Deuteronomy – Chapter 15: The Year for Canceling Debts

In the last chapter of Deuteronomy we learned God hates bacon and demands you to tithe.  The tithing actually makes a bit of sense during that time period, but no longer does today.  Deuteronomy 15 brings us the canceling of debts.

“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.” – Deuteronomy 15:1-2

Excellent!  Let’s apply this to the student loan industry in today’s society!  I have no problems with this particular command from God.

“However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.” – Deuteronomy 15:4-6

There are a lot of poor people in the world today.  Why?  I guess they didn’t fully obey God.  Unfortunately that is too often the response the religious give to the problem of poverty in the world.

“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.  Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.” – Deuteronomy 15:7-8

Republican politicians in the U.S. should read these two verses.  God is actually making some sense!

“Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” – Deuteronomy 15:10

Again, Republicans, listen up.

“There will always be poor people in the land.” – Deuteronomy 15:11

Why?  Why does the all-mighty God allow poverty to exist?  Is this a just god?  Nope.  This is another verse I’ve seen Republican politicians use as justification for voting to de-fund welfare programs.  These politicians and voters conveniently ignore Deuteronomy 15:10, the verse that directly precedes this one!!!

“If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free.  And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you.” – Deuteronomy 15:12-14

These are not servants, these are slaves.  How nice of God to let them go after seven years of slavery.

“But if your servant says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant. – Deuteronomy 15:16-17

And this is the catch.  How hard is it for the slave owner to convince or trick the slave into saying he/she doesn’t want to leave.  Not too hard.  Promise a few things you’ll never deliver on or threaten the slave with further punishment or death and you’ve likely convinced him/her to remain a slave for life.  Sickening.

“Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand.” – Deuteronomy 15:18

Well no shit Sherlock!  Of course the slave was worth more to the owner because the owner didn’t have to pay the slave!!!

The chapter ends with a few comments on taking the first born animals and sacrificing them to the Lord.  To conclude, there are some good things in this chapter.  The comments on helping the poor are good comments!  These are good commands from God!  The slavery comments, on the other hand, not so much.  What does this prove?  Like a broken clock being right twice a day, every once in a while God has a few good things to say in the bible.

Coming Soon:  Deuteronomy – Chapter 16:  The Passover

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