"At the end of every seventh year you must cancel your debts.
This is how it must be done. Creditors must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the LORD's time of release has arrived.
This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites -- not to the foreigners living among you.
There should be no poor among you, for the LORD your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession.
You will receive this blessing if you carefully obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today.
The LORD your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow! You will rule many nations, but they will not rule over you!
"But if there are any poor people in your towns when you arrive in the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.
Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.
Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year of release is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the LORD, you will be considered guilty of sin.
Give freely without begrudging it, and the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
There will always be some among you who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share your resources freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.
"If an Israelite man or woman voluntarily becomes your servant and serves you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free.
"When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed.
Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the LORD your God has blessed you.
Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you! That is why I am giving you this command.
But suppose your servant says, 'I will not leave you,' because he loves you and your family, and he is well off with you.
In that case, take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door. After that, he will be your servant for life."You must do the same for your female servants.
"Do not consider it a hardship when you release your servants. Remember that for six years they have given you the services worth double the wages of hired workers, and the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
"You must set aside for the LORD your God all the firstborn males from your flocks and herds. Do not use the firstborn of your herds to work your fields, and do not shear the firstborn of your flocks.
Instead, you and your family must eat these animals in the presence of the LORD your God each year at the place he chooses.
But if this firstborn animal has any defect, such as being lame or blind, or if anything else is wrong with it, you must not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
Instead, use it for food for your family at home. Anyone may eat it, whether ceremonially clean or unclean, just as anyone may eat a gazelle or deer.
But do not eat the blood. You must pour it out on the ground like water.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)