ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 308


the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will
bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but
will never need to borrow. You will rule many nations, but they will not
rule over you.
“But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the
land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be ­hard-­hearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they
need. Do not be ­mean-­spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year
for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the
needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin.
Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will
bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who
are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor
and with other Israelites in need.
“If a fellow Hebrew sells himself or herself to be your servant and serves
you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free.
“When you release a male servant, do not send him away ­empty-­handed.
Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor,
and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the
Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were once slaves in
the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you! That is why I
am giving you this command.
“But suppose your servant says, ‘I will not leave you,’ because he loves
you and your family, and he has done well with you. In that case, take an
awl and push it through his earlobe into the door. After that, he will be
your servant for life. And do the same for your female servants.
“You must not consider it a hardship when you release your servants.
Remember that for six years they have given you services worth double
the wages of hired workers, and the Lord your God will bless you in all
you do.
“You must set aside for the Lord your God all the firstborn males from
your flocks and herds. Do not use the firstborn of your herds to work
your fields, and do not shear the firstborn of your flocks. Instead, you
and your family must eat these animals in the presence of the Lord your
God each year at the place he chooses. But if this firstborn animal has
any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or if anything else is wrong
with it, you must not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. Instead, use it for
food for your family in your hometown. Anyone, whether ceremonially
clean or unclean, may eat it, just as anyone may eat a gazelle or deer. But
you must not consume the blood. You must pour it out on the ground
like water.

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