Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Deuteronomy
Book: Deuteronomy
Chapter: 15

The Year of release. (1-11) Concerning the release of
servants. (12-18) Respecting the firstlings of Cattle. (19-23)

1-11 This Year of release typified the Grace of the Gospel, in
which is proclaimed the acceptable Year of the Lord; and By
which we obtain the release of our debts, that is, the Pardon of
our sins. The Law is spiritual, and lays restraints upon the
thoughts of the Heart. We mistake, if we think thoughts are free
from God's knowledge and check. That is a wicked Heart indeed,
which raises evil thoughts from the good Law of God, as theirs
did, who, because God had obliged them to the Charity of
forgiving, denied the Charity of giving. Those who would keep
from the act of Sin, must keep out of their minds the very
thought of Sin. It is a dreadful thing to have the cry of the
Poor justly against us. Grudge not a kindness to thy Brother;
distrust not the Providence of God. What thou doest, do freely,
for God loves a cheerful giver, 2Co 9:7.

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.

19-23 Here is a direction what to do with the firstlings. We
are not now limited as the Israelites were; we make No
difference between a first Calf, or Lamb, and the Rest. Let us
then look to the Gospel meaning of this Law, devoting ourselves
and the first of our time and strength to God; and using all our
comforts and enjoyments to his praise, and under the direction
of his Law, as we have them all By his Gift.