About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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chapter 15

ch. 15:1-11   ch. 15:12-18   ch. 15:19-23

The Year For Cancelling Debts (ch. 15:1 - 11)    


This section concerns one of the seven year laws.  All debts that Israelis incur with one another must be cancelled every seven years.  You would then think that when each of these seven years would be coming to an end that no one would be lending money because they would not be paid back.  Verses 8 and 9 speak to this issue.  The Law states that the lender should not harbor  ill thoughts such as don't lend in the seventh year.  You are still to lend to the poor, and if you don't, the poor can appeal to the Lord God.


The secondary point to this section is the poor.  Note in verse 8 that you lend to the poor.  It's not a handout.  At least according to this passage, it suggests that the lending of money to the poor is to help him get back on his feet and pay the loan back. 


Verse 10 sounds a bit like a New Testament passage.  The Jews were to give generously and not grudgingly.  This is really the basics to New Testament giving.  As I've said before, the New Testament does not tell us to tithe.  It tells us to give generously, according to our ability, and to give joyfully.


Verse 11 states that you will always have poor people in your midst.  This reminds me of Jesus.  When Judas accused Martha for wasting her perfume on the feet of Jesus, he said the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.  Obviously Judas was not thinking of the poor.  The passage states that.  Jesus told Judas that the poor would always be here, but He would not always be here.  There will always be poor people, therefore, there will always be a need to lend to the poor.


Notice back in verse 6 that if Israel obeyed the Lord, they would never have need to borrow money.  They would always be the lender.  They also would serve no nation, but other nations would serve them.  At times Israel was in this position, but for the most part they haven't been.  That being said, when Jesus returns at the end of this age, Israel will be as verse 6 states.


Freeing Servants (ch. 15:12 - 18)


This section sets forth another seventh year law.  Every seven years, all slaves must be set free.  There is one exception, and that is if the slave does not want to be set free.  If this is the case, then with an awl, you put a hole in his ear lobe.  The way it's done is the slaves head is placed by a door post, the awl goes into the ear lobe and into the door post.  The whole symbolizes the will of the slave to be a slave forever by choice.  In New Testament times, this is called a "bond slave".  Paul spoke of himself as being a "bond slave" to the Lord, that is, a slave to Jesus by choice. 


You might ask, "why doesn't this law simply abolish slavery"?  I'm not certain I can give the real answer.  I do believe if you read through this passage that there is an underlying thought that the slave owner will take care of the slave with respect.  That would be why some slaves would not want to go free.  It's clear that God did not abolish slavery, but I'm convinced that the improper use and treatment of slaves is detestable in the sight of the Lord. 


The First Born Animals (ch. 15:19 - 23)


I will not comment on this section.  This section concerns giving the first born of one's livestock to the Lord. 


The one thing to note here is that Israel was not to eat the blood of animals.  The blood was sacred.


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