Jeremiah 34:9

9 that every one should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother.

Jeremiah 34:9 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 34:9

That every man should let his manservant, and every man his
maidservant, [being] an Hebrew, or an Hebrewess, go free
This is the proclamation that was agreed to be made, that every manservant and maidservant, that serve six years an apprenticeship, should be freed from their servitude, according to the law in ( Exodus 21:1 Exodus 21:2 ) ; a law founded upon justice and equity, mercy and compassion; done for the honour of the Jewish nation, that they might be a free people, and in commemoration of their deliverance from their servitude in Egypt. This law, as it seems, had been long neglected, and servants had been retained in bondage beyond their due time, through the oppression and covetousness of their masters, and the neglect of the civil magistrates; who should have took care that such a law was put in execution, and that servants were not oppressed. Some have thought that it was at the beginning of the sabbatical year that this proclamation was made, when, according to the law, there should be a release of servants, ( Deuteronomy 15:1 ) ; but that was not a release of servants, but of debts; for if a servant had not served out his time, the sabbatical year, or year of release, did not discharge him; though the year of jubilee did, according to Maimonides F12, who says,

``if the year of release happens in any of the six years, he (the servant) serves in it; but if the year of jubilee happens within the time, even though he has been sold but one year before it, he is free;''
that none should serve himself of them, [to wit], of a Jew his
or cause them to serve him, oblige them against their will to continue in his service; or by any means avail himself of them, and receive to himself any profit or advantage by their service, they being Jews and brethren; which seems to be added, both as the reason of the law, because they were brethren of the same nation and religion with them, and to distinguish them from other servants, who notwithstanding this law might be retained as such.

F12 Hilchot Abadim, c. 2. sect. 2.

Jeremiah 34:9 In-Context

7 when the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left, Lachish and Aze'kah; for these were the only fortified cities of Judah that remained.
8 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedeki'ah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them,
9 that every one should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother.
10 And they obeyed, all the princes and all the people who had entered into the covenant that every one would set free his slave, male or female, so that they would not be enslaved again; they obeyed and set them free.
11 But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.