Leviticus 25:39
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"'If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves.

New Living Translation
"If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave.

English Standard Version
“If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave:

New American Standard Bible
'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.

King James Bible
And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If your brother among you becomes destitute and sells himself to you, you must not force him to do slave labor.

International Standard Version
"If your brother with you becomes so poor that he sells himself to you, you are not to make him serve like a bond slave.

NET Bible
"'If your brother becomes impoverished with regard to you so that he sells himself to you, you must not subject him to slave service.

New Heart English Bible
"'If your brother has grown poor among you, and sells himself to you; you shall not make him to serve as a slave.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"If an Israelite becomes poor and sells himself to you, don't work him like a slave.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant.

New American Standard 1977
‘And if a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when thy brother becomes poor, being with thee, and if he should sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a slave.

King James 2000 Bible
And if your brother that dwells by you becomes poor, and is sold unto you; you shall not compel him to serve as a slave:

American King James Version
And if your brother that dwells by you be waxen poor, and be sold to you; you shall not compel him to serve as a bondservant:

American Standard Version
And if thy brother be waxed poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee; thou shalt not make him to serve as a bond-servant.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If thy brother constrained by poverty, sell himself to thee, thou shalt not oppress him with the service of bondservants:

Darby Bible Translation
And if thy brother grow poor beside thee, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:

English Revised Version
And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee; thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant:

Webster's Bible Translation
And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee shall have become poor, and be sold to thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant:

World English Bible
"'If your brother has grown poor among you, and sells himself to you; you shall not make him to serve as a slave.

Young's Literal Translation
'And when thy brother becometh poor with thee, and he hath been sold to thee, thou dost not lay on him servile service;
Study Bible
Redemption of Bondmen
38I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. 39If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service. 40'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.…
Cross References
Matthew 18:25
Since the man was unable to pay, the master ordered that he be sold to pay his debt, along with his wife and children and everything he owned.

Exodus 21:2
"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.

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.

1 Kings 9:22
But Solomon did not make slaves of the sons of Israel; for they were men of war, his servants, his princes, his captains, his chariot commanders, and his horsemen.

2 Kings 4:1
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves."

2 Chronicles 28:10
"Now you are proposing to subjugate for yourselves the people of Judah and Jerusalem for male and female slaves. Surely, do you not have transgressions of your own against the LORD your God?

Nehemiah 5:5
"Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others."

Jeremiah 34:8
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them:

Jeremiah 34:9
that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman; so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage.
Treasury of Scripture

And if your brother that dwells by you be waxen poor, and be sold to you; you shall not compel him to serve as a bondservant:

be sold

Exodus 21:2 If you buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the …

Exodus 22:3 If the sun be risen on him, there shall be blood shed for him; for …

Deuteronomy 15:12 And if your brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold to …

1 Kings 9:22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no slaves: but they …

2 Kings 4:1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets …

Nehemiah 5:5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as …

Jeremiah 34:14 At the end of seven years let you go every man his brother an Hebrew, …

compel him to serve as [heb] serve thyself with him with the service of, etc.

Leviticus 25:46 And you shall take them as an inheritance for your children after …

Exodus 1:14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and …

Jeremiah 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: …

Jeremiah 27:7 And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, …

Jeremiah 30:8 For it shall come to pass in that day, said the LORD of hosts, that …

(39) And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor.--Better, And if thy brother be waxen poor by thee, that is, after supporting his tottering hand, as prescribed in Leviticus 25:35-38, and making all the charitable efforts to help him, they fail, and he still finds himself in extreme poverty, and unable to obtain a livelihood.

And be sold unto thee.--The voluntary disposal of his own liberty for a money consideration the Israelite could only effect by stress of poverty.

Thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant.--Under these circumstances he is not to be treated like heathen slaves who are either purchased or captured, and made to do the menial service which these Gentile slaves have to perform. The authorities during the second Temple adduce the following as degrading work which the Israelite bondman is not to be put to: He must not attend his master at his bath, nor tie up or undo the latchets of his sandals, &c., &c.

Verses 39-42. - We see the way in which a poor Israelite might become a slave in the case of the sons of the widow whose oil was multiplied by Elisha. "Thy servant my husband is dead; (and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord:) and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen" (2 Kings 4:1). And in the time of Nehemiah, "Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.... And, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards" (Nehemiah 5:3-5). But the fact that an Israelite could not be kept in slavery for more than six years (Exodus 21:2), and that the period of his service had to be still shorter if the jubilee fell before the seventh year, and the further fact that at the time of the jubilee he would not only he free, but recover any ancestral property that he had forfeited, so that he might become once more on an equality with his master, would have made his position totally different from the hopeless, helpless state of the Greek or Roman slave, even without the positive command that he was to be treated, not as a bondservant: but as an hired servant, and as a sojourner. All alike, master and bondsman, were the slaves of God, and therefore not only were they, so far, on an equality one with another, but the master would be encroaching on the right of God if he claimed God's slaves for his own inalienably. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor,.... The above laws and instructions seem designed to prevent such extreme poverty as obliged to what follows, namely, a brother being sold either to an Israelite or to a stranger, by relieving his wants or lending him money; but when these were insufficient to support him, and keep him from sinking into the lowest state of distress and misery, then he was obliged to be sold, as follows:

and be sold unto thee; either by himself, being ready to starve and perish, or by the sanhedrim, having stolen something, as Aben Ezra observes; in such a case the civil magistrate had a power of selling a man, Exodus 22:3,

thou shall not compel him to serve as a bondservant; such as were Heathens, and bought of them, or taken in war and made slaves of; but an Israelite sold was not to serve as they, either with respect to matter or manner, or time of service; such as were bondmen were put to the hardest service, the greatest drudgery, as well as what was mean and reproachful, and were used in the most rigorous and despotic manner, and were obliged to serve for ever, and were never released; but a brother, an Israelite, sold to another through extreme poverty, was not to be put to any low, mean, base, and disgraceful service, by which it would be known that he was a servant, as Jarchi notes; such as to carry his master's vessels or instruments after him to the bath, or to unloose his shoes; but, as the same writer observes, he was to be employed in the business of the farm, or in some handicraft work, and was to be kindly and gently used, rather as a brother than a servant, and to be freed in the year of jubilee. 39-46. if thy brother … be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant—An Israelite might be compelled, through misfortune, not only to mortgage his inheritance, but himself. In the event of his being reduced to this distress, he was to be treated not as a slave, but a hired servant whose engagement was temporary, and who might, through the friendly aid of a relative, be redeemed at any time before the Jubilee. The ransom money was determined on a most equitable principle. Taking account of the number of years from the proposal to redeem and the Jubilee, of the current wages of labor for that time, and multiplying the remaining years by that sum, the amount was to be paid to the master for his redemption. But if no such friendly interposition was made for a Hebrew slave, he continued in servitude till the year of Jubilee, when, as a matter of course, he regained his liberty, as well as his inheritance. Viewed in the various aspects in which it is presented in this chapter, the Jubilee was an admirable institution, and subservient in an eminent degree to uphold the interests of religion, social order, and freedom among the Israelites. 25:39-55 A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col 4:1. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, Joh 8:32. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.
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