Caring for Servants in Deuteronomy

The passages from Deuteronomy 21:14 and Deuteronomy 15:12-15 provide guidance on how to treat servants, emphasizing compassion and fairness. These verses promote a compassionate approach towards those in servitude, encouraging respect for their rights and well-being. Let's explore the significance of these passages:

Caring for Servants

(1) Deuteronomy 21:14

"Do not be hard on a servant who is poor and in need, if he is one of your countrymen or a man from another nation living with you in your land." (Deuteronomy 21:14)

This verse highlights the importance of treating servants, particularly those who are poor and in need, with kindness and compassion. It emphasizes that even if the servant is a foreigner, they should still be treated with fairness and dignity.

(2) Deuteronomy 15:12-15

"If one of your countrymen, a Hebrew man or woman, becomes your servant for a price and does work for you six years, in the seventh year let him go free. And when you make him free, do not let him go away with nothing in his hands: But give him freely from your flock and from your grain and your wine: in the measure of the wealth which the Lord your God has given you, you are to give to him. And keep in mind that you yourself were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God made you free: so I give you this order today." (Deuteronomy 15:12-15)

These verses outline the regulations concerning Hebrew servants. They were allowed to work for six years and then be released in the seventh year, known as the Year of Jubilee. Upon their release, their masters were instructed to provide them with resources to help them start their new life. This command promotes compassion and consideration for servants' welfare, ensuring they are not left empty-handed after their service.

Key Points:

  • Compassion for Servants: Both passages emphasize the importance of showing compassion and kindness to servants, especially those who are in need or experiencing hardship.
  • Respect for Servants' Rights: These verses uphold the rights of servants and encourage fair treatment, regardless of their origin or status.
  • Recognizing Past Servitude: The second passage reminds the Israelites of their own past as servants in Egypt, serving as a reminder to treat others with empathy and understanding.
  • Responsibility as Masters: The verses place a responsibility on masters to care for the well-being of their servants and ensure they are not left destitute after their service.
  • Equality before God: Both passages emphasize that all individuals, including servants, are equal before God and deserving of respect and fair treatment.


These passages offer valuable insights for our lives today, and their application can be seen in the following ways:

  • Show Compassion and Respect: Treat all individuals, including employees or service providers, with compassion, respect, and dignity.
  • Provide Fair Compensation: In workplaces, ensure fair compensation and reasonable working conditions for employees or workers.
  • Supporting Those in Need: Extend support and assistance to those facing financial challenges, demonstrating kindness and empathy.
  • Remembering Past Struggles: Reflect on past experiences to foster empathy and understanding towards those in difficult circumstances.
  • Promoting Equality: Encourage a culture of equality and fairness, recognizing the value and worth of all individuals regardless of their status or background.

By incorporating these principles into our lives, we cultivate a compassionate and just society, treating others with care and consideration, and upholding their rights and dignity.

Bridge of Faiths

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