Deuteronomy 15 Commentary

 


Moses on Mt Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1+)
Listen to Mt Nebo as you Ponder How Moses' May Have Felt
Deuteronomy by Irving Jensen- used by permission
deut
Source: Ryrie Study Bible

Deuteronomy

Dt 1:1-4:43 Dt 4:44-26:19 Dt 27:1-34:12

Moses'
First
Discourse

Moses'
Second
Discourse

Moses'
Third
Discourse

Historical Review Legal
Exposition
Prophetical
Promises

Looking Back

40 Years

Looking Up
What God
Expected of Israel
Looking Ahead
What God
Will Do for Israel
Recapitulation of Wanderings Rehearsal
of Israel's Law
Ratification
of Israel's Covenant
Historical Appendices
Remembrance of the past Commandments
for the Present
Dt 27:1-30:20
Blessing and Cursing
Dt 31:1-34:12
Death of Moses
Take Heed
Don't forget
Ten
Commands
Related
Commands
Two Choices Affecting
the Future
Moses' Parting Words
Dt 1:1-4:43
Looking Back
Dt 4:44-11:32
Exposition of Decalogue
Dt 12:1-16:17
Ceremonial Laws
Dt 16:18-20:20
Civil
Laws
Dt 21:1-26:19
Social
Laws
Dt 27:1-28:68
Ratification of Covenant
Dt 29:1-30:20
Terms of Covenant
Dt 31:1-34:12
Moses' Song, Blessing, Death

Plains of Moab

ca. 2 Months
Moses: Author

(Except Dt 34)

Deuteronomy 15:1  "At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.

  • De 31:10 Ex 21:2 23:10,11 Lev 25:2-4 Isa 61:1-3 Jer 36:8-18 Lu 4:18,19 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SABBATICAL YEAR
DEBT REMISSION

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission (cancellation) of debts - Notice it does not say "some of your debts" but simply "debts," implying all of their debts are to be remitted. This practice tends to facilitate socio-economic balance. It does not make the poor rich, but does help them to get a new start in their economic life. The word remission is shemittah and is used only 4x (Dt 15:1,2,9, 31:10) which the primary sense of a letting drop and simply means  the cancellation of a debt that was owed to another person. In other words, in a normal business setting this was a loan that the person would have been expected to and even be obligated to repay. There is a type of fishing called "catch and release," which in a sense pictures this practice. The debtor is caught in the net of the creditor, but the creditor has to release him at 7 years! At that time the debtor has absolutely no obligation to pay back what had been loaned to him. 

The message of this commandment is clearly to serve as a reminder to Israel that they had experienced the grace of God when He released them from their enslavement in Egypt and then He provided a sacrificial system whereby their sins could be atoned for by offering a proper sacrificial animal, all of this of course ultimately pointing to the forgiveness of sins available only in the Messiah and His sacrifice as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29+). 

THOUGHT - Do we not see a similar pattern in the New Testament? I think we do. How do others owe us? If they have sinned against us, they in essence owe us a "debt." And yet what did Jesus tell us to pray? "Forgive us our debts, just as we have forgiven our debtors." (Mt 6:12+, Lk 11:4+). Of course the request to forgive us our debts (the fifth petition) does not mean that believers need to ask daily for justification, since believers are justified forever from the moment of initial saving faith (Ro 5:1, 9; Ro 8:1; Ro 10:10). Rather, this is a prayer for the restoration of personal fellowship with our Father when our fellowship has been hindered by our sin. Those who have received such forgiveness are (or should be) so moved with and motivated by gratitude toward God that they also (enabled by the Spirit giving us the desire and power - Php 2:13NLT+) are then able to forgive those who are their (sin) debtors. We see this pattern for forgiveness in Paul's command to " Be (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, (HOW?) JUST AS God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph 4:32+, cf Lk 7:47+). Christ-followers should (and can, enabled by the Spirit) forgive others their (sin) debts against us, remembering how great was out sin debt to God (unforgiven it would have taken us to eternal death and separation) which He has graciously forgiven us. 

NET NOTE on remission/cancellation - The Hebrew term שְׁמִטָּת (shémittat), 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.”

Remission (08059)(shemittah) is a feminine noun shemittāh, derived from shāmat which means to let drop (or to throw down) and thus describes a "remission of debt," a "release from obligation." It is attached to the designation of the seventh year of Sabbath, that is, the year of remission in which all debts were released (Deut. 15:1f, 9; 31:10). The Year of Jubilee was the forty-ninth year, the seventh of a series of seven Sabbath years. The fiftieth year was then hallowed, the fields were to be left fallow, all debts were to be released and every person would return to the property of his family. Thus, an Israelite could buy another's land for a maximum of forty-nine years and then must return it to the family (similar to a long-term leasing of land rather than a modern sales contract; see Exo. 23:10; Lev. 25:1-38).

Deuteronomy 15:2  "This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD'S remission has been proclaimed.

  • exact it: Ne 5:7-11 Isa 58:3 Am 8:4-6 Mt 6:12,14,15 18:25-35 Lu 6:34-38 Lu 7:42 Jas 2:13
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Amos 8:4-6  (THE RESULT OF NOT LISTENING TO THIS DIVINE INSTRUCTION) Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, 5 saying, “When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales,  6 So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?”

THE NATURE OF
THE CANCELLATION 

This is the manner of remission - NLT = "This is how it must be done."

Every creditor shall release (remit) what he has loaned to his neighbor - Now the qualifier is clearly stated - EVERY creditor. That means no exceptions. 

he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother - NET = "he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite." NIV = "Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite." 

because the LORD'S remission has been proclaimed - NET = for it is to be recognized as "the LORD's cancellation of debts." 

Deuteronomy 15:3  "From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother.

  • De 23:20 Ex 22:25 Mt 17:25,26 Joh 8:35 1Co 6:6,7 Ga 6:10 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother.

Deuteronomy 15:4  "However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess,

  • Save: etc. or, To the end that there be no poor among you, Houbigant follows this marginal reading, to which he joins the end of the third verse, considering it as explanatory of the law; as if he had said, "Thou shalt not exact the debt that is due from thy brother, but thy hand shall release him, for this reason, that there may be no poor among you through your severity."  He justly contends that the phrase {ephes kee,} can here only mean, "to the end that," being equivalent to the French {afin que.}
  • greatly bless: De 14:29 28:1-8,11 Pr 11:24,25 14:21 28:27 Isa 58:10,11 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess 

Deuteronomy 15:5  if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.

  • De 4:9 11:13-15 28:1-15 Lev 26:3-14 Jos 1:7 Ps 19:11 Isa 1:19,20 Php 1:27 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.

Deuteronomy 15:6  "For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

  • thou shalt lend: De 28:12,44 Ps 37:21,26 112:5 Pr 22:7 Lu 6:35 
  • thou shalt reign: De 28:13 1Ki 4:21,24 2Ch 9:26 Ezr 4:20 Ne 9:27 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

Deuteronomy 15:7  "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;

  • there be: Lest the preceding law might render the Israelites cautious in lending to the poor, Moses here warns them against being led by so mean a principle; but to lend liberally, and God would reward them.
  • thou shalt: De 15:9 Pr 21:13 Mt 18:30 Jas 2:15,16 1Jn 3:16,17
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

HARD HEART 
INHIBITS CHARITY

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother - The failure to help the poor, the "have not's" around us is a reflection of heart failure of the "have's."


Deuteronomy 15:7-11

For The Poor

The man sits on the street corner day after day, begging for money. He’s poor and desperate for a little cash to spend on food.

He’s not alone. More than one-half of the world’s people live below the internationally defined poverty line of less than $2.00 a day. Poverty and hunger are such a big problem in our world that it’s easy for us to feel helpless or to become hard-hearted and do nothing.

But God doesn’t close His eyes to the plight of the poor. When He gave His people guidelines for living, He included instructions on ways to care for the needy (Deut. 15:11). He told His people, “You shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand, from your poor brother, [but] open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need” (Deut. 15:7-8).

God also commanded His people not to glean the corners of their fields so that the less fortunate could gather food (Lev. 19:9-10). And Jesus showed His compassion for the poor by His words and actions.

As Christians, we cannot ignore the plight of the poor today. Individuals and churches can join with Christian organizations working to combat poverty as they spread the Word. God has a heart for the poor. Do we? —Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The poor and needy everywhere
Are objects of God’s love and care,
But they will better know His care
As we seek ways that love to share. —D. De Haan

God gives us all we need so we can give to those in need.


Deuteronomy 15:7-11 Open-Handed Help

A homeless man spends time in our local library. One afternoon, while I was writing there, I took a lunch break. After I finished the first half of a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich, an image of the man’s face came to mind. A few minutes later, I offered him the untouched part of my lunch. He accepted.

This brief encounter made me realize that with all that God has given me, I needed to do more to help those who are less fortunate. Later, as I thought about this, I read Moses’ instructions on providing for the poor. He told the Israelites: Do not “shut your hand from your poor brother, but … open your hand wide to him” (Deut. 15:7-8). An open hand symbolizes the way God wanted His nation to provide for impoverished people—willingly and freely. No excuses, no holding back (v.9). God had given to them, and He wanted them to give generously enough to supply whatever was “sufficient” for the need (v.8).

When we offer open-handed help to the poor, God blesses us for our kindness (Ps. 41:1-3; Prov. 19:17). With His leading, consider how you might “extend your soul to the hungry” (Isa. 58:10) and freely give to help others in Jesus’ name.— by Jennifer Benson Schuldt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Grant us, then, the grace for giving
With a spirit large and free,
That our life and all our living
We may consecrate to Thee. —Murray

You may give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.

Deuteronomy 15:8  but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

OPEN HEART
OPEN HAND

but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks - Note the word is "lend" not give. This dynamic implies that the recipient has some "skin in the game" so to speak. While there are times when one simply and purely gives, here we see the pattern for the poor among the Israelites was to lend. This would imply that in lending to him, he will at least potentially be able to pay back. It is almost like we hear today of someone giving "seed money" to someone to begin a business. 

Deuteronomy 15:9  "Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.

  • Beware: Pr 4:23 Jer 17:10 Mt 15:19 Mk 7:21-22 Ro 7:8,9 Jas 4:5 
  • eye: De 28:54-56 Pr 23:6 24:9 28:22 Mt 20:15 Jas 5:9 1Pe 4:9 
  • cry: De 24:15 Ex 3:7 22:23 Job 34:28 Ps 9:12 Pr 21:13 Jas 5:4 
  • sin: Mt 25:41-45 Jas 4:17 1Jn 3:15-17 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 24:15  “You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you. 

Proverbs 4:23NET+ Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it are the sources of life. 

Jeremiah 17:10   “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. 

Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

Mark 7:21-22+  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.

HEART
CHECK-UP!

Beware (shamar) that there is no base thought in your heart - Hebrew is striking here - "word with thine heart of Belial"

Saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing - The logic is simple -- if I lend money now in the 6th year, I will have to remit this debt in the 7th year. 

Then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you 

Deuteronomy 15:10  "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

  • heart: Mt 25:40 Ac 20:35 Ro 12:8 2Co 9:5-7 1Ti 6:18-19 1Pe 4:11 
  • because: De 15:4 Dt 14:19,29 Dt 24:19 Ps 41:1,2 Pr 11:24,25 Pr 22:9 Isa 32:8 58:10 2Co 9:8-11 Php 4:18,19 Heb 13:16 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 25:40  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 

Acts 20:35+ “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

2 Corinthians 9:5-7 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.  6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 

2 Corinthians 9:8-11  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9as it is written, “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”  10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.

Hebrews 13:16  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 

Deuteronomy 14:19 “And all the teeming life with wings are unclean to you; they shall not be eaten.

Deuteronomy 14:29 “The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deuteronomy 24:19  “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

A GENEROUS HEART
NOT A GRIEVING HEART!

You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him - A generous heart gives with cheerfulness and not grudgingly nor under compulsion. It is the overflow of a heart filled with the recognition that Giver of all good things has given exceeding, abundantly beyond all we could ever ask or think. Generous giving is a beautiful reflection of the Father's heart and gives others a proper opinion of Him (cf Mt 5:16+). 

because - An encouraging, motivating term of explanation.

For this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings - Watch your motive here!  Don't give with the goal to get. Give with the goal to do good and God in turn will do good to you. It is all about the heart and the motives of the heart. This reminds me of the words of Paul 

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes Who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (1 Cor 4:5+).

Deuteronomy 15:11  "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'

  • the poor: Although Moses, by the statutes relative to the division of the land, and inheritance, and the inalienable nature of it, had studied to prevent any Israelite from being born poor, yet he exhorts them to the exercise of the tenderest compassion and most benevolent actions; and not to refuse assistance to the decayed Israelite, though the sabbatical year drew nigh. Pr 22:2 Mt 26:11 Mk 14:7 Joh 12:8 
  • You shall De 15:8 Mt 5:42 Lu 12:33 Ac 2:45 4:32-35 11:28-30 2Co 8:2-9 1Jn 3:16-18 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

POVERTY IS A
CONTINUING REALITY

For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'

Deuteronomy 15:12  "If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.

Related Passages:

Exodus 21:2-6+ “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. 3 “If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 “If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. 5 “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl (ANALOGOUS TO BLOOD SPILLED WHEN CUTTING A COVENANT!); and he shall serve him permanently. 

Jeremiah 34:14  “At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me. (THEY BROKE THE COVENANT THEY HAD CUT WITH YAHWEH! - FOR CONTEXT READ Jer 34:8-20, esp Jer 34:18 = the ceremony ratifying the covenant)

FREEDOM ON THE
SABBATICAL YEAR

If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free -This command is simply a practical extension of Deuteronomy 15:1 which instructs Israelites “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts."

Is this truth not a beautiful foreshadowing of the liberation which Jesus gives to all who choose to become His bondservants by grace through faith in Him (Note the paradox - slaves become slaves to be set free!), for John records Jesus' words...

“If you continue (meno) in My word, then you are truly disciples (mathetes) of Mine; and you will know (ginosko - by experience) the truth, and the truth will make you free (eleutheroo).”...The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free (eleutheroo), you will be free (eleutheros) indeed. (John 8:31-32, 35-36)

THOUGHT - Have you become a bondservant of the benevolent Master Jesus? If so you are free! Not free to live any way you want but empowered by the Spirit to live the way you should, in the way that pleases your Master.

Deuteronomy 15:13  "When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed.

  • This is a most humane and merciful addition to the law in Ex 21:2-11; enforced upon the Israelites by the consideration of their Egyptian bondage.  As a faithful servant has made no property for himself while honestly serving his master, so now, when he quits his service, he has nothing to begin the world with except what the kindness of his master may bestow upon him as a remuneration for his zeal and fidelity.  Though what was to be bestowed upon servants is not fixed, yet they were to be liberally supplied.  (ver. 14.)
  • Ge 31:42 Ex 3:21 Lev 25:42-44 Pr 3:27,28 Jer 22:13 Mal 3:5 Col 4:1 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

EMANCIPATION
PROCLAMATION

When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed.

Deuteronomy 15:14  "You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.

SEND HIM OFF
IN STYLE

You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 15:15  "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.

  • De 5:14,15 16:12 Ex 20:2 Isa 51:1 Mt 6:14,15 18:32,33 Eph 1:7 Eph 2:12 4:32 5:1,2 Tit 2:14 1Jn 3:16 4:9-11 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOTIVATED BY MEMORY
OF YOUR MANUMISSION

Manumission describes the act of freeing or setting free from slavery or bondage.

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt - Let memory be your motivator.

and the LORD your God redeemed you - Remember especially God's redemption to set you free. 

therefore - Term of conclusion, based upon what Yahweh has accomplished for you in the past

THOUGHT - Memory of past divine amazing grace should serve as an active motivator for ALL of us to show grace to others, however that grace needs to be manifest in our interpersonal relationships - financially, spiritually (e.g., forgiveness), our speech (Eph 4:29+), etc. 

I command you this today - God's commands always come with His enablements. 

Deuteronomy 15:16  "It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you;

 

It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you;

Deuteronomy 15:17  then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.

Related Passage:

Exodus 21:5-6+ “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. 

MARKED FOREVER
WITH A SCAR

Then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant - This action would leave a scar on the slave's ear for the rest of his life and all could see the mark that bound him to his master. In many ways the act of piercing the ear and shedding blood is analogous to cutting a covenant, for the cutting of covenant was generally considered to be a solemn, binding and perpetual action. This act reminds me of a passage in Galatians...

 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. (Galatians 6:17+)

Brand-mark is the Greek word stigmata which in Paul's case alludes to the scars he bore on his body for the sake of taking a stand for Jesus. There were five classes of persons who were branded, i.e. slaves (as a mark of ownership), soldiers (as a mark of allegiance), devotees (as a mark of consecration), criminals (as a mark of exposure), and the abhorred (as a mark of reproach). The “marks” of the Lord Jesus in the body of Paul were all these five in one! Wayne Barber explains that ultimately mark on both Old and New Testament believers was not external but internal…

There was something in the heart of the people that was wrong and the mark that God always expected, both in the OT and the NT, was not just something external, but a heart willing and wanting to obey God… that is the mark of the person who has entered into agreement with the Lord God… this led to the promise of the New Covenant… you see in the Old Covenant, the people did not have a heart that wanted to obey God… The Law… exposed the fact that they did not have a heart, so therefore God had to promise a new one.

Jer 24:7 And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

It is an attitude that God looks for--an inward, internal attitude of wanting to obey God which marks a person as being in Covenant with the living God. This is not just one act of obedience (circumcision), but a heart attitude of now wanting to obey God (cp Ezek 36:26, 27+) in contrast to the old attitude of wanting to disobey Him.

Thayer says "According to ancient oriental usage, slaves and soldiers bore the name or stamp of their master or commander branded or pricked (cut) into their bodies to indicate what master or general they belonged to, and there were even some devotees who stamped themselves in this way with the token of their gods...Paul Paul in Gal. 6:17 says he bears branded on his body, are the traces left there by the perils, hardships, imprisonments, scourgings, endured by him for the cause of Christ, and which mark him as Christ's faithful and approved votary, servant, soldier."

THOUGHT - Do you have any "stigmata" (primarily figuratively speaking) signifying that you belong to Jesus? Has it cost you anything to follow Christ?

Ironside - Someone has said, “When we get home to heaven God is not going to look us over for medals but for scars.” I wonder whether we have received any scars for Jesus’ sake. Many of them are not physical scars, they are scars of the heart, but it is a great thing to have the brand-marks of the Lord Jesus.

Amy Carmichael wrote these piercing words that speak to the call on every follower of Jesus (2Ti 3:12+, Ro 8:17+, Php 1:29+, 2Co 4:17)…

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

This truth of believers bearing the brand marks indicating we are no longer our own but serve our Master forever and ever reminds me of an old song by Wayne Watson....

We Belong To Him

How can we live in sin
Knowing He died to free us
From the chains within our soul

Let us give the Lord control
Of all the things that quickly bind us
And walk no longer in darkness

We belong to Him, we belong to Him
Crucified right by His side
Bought with a price through one sacrifice
We belong to Him

Now is the time to understand
That sin has no reign on us
The power of life in Jesus Christ
Has made us free from the ways of death

We belong to Him, we belong to Him
Crucified right by His side
Bought with a price through one sacrifice
We belong to Him

Flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone
Born of His blood, His very own
We belong to Him

At Calvary God's Son was made an offering
The price required, it was paid in full
The Word of God was spoken
The power of sin was broken
God's chosen seed has been redeemed

We belong to Him, we belong to Him
Crucified right by His side
Bought with a price through one sacrifice
We belong to Him

Deuteronomy 15:18  "It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has given you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the LORD your God will bless you in whatever you do.

  • shall not: De 15:10 
  • a double: Isa 16:14 21:16 Lu 17:7,8 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has given you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the LORD your God will bless you in whatever you do.

 


Deuteronomy 15:18 Gracious Dealing - Faith's Checkbook - Spurgeon

“And the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.”—Deuteronomy 15:18

AN Israelitish master was to give his bond-servant liberty in due time, and when he left his service he was to start him in life with a liberal portion. This was to be done heartily and cheerfully, and then the Lord promised to bless the generous act. The spirit of this precept, and, indeed, the whole law of Christ, binds us to treat work people well. We ought to remember how the Lord has dealt with us and that this renders it absolutely needful that we should deal graciously with others. It becomes those to be generous who are the children of a gracious God. How can we expect our great Master to bless us in our business if we oppress those who serve us?

What a benediction is here set before the liberal mind! To be blessed in all that we do is to be blessed indeed. The Lord will send us this partly in prosperity, partly in content of mind, and partly in a sense of His favor, which is the best of all blessings. He can make us feel that we are under His special care and are surrounded by His peculiar love. This makes this earthly life a joyous prelude to the life to come. God’s blessing is more than a fortune. It maketh rich and addeth no sorrow therewith.

Deuteronomy 15:19  "You shall consecrate to the LORD your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock; you shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.

  • the firstborn: Ex 13:2,12 34:19 Lev 27:26 Nu 3:13 18:17 Ro 8:29 Heb 12:23 
  • you shall not work: De 12:5-7,17 14:23 16:11,14 Nu 18:15 
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FIRSTBORN MALE
LIVESTOCK TO YAHWEH

You shall consecrate to the LORD your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock

you shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock - Don't try to use the firstborn livestock for any gain in any way, but give them wholly to the LORD. 

Deuteronomy 15:20  You and your household shall eat it every year before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 12:5-7+ “But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6 “There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 “There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you. 

ANNUAL MEAL IN GOD'S 
PLACE AND PRESENCE

You and your household shall eat it every year before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses.

Chooses reflects God's omniscient sovereignty to do as He pleases and knows best for their (our) good and His glory. Choose is a keyword in Deuteronomy. And further, the place the LORD choses is a key thought in Deuteronomy occurring 22 times! (Dt 12:5, Dt 12:11, Dt 12:14, Dt 12:18, Dt 12:21, Dt 12:26, Dt 14:23,Dt 14:24, Dt 14:25, Dt 15:20, Dt 16:2, Dt 16:6, Dt 16:7, Dt 16:11, Dt 16:15, Dt 16:16, Dt 17:8,Dt 17:10, Dt 18:6, Dt 23:16, Dt 26:2, Dt 31:11)

Chooses (0977bahar/bachar  in most contexts means to choose or to select, to take a keen look at, to prove, to . It denotes a choice, which is based on a thorough examination of the situation and not an arbitrary whim. Lot choose Sodom (Ge 13:11). Moses chose able men (Ex 18:25). "Theologically, bāchar asserts the sovereignty of God in all of life. It affirms divine omnipotence and capacity for choice and in so doing declares that purpose and personality, expressing itself in agape love, lie at the heart of reality." (Gilbrant) TWOT adds that bahar/bachar is often "used to express that choosing which has ultimate and eternal significance." "Bāḥar is used 30 times in Deuteronomy, all but twice referring to God's "choice" of Israel or something in Israel's life." (Vine) Bahar in Deuteronomy - Deut. 4:37; Deut. 7:6; Deut. 7:7; Deut. 10:15; Deut. 12:5; Deut. 12:11; Deut. 12:14; Deut. 12:18; Deut. 12:21; Deut. 12:26; Deut. 14:2; Deut. 14:23; Deut. 14:24; Deut. 14:25; Deut. 15:20; Deut. 16:2; Deut. 16:6; Deut. 16:7; Deut. 16:11; Deut. 16:15; Deut. 16:16; Deut. 17:8; Deut. 17:10; Deut. 17:15; Deut. 18:5; Deut. 18:6; Deut. 21:5; Deut. 23:16; Deut. 26:2; Deut. 30:19; Deut. 31:11;

Deuteronomy 15:21  "But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

BLEMISH-FREE SACRIFICES
TO JEHOVAH

But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 15:22  "You shall eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as a gazelle or a deer.

  • the unclean: De 12:15,21,22 
  • the roebuck: {Tzevee,} in Arabic {zaby,} Chaldee and Syriac {tavya,} denotes the gazelle or antelope, so called from its stately beauty, as the word imports.  In size it is smaller than the roe, of an elegant form, and it motions are light and graceful.  It bounds seemingly without effort, and runs with such swiftness that few creatures can exceed it.  (2 Sa 2:18.) Its fine eyes are so much celebrated as even to become a proverb; and its flesh is much esteemed for food among eastern nations, having a sweet, musky taste, which is highly agreeable to their palates.  (1 Ki 4:23.)  If to these circumstances we add, that they are gregarious, and common all over the East, whereas the roe is either not known at all, or else very rare in these countries, little doubt can remain that the gazelle and not the roe is intended by the original word.
  • Deuteronomy 15 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DINING ON DEER

You shall eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as a gazelle or a deer.

Deuteronomy 15:23  "Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.

NO BLOOD WITH
YOUR MEAT

23  "Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.