Deuteronomy 15:18
It shall not seem hard to you, when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth a double hired servant to you, in serving you six years: and the LORD your God shall bless you in all that you do.
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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.He hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years - "i. e." such a servant has earned twice as much as a common hired laborer would have done in the same time. 18. he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee—that is, he is entitled to double wages because his service was more advantageous to you, being both without wages and for a length of time, whereas hired servants were engaged yearly (Le 25:53), or at most for three years (Isa 16:14). He hath been worth a double-hired servant to thee; or, he deserves double wages to an hired servant, because he served thee upon better terms, both without wages, which hired servants require, and for a longer time, even for six years, as it here follows, whereas servants were ordinarily hired but from year to year, Leviticus 25:53, or at most but for three years, as they gather from this place and Isaiah 16:14. It shall not seem hard to thee when thou sendest him away free from thee,.... He should not grudge him his liberty, nor what he gives to him when he dismisses him:

for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee in serving thee six years; since a hired servant a man is obliged to pay him wages for his work, besides his food, whereas a bondservant received no wages. Aben Ezra remarks, that this proves that a man might not hire himself for more than three years; or however, whereas a hired servant was sometimes hired for so many years, and this is the longest time of any we read of, a servant serving his master six years, his service must be worth double the service of an hired servant, which at most was but three years:

and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thou doest; thus well using thy servants, whether menservants or maidservants.

It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double {g} hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.

(g) For the hired servant served but three years, and he six.

18. It shall not be hard in thine eye] See on Deuteronomy 15:9. How well this legislator knew the hearts of his people may be seen from Jeremiah 34:8 ff.

for to the double of the hire of an hireling hath he served thee] Jewish commentators inferred from this that the hired servant served only for three years! (Cornelius a Lapide in loco). Calvin thinks that it means that a slave under compulsion worked twice as hard—which is contrary to experience. Rather, the cost of keeping a slave was only half of the current wage for a free servant.

and the Lord thy God shall bless thee] See Deuteronomy 15:10.Verse 18. - Where a slave determined to have his freedom, the master was to set him free without grudge; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years; literally, double the hire of a hireling he hath served thee six years, i.e. he hath saved to thee as much again as it would have cost thee to pay a hired laborer to do the same amount of work. These 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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