But you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wants.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt open thine hand wide.—“Even many times.”
And shalt surely lend.—“If he does not like to take it as a gift, grant it to him as a loan.”
Sufficient for his need.—“But it is not thy duty to make him rich.”
In that which he wanteth.—“Even ahorse to ride on, and a slave to run before him.”Deuteronomy 15:11. The meaning seems simply to be, "Thou must release the debt for the year, except when there be no poor person concerned, a contingency which may happen, for the Lord shall greatly bless thee." The general object of these precepts, as also of the year of Jubilee and the laws respecting inheritance, is to prevent the total ruin of a needy person, and his disappearance from the families of Israel by the sale of his patrimony.Open thine hand wide unto him, i.e. deal bountifully and liberally with him, giving him as it were by handfuls.
and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth: enough to answer his present exigencies, but not to cause him to abound, or to supply him with things needless and superfluous.But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. lend him] See on Deuteronomy 15:6.Verse 8. - Sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth; literally, the sufficiency of his need which he needeth, i.e. whatever he might need to meet his requirements. Deuteronomy 15:1-11 and Deuteronomy 15:12-18, follow simply upon the law concerning the poor tithe in Deuteronomy 14:28-29. The Israelites were not only to cause those who had no possessions (Levites, strangers, widows, and orphans) to refresh themselves with the produce of their inheritance, but they were not to force and oppress the poor. Debtors especially were not to be deprived of the blessings of the sabbatical year (Deuteronomy 15:1-6). "At the end of seven years thou shalt make a release." The expression, "at the end of seven years," is to be understood in the same way as the corresponding phrase, "at the end of three years," in Deuteronomy 14:28. The end of seven years, i.e., of the seven years' cycle formed by the sabbatical year, is mentioned as the time when debts that had been contracted were usually wiped off or demanded, after the year's harvest had been gathered in (cf. Deuteronomy 31:10, according to which the feast of Tabernacles occurred at the end of the year). שׁמטּה, from שׁמט morf ,, to let lie, to let go (cf. Exodus 23:11), does not signify a remission of the debt, the relinquishing of all claim for payment, as Philo and the Talmudists affirm, but simply lengthening the term, not pressing for payment. This is the explanation in Deuteronomy 15:2 : "This is the manner of the release" (shemittah): cf. Deuteronomy 19:4; 1 Kings 9:15. "Every owner of a loan of his hand shall release (leave) what he has lent to his neighbour; he shall not press his neighbour, and indeed his brother; for they have proclaimed release for Jehovah." As שׁמוט (release) points unmistakeably back to Exodus 23:11, it must be interpreted in the same manner here as there. And as it is not used there to denote the entire renunciation of a field or possession, so here it cannot mean the entire renunciation of what had been lent, but simply leaving it, i.e., not pressing for it during the seventh year. This is favoured by what follows, "thou shalt not press thy neighbour," which simply forbids an unreserved demand, but does not require that the debt should be remitted or presented to the debtor (see also Bhr, Symbolik, ii. pp. 570-1). "The loan of the hand:" what the hand has lent to another. "The master of the loan of the hand:" i.e., the owner of a loan, the lender. "His brother" defines with greater precision the idea of "a neighbour." Calling a release, presupposes that the sabbatical year was publicly proclaimed, like the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:9). קרא is impersonal ("they call"), as in Genesis 11:9 and Genesis 16:14. "For Jehovah:" i.e., in honour of Jehovah, sanctified to Him, as in Exodus 12:42. - This law points back to the institution of the sabbatical year in Exodus 23:10; Leviticus 25:2-7, though it is not to be regarded as an appendix to the law of the sabbatical year, or an expansion of it, but simply as an exposition of what was already implied in the main provision of that law, viz., that the cultivation of the land should be suspended in the sabbatical year. If no harvest was gathered in, and even such produce as had grown without sowing was to be left to the poor and the beasts of the field, the landowner could have no income from which to pay his debts. The fact that the "sabbatical year" is not expressly mentioned, may be accounted for on the ground, that even in the principal law itself this name does not occur; and it is simply commanded that every seventh year there was to be a sabbath of rest to the land (Leviticus 25:4). In the subsequent passages in which it is referred to (Deuteronomy 15:9 and Deuteronomy 31:10), it is still not called a sabbatical year, but simply the "year of release," and that not merely with reference to debtors, but also with reference to the release (Shemittah) to be allowed to the field (Exodus 23:11).
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