The year of forgiveness
1 Every seven years you shall pardon debts. 2 You shall do this in the following manner: the creditor shall pardon any debt of his neighbor or brother, and shall stop exacting it of him because Yahweh’s pardon has been proclaimed. 3 You may demand that a foreigner pay back his debts but you shall pardon the debt of your brother. 4 How ever you should have no poor in your midst for Yahweh will give you prosperity in the land that you have con quered. 5 If you listen to the voice of Yahweh, your God, and obey all that he has commanded you, which I now remind you of, he will bless you as he promised. 6 You shall lend to many nations but you shall not borrow; you shall drive away many nations and they shall not have dominion over you.
The poor and enslaved
7 If there is anybody poor among your brothers, who lives in your cities in the land that Yahweh gives you, do not harden your heart or close your hand, 8 but be open-handed and lend him all that he needs.
9 Be careful that you do not harbor in your heart these perverse thoughts: “The seventh year, the year of pardon, is near,” so you look coldly at your poor brother and lend him nothing. He may cry to Yahweh against you, and you will be guilty. 10 When you give anything, give it willingly, and Yahweh, your God, will bless you for this in all your work and in all that you under take.
11 The poor will not disappear from this land. Therefore I give you this commandment: you must be open-handed to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in your land.
12 If your fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you as a slave, he shall serve you for six years, and in the seventh, you shall set him free. 13 When you set him free, do not let him go empty-hand ed, 14 but give him some thing from your flock, from your store of wheat and wine, something from the good things that Yahweh has blessed you with.
15 Remember that you too were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yah weh, your God, has given you freedom. Be cause of this, I give you this commandment.
16 But if your slave says: “I do not want to leave,” because he loves you and your household and knows that he will be well off with you, 17 you shall then take an awl and thrust it through his ear into the door of your house, and he will serve you forever. You shall do likewise with your maidservant.
18 Do not think it hard on you to give him freedom, because for six years you have gained from him twice as much as from a hired servant.
19 You shall consecrate to Yahweh all the male firstlings that are born of your cattle or sheep. You shall not use the firstling of your cattle for work, nor shear the firstling of your sheep.
20 You shall eat these every three years in the presence of Yahweh with all your family in the place Yahweh has chosen. 21 You shall not sacrifice an animal to Yahweh if it has any defect, if it is lame or blind, 22 but shall eat it in your house; the clean as well as the unclean may eat of it, as you would eat a gazelle or a deer. 23 Only take care that you do not eat the blood, you shall pour it out on the ground like water.