Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:16 - 15:16

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:16 - 15:16

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

But if the man-servant and the maid-servant should not wish for liberty in the sixth year, because it was well with them in the house of their master, they were not to be compelled to go, but were to be bound to eternal, i.e., lifelong bondage, in the manner prescribed in Exo 21:5-6.

(Note: Knobel's assertion, that the judicial process enjoined in Exo 21:6 does not seem to have been usual in the author's own time, is a worthless argumentum e silentio.)

This is repeated from Ex 21, to guard against such an application of the law as might be really cruelty under the circumstances rather than love. Manumission was only an act of love, when the person to be set free had some hope of success and of getting a living for himself; and where there was no such prospect, compelling him to accept of freedom might be equivalent to thrusting him away.