Save when there shall be no poor among you
Then such a law could not take place, there would be no debts to be released; for this was never designed to screen rich persons from the payment of their just debts, or whoever were in a capacity of so doing, only such as were really poor, and unable to pay; and it supposes that this might sometimes be the case, that there were none poor in Israel, or needed the benefit of such a law; and, according to the Targum of Jonathan, it is suggested there would be none, if they were observant of the commands of God: and some take it for a promise, rendering the words "nevertheless" F3, notwithstanding such a law,
there shall be no poor among you;
but then it must be understood conditionally: others interpret this as the end to be answered by this law, "to the end F4 there may be no poor among you"; by observing this law, all debts being released once in seven years, it would prevent persons falling into distress and poverty, to such a degree as to be in want, and become beggars; and Julian the emperor observes, that none of the Jews begged F5, which he attributes to the care that was taken of their poor:
for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy
God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it;
which is either a reason why there would be no poor, should they observe the commandments of the Lord; or a reason why they should release the debts of the poor because they were so greatly blessed with a fruitful land, which brought them such an increase, as enabled them to free their poor debtors, when in circumstances unable to pay them.
F3 (yk opa) "veruntamen", Munster.
F4 "To the end that there be not", Ainsworth; so the margin of the Bible.
F5 Opera, par. 2. Ep. 49. p. 204.