Deuteronomy 15:14
Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.
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(14) Thou shalt furnish him liberally.—The beneficence of this provision is noticeable. Those who had fallen into poverty, when they had served their time, must be provided with means for a fresh start in life. And since the Jewish commentator regards the slavery of Hebrew men as chiefly a consequence of theft (If he be sold unto thee, “when the supreme court has sold him for his theft “), it would seem that, under Jewish law, even convicted thieves, when the term of their servitude was over, were to be provided with the means of obtaining an honest livelihood. This state of things is above the attainments of Christian England at the present date.

15:12-18 Here the law concerning Hebrew servants is repeated. There is an addition, requiring the masters to put some small stock into their servants' hands to set up with for themselves, when sent out of their servitude, wherein they had received no wages. We may expect family blessings, the springs of family prosperity, when we make conscience of our duty to our family relations. We are to remember that we are debtors to Divine justice, and have nothing to pay with. That we are slaves, poor, and perishing. But the Lord Jesus Christ, by becoming poor, and by shedding his blood, has made a full and free provision for the payment of our debts, the ransom of our souls, and the supply of all our wants. When the gospel is clearly preached, the acceptable year of the Lord is proclaimed; the year of release of our debts, of the deliverance of our souls, and of obtaining rest in him. And as faith in Christ and love to him prevail, they will triumph over the selfishness of the heart, and over the unkindness of the world, doing away the excuses that rise from unbelief, distrust, and covetousness.Thou shalt furnish him liberally - The verb in the Hebrew is remarkable. It means "thou shalt lay on his neck," "adorn his neck with thy gifts." 13-15. thou shalt not let him go away empty—A seasonable and wise provision for enabling a poor unfortunate to regain his original status in society, and the motive urged for his kindness and humanity to the Hebrew slave was the remembrance that the whole nation was once a degraded and persecuted band of helots in Egypt. Thus, kindness towards their slaves, unparalleled elsewhere in those days, was inculcated by the Mosaic law; and in all their conduct towards persons in that reduced condition, leniency and gentleness were enforced by an appeal which no Israelite could resist. No text from Poole on this verse.

Thou shalt furnish him liberally,.... Not only to supply his present wants, but for his future use, and to set him up in the world: "loading thou shall load him" (h), so some render the words; give him as much as he can carry, and well stand up under; the word used has the signification of chains wore about the neck for honour or ornament, and so may signify he should be very honourably dismissed, with plain marks of honour and respect; and the order is, to supply him

out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress; with sheep or lambs out of the flock, with corn out of the floor, wheat, or barley, or both, and wine out of the winepress; which take in all the necessaries and comforts of life: of that

wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shall give unto him; be it what it will, and in proportion to it, as of money as well as goods; it is asked, how much shall be given to him? not less than the value of thirty shekels, whether of one kind or whether of many kinds, according to the thirty shekels for the price of a servant, Exodus 21:32 (i). All this may be an emblem both of the servitude the people of God are in to sin, Satan, and the law, while in a state of nature; and of their freedom from it by Christ, and of the sufficiency and fulness of food and raiment, and large measures of divine grace; even all things richly to enjoy, all things pertaining to life and godliness, which are given to them when brought out of that state; who otherwise come out of it destitute of all good things, having neither food nor clothes, nor money to buy either, but have all from Christ freely and fully.

(h) "onerando oneratis", Munster, Pagninus, Vatablus. (i) Maimon. Hilchot Obedim, c. 3. sect. 14.

Thou shalt {e} furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.

(e) In token that you acknowledge the benefit which God has given you by his labours.

14. thou shalt furnish him liberally] Lit. make-him-a-necklace (with emphatic repetition of the vb.). In this metaphor is the idea of loading or that of ornamenting (embellishing, equipping) the governing one? Probably both are combined; the metaphor rising from the primitive custom of hoarding the family wealth in heavy necklaces or headdresses. Less likely is the derivation from the use of the collar or necklace as a badge of rank or office (as it was in Egypt, Genesis 41:42, and Persia, 1Es 3:6).

A similar liberality is exercised in Arabia (Doughty, Ar. Des. i. 554).

‘It is not many years, “if their house-lord fears Ullah,” before he will give them their liberty; and then he sends them not away empty; but in Upland Arabia (where only substantial persons are slave-holders) the good man will marry out his freed servants, male and female, endowing them with somewhat of his own substance, whether camels or palm-stems.’ Cp. Snouck-Hurgronje, Mekka, ii. 14: ‘the well-to-do owner feels himself bound where possible to provide for his loyal servant an establishment, and emancipation ranks in itself as a meritorious act: the family bond remains after as before it unbroken.’ Musil (Ethn. Ber. 225) quotes as part of the emancipation formula: ‘I dismiss my slave and endow him.’

flock, threshing-floor and wine-press] Cp. Deuteronomy 14:23, Deuteronomy 16:13.

as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee] Deuteronomy 7:13, Deuteronomy 12:15, Deuteronomy 16:17.

Verse 14. - Thou shalt furnish him liberally; literally, shalt lay on his neck, i.e. thou shalt load him. The meaning is well expressed in the Authorized Version. This is the new prescription added to the earlier law. Deuteronomy 15:14These 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 Exodus 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 Exodus 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 (העניק, 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."
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