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Deuteronomy 15:1-6

Context
Release for Debt Slaves

15:1 At the end of every seven years you must declare a cancellation 1  of debts. 15:2 This is the nature of the cancellation: Every creditor must remit what he has loaned to another person; 2  he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite, 3  for it is to be recognized as “the Lord’s cancellation of debts.” 15:3 You may exact payment from a foreigner, but whatever your fellow Israelite 4  owes you, you must remit. 15:4 However, there should not be any poor among you, for the Lord 5  will surely bless 6  you in the land that he 7  is giving you as an inheritance, 8  15:5 if you carefully obey 9  him 10  by keeping 11  all these commandments that I am giving 12  you today. 15:6 For the Lord your God will bless you just as he has promised; you will lend to many nations but will not borrow from any, and you will rule over many nations but they will not rule over you.

1 tn The Hebrew term שְׁמִטָּת (shÿmittat), a derivative of the verb שָׁמַט (shamat, “to release; to relinquish”), refers to the cancellation of the debt and even pledges for the debt of a borrower by his creditor. This could be a full and final remission or, more likely, one for the seventh year only. See R. Wakely, NIDOTTE 4:155-60. Here the words “of debts” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied. Cf. NAB “a relaxation of debts”; NASB, NRSV “a remission of debts.”

2 tn Heb “his neighbor,” used idiomatically to refer to another person.

3 tn Heb “his neighbor and his brother.” The words “his brother” may be a scribal gloss identifying “his neighbor” (on this idiom, see the preceding note) as a fellow Israelite (cf. v. 3). In this case the conjunction before “his brother” does not introduce a second category, but rather has the force of “that is.”

4 tn Heb “your brother.”

5 tc After the phrase “the Lord” many mss and versions add “your God” to complete the usual full epithet.

6 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “surely.” Note however, that the use is rhetorical, for the next verse attaches a condition.

7 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.

8 tn The Hebrew text includes “to possess.”

9 tn Heb “if listening you listen to the voice of.” The infinitive absolute is used for emphasis, which the translation indicates with “carefully.” The idiom “listen to the voice” means “obey.”

10 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 15:4.

11 tn Heb “by being careful to do.”

12 tn Heb “commanding” (so NASB); NAB “which I enjoin you today.”



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