Adam Clarke Commentary
The Sabbatical year of release, Deuteronomy 15:1. The manner in which this release shall take place, Deuteronomy 15:2-5. Of lending to the poor, and the disposition in which it should be done, Deuteronomy 15:6-11. Of the Hebrew servant who has served six years, and who shall be dismissed well furnished, Deuteronomy 15:12-15. The ceremony of boring the ear, when the servant wishes to continue with his master, Deuteronomy 15:16-18. Of the firstlings of the flock and herd, Deuteronomy 15:19, Deuteronomy 15:20. Nothing shall be offered that has any blemish, Deuteronomy 15:21. The sacrifice to be eaten both by the clean and unclean, except the blood, which is never to be eaten, but poured out upon the ground, Deuteronomy 15:22, Deuteronomy 15:23.
At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release - For an explanation of many things in this chapter, see the notes on Exodus 21 (note), Exodus 23 (note), and Leviticus 25 (note).
There shall be no poor - That is, comparatively; see Deuteronomy 15:11.
Thou shalt open thine hand wide - Thy benevolence shall be in proportion to his distress and poverty, and thy ability. Thou shalt have no other rule to regulate thy charity by.
Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart - לבבך בליעל (lebabecha beliyaal), thy belial heart, that is, thy good-for-nothing or unprofitable heart; See on Deuteronomy 13:13 (note).
And thine eye be evil - An evil eye signifies a covetous disposition. See the same form of expression used by our Lord in the same sense, Matthew 6:23. If thine eye be evil - If thou be a covetous person. Evil eye is by our Lord opposed to single eye, i. e., a person of a liberal, benevolent mind. Covetousness darkens the soul; liberality and benevolence enlighten it.
And he cry unto the Lord against thee - What a consolation to the poor and the oppressed, that they have a sure friend in God, who will hear their cry and redress their grievances!
For the poor shall never cease out of the land - To this passage our Lord appears to allude Mark 14:7: For ye have the poor with you always. God leaves these in mercy among men to exercise the feelings of compassion, tenderness, mercy, etc. And without occasions afforded to exercise these, man would soon become a Stoic or a brute.
Thou shalt not let him go away empty - Because during the time he served thee, he made no property for himself, having been always honest towards thee; and now when he leaves thee, he has nothing to begin the world with.
Thou shalt furnish him - out of thy flock - Thou shalt give him some cattle to breed with; out of thy floor - some corn for seed and for bread; and out of thy wine press - an adequate provision of wine for present necessity.
Thou shalt take an awl - See the note on Exodus 21:6.
Thou shalt eat it - in the place which the Lord shall choose - Thus God in his mercy made their duty and interest go hand in hand. And in every case God acts thus with his creatures; well, therefore, might Satan ask, Doth Job serve God for naught? No! nor does God design that any man should.
If there be any blemish - See the notes on Leviticus 22:20. God will have both a perfect priest and a perfect offering.
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