Scripture Text:(Click the Scripture text to open the text in a new window.) 1. Has anyone gone back on a promise to you? When? How did it make you feel?
2. What freedoms were you granted upon reaching the age of 16? 18? 21? 40? 65?
3. Who became slaves in ancient Israel and why (verses 8, 9; see Leviticus 25:39 – 46? Why was a limit set for the servitude of a fellow Jew (verses 13, 14)?
4. Why do you think Zedekiah declares freedom for the slaves (verses 8 – 10)? Why do the slave-holders renege on this (verses 11, 16; see Jeremiah 34:21, 22 and Jeremiah 37:5)?
5. One ancient rite to “cut” a covenant had partners cut a calf in two and walk between the pieces. What might have been the significance of this (verses 18 – 20; see Genesis 15:8 – 11, 17)?
6. Why fuss over the slaves? How would it feel to be freed, then enslaved again? How will God “free” those who break their vow (verses 17 – 22)?
7. If this were your only biblical basis for learning about how God cares for the poor, what would you conclude about God? About the poor? About rich landowners and office holders?
8. If your CEO or government leader reneges on a pledge to your people, what happens?
9. Who are the “slaves” in your country today? Is your church proclaiming their freedom, as did Jesus and Isaiah (see Isaiah 61:1, 2 and Luke 4:18)?
10. Do you feel “enslaved” in any way? What would freedom mean to you? What can you do for those enslaved as you once were (or still are)?