he leaves thee, he has nothing to begin the world with.
14Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.
Thou shalt furnish him - out of thy flock - Thou shalt give him some cattle to breed with; out of thy floor - some corn for seed and for bread; and out of thy wine press - an adequate provision of wine for present necessity.
15And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.
16And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;
17Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
Thou shalt take an awl - See the note on Exodus 21:6.
18It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.
19All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.
20Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household.
Thou shalt eat it - in the place which the Lord shall choose - Thus God in his mercy made their duty and interest go hand in hand. And in every case God acts thus with his creatures; well, therefore, might Satan ask, Doth Job serve God for naught? No! nor does God design that any man should.
21And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.
If there be any blemish - See the notes on Leviticus 22:20. God will have both a perfect priest and a perfect offering.
22Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart.
23Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.