Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:12 - 15:12

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:12 - 15:12


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

These provisions in favour of the poor are followed very naturally by the rules which the Israelites were to be urged to observe with reference to the manumission of Hebrew slaves. It is not the reference to the sabbatical year in the foregoing precepts which forms the introduction to the laws which follow respecting the manumission of Hebrews who had become slaves, but the poverty and want which compelled Hebrew men and women to sell themselves as slaves. The seventh year, in which they were to be set free, is not the same as the sabbatical year, therefore, but the seventh year of bondage. Manumission in the seventh year of service had already been commanded in Exo 21:2-6, in the rights laid down for the nation, with special reference to the conclusion of the covenant. This command is not repeated here for the purpose of extending the law to Hebrew women, who are not expressly mentioned in Ex 21; for that would follow as a matter of course, in the case of a law which was quite as applicable to women as to men, and was given without any reserve to the whole congregation. It is rather repeated here as a law which already existed as a right, for the purpose of explaining the true mode of fulfilling it, viz., that it was not sufficient to give a man-servant and maid-servant their liberty after six years of service, which would not be sufficient relief to those who had been obliged to enter into slavery on account of poverty, if they had nothing with which to set up a home of their own; but love to the poor was required to do more than this, namely, to make some provision for the continued prosperity of those who were set at liberty. “If thou let him go free from thee, thou shalt not let him go (send him away) empty:” this was the new feature which Moses added here to the previous law. “Thou shalt load (הַעֲנֵיק, lit., put upon the neck) of thy flock, and of thy floor (corn), and of thy press (oil and wine); wherewith thy God hath blessed thee, of that thou shalt give to him.”