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25
The Seventh Year
(Deuteronomy 15.1-11)
1 # Ex 23.10,11 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and commanded him 2to give the following regulations to the people of Israel. When you enter the land that the Lord is giving you, you shall honor the Lord by not cultivating the land every seventh year. 3You shall plant your fields, prune your vineyards, and gather your crops for six years. 4But the seventh year is to be a year of complete rest for the land, a year dedicated to the Lord. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not even harvest the grain that grows by itself without being planted, and do not gather the grapes from your unpruned vines; it is a year of complete rest for the land. 6Although the land has not been cultivated during that year, it will provide food for you, your slaves, your hired men, the foreigners living with you, 7your domestic animals, and the wild animals in your fields. Everything that it produces may be eaten.
The Year of Restoration
8Count seven times seven years, a total of forty-nine years. 9Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement, send someone to blow a trumpet throughout the whole land. 10In this way you shall set the fiftieth year apart and proclaim freedom to all the inhabitants of the land. During this year all property that has been sold shall be restored to the original owner or the descendants, and any who have been sold as slaves shall return to their families. 11You shall not plant your fields or harvest the grain that grows by itself or gather the grapes in your unpruned vineyards. 12The whole year shall be sacred for you; you shall eat only what the fields produce of themselves.
13In this year all property that has been sold shall be restored to its original owner. 14So when you sell land to an Israelite or buy land, do not deal unfairly. 15The price is to be set according to the number of years the land can produce crops before the next Year of Restoration. 16If there are many years, the price shall be higher, but if there are only a few years, the price shall be lower, because what is being sold is the number of crops the land can produce. 17Do not cheat an Israelite, but obey the Lord your God.
The Problem of the Seventh Year
18Obey all the Lord's laws and commands, so that you may live in safety in the land. 19The land will produce its crops, and you will have all you want to eat and will live in safety.
20But someone may ask what there will be to eat during the seventh year, when no fields are planted and no crops gathered. 21The Lord will bless the land in the sixth year so that it will produce enough food for two years. 22When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating what you harvested during the sixth year, and you will have enough to eat until the crops you plant that year are harvested.
Restoration of Property
23Your land must not be sold on a permanent basis, because you do not own it; it belongs to God, and you are like foreigners who are allowed to make use of it.
24When land is sold, the right of the original owner to buy it back must be recognized. 25If any of you Israelites become poor and are forced to sell your land, your closest relative is to buy it back. 26If you have no relative to buy it back, you may later become prosperous and have enough to buy it back yourself. 27In that case you must pay to the one who bought it a sum that will make up for the years remaining until the next Year of Restoration, when you would in any event recover your land. 28But if you do not have enough money to buy the land back, it remains under the control of the one who bought it until the next Year of Restoration. In that year it will be returned to its original owner.
29If you sell a house in a walled city, you have the right to buy it back during the first full year from the date of sale. 30But if you do not buy it back within the year, you lose the right of repurchase, and the house becomes the permanent property of the purchasers and their descendants; it will not be returned in the Year of Restoration. 31But houses in unwalled villages are to be treated like fields; the original owner has the right to buy them back, and they are to be returned in the Year of Restoration. 32However, Levites have the right to buy back at any time their property in the cities assigned to them. 33If a house in one of these cities is sold by a Levite and is not bought back, it must be returned in the Year of Restoration,#25.33: Probable text If a house … Restoration; Hebrew unclear. because the houses which the Levites own in their cities are their permanent property among the people of Israel. 34But the pasture land around the Levite cities shall never be sold; it is their property forever.
Loans to the Poor
35 # Dt 15.7,8 If any Israelites living near you become poor and cannot support themselves, you must provide for them as you would for a hired worker, so that they can continue to live near you. 36Do not charge Israelites any interest, but obey God and let them live near you. 37#Ex 22.25; Dt 23.19,20 Do not make them pay interest on the money you lend them, and do not make a profit on the food you sell them. 38This is the command of the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt in order to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
Release of Slaves
39 # Ex 21.2-6; Dt 15.12-18 If any Israelites living near you become so poor that they sell themselves to you as a slave, you shall not make them do the work of a slave. 40They shall stay with you as hired workers and serve you until the next Year of Restoration. 41At that time they and their children shall leave you and return to their family and to the property of their ancestors. 42The people of Israel are the Lord's slaves, and he brought them out of Egypt; they must not be sold into slavery. 43Do not treat them harshly, but obey your God. 44If you need slaves, you may buy them from the nations around you. 45You may also buy the children of the foreigners who are living among you. Such children born in your land may become your property, 46and you may leave them as an inheritance to your children, whom they must serve as long as they live. But you must not treat any Israelites harshly.
47Suppose a foreigner living with you becomes rich, while some Israelites become poor and sell themselves as slaves to that foreigner or to a member of that foreigner's family. 48After they are sold, they still have the right to be bought back. A brother 49or an uncle or a cousin or another close relative may buy them back; or if they themselves earn enough, they may buy their own freedom. 50They must consult the one who bought them, and they must count the years from the time they sold themselves until the next Year of Restoration and must set the price for their release on the basis of the wages paid hired workers. 51-52They must refund a part of the purchase price according to the number of years left, 53as if they had been hired on an annual basis. Their master must not treat them harshly. 54If they are not set free in any of these ways, they and their children must be set free in the next Year of Restoration. 55Israelites cannot be permanent slaves, because the people of Israel are the Lord's slaves. He brought them out of Egypt; he is the Lord their God.
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1Adonai spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai; he said, 2“Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When you enter the land I am giving you, the land itself is to observe a Shabbat rest for Adonai. 3Six years you will sow your field; six years you will prune your grapevines and gather their produce. 4But in the seventh year is to be a Shabbat of complete rest for the land, a Shabbat for Adonai; you will neither sow your field nor prune your grapevines. 5You are not to harvest what grows by itself from the seeds left by your previous harvest, and you are not to gather the grapes of your untended vine; it is to be a year of complete rest for the land. 6But what the land produces during the year of Shabbat will be food for all of you — you, your servant, your maid, your employee, anyone living near you, 7your livestock and the wild animals on your land; everything the land produces may be used for food.
8“‘You are to count seven Shabbats of years, seven times seven years, that is, forty-nine years. 9Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom-Kippur, you are to sound a blast on the shofar; you are to sound the shofar all through your land; 10and you are to consecrate the fiftieth year, proclaiming freedom throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a yovel for you; you will return everyone to the land he owns, and everyone is to return to his family. 11That fiftieth year will be a yovel for you; in that year you are not to sow, harvest what grows by itself or gather the grapes of untended vines; 12because it is a yovel. It will be holy for you; whatever the fields produce will be food for all of you. 13In this year of yovel, every one of you is to return to the land he owns.
(LY: ii) 14“‘If you sell anything to your neighbor or buy anything from him, neither of you is to exploit the other. 15Rather, you are to take into account the number of years after the yovel when you buy land from your neighbor, and he is to sell to you according to the number of years crops will be raised. 16If the number of years remaining is large, you will raise the price; if few years remain, you will lower it; because what he is really selling you is the number of crops to be produced. 17Thus you are not to take advantage of each other, but you are to fear your God; for I am Adonai your God.
18“‘Rather, you are to keep my regulations and rulings and act accordingly. If you do, you will live securely in the land. (RY: ii, LY: iii) 19The land will yield its produce, you will eat until you have enough, and you will live there securely.
20“‘If you ask, “If we aren’t allowed to sow seed or harvest what our land produces, what are we going to eat the seventh year?” 21then I will order my blessing on you during the sixth year, so that the land brings forth enough produce for all three years. 22The eighth year you will sow seed but eat the the old, stored produce until the ninth year; that is, until the produce of the eighth year comes in, you will eat the old, stored food.
23“‘The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me — you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me. 24Therefore, when you sell your property, you must include the right of redemption. (LY: iv) 25That is, if one of you becomes poor and sells some of his property, his next-of-kin can come and buy back what his relative sold. 26If the seller has no one to redeem it but becomes rich enough to redeem it himself, 27he will calculate the number of years the land was sold for, refund the excess to its buyer, and return to his property. 28If he hasn’t sufficient means to get it back himself, then what he sold will remain in the hands of the buyer until the year of yovel; in the yovel the buyer will vacate it and the seller return to his property.
(RY: iii, LY: v) 29“‘If someone sells a dwelling in a walled city, he has one year after the date of sale in which to redeem it. For a full year he will have the right of redemption; 30but if he has not redeemed the dwelling in the walled city within the year, then title in perpetuity passes to the buyer through all his generations; it will not revert in the yovel. 31However, houses in villages not surrounded by walls are to be dealt with like the fields in the countryside — they may be redeemed [before the yovel], and they revert in the yovel.
32“‘Concerning the cities of the L’vi’im and the houses in the cities they possess, the L’vi’im are to have a permanent right of redemption. 33If someone purchases a house from one of the L’vi’im, then the house he sold in the city where he owns property will still revert to him in the yovel; because the houses in the cities of the L’vi’im are their tribe’s possession among the people of Isra’el. 34The fields in the open land around their cities may not be sold, because that is their permanent possession.
35“‘If a member of your people has become poor, so that he can’t support himself among you, you are to assist him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident, so that he can continue living with you. 36Do not charge him interest or otherwise profit from him, but fear your God, so that your brother can continue living with you. 37Do not take interest when you loan him money or take a profit when you sell him food. 38I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to give you the land of Kena‘an and be your God.
(RY: iv, LY: vi) 39“‘If a member of your people has become poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him do the work of a slave. 40Rather, you are to treat him like an employee or a tenant; he will work for you until the year of yovel. 41Then he will leave you, he and his children with him, and return to his own family and regain possession of his ancestral land. 42For they are my slaves, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; therefore they are not to be sold as slaves. 43Do not treat him harshly, but fear your God.
44“‘Concerning the men and women you may have as slaves: you are to buy men- and women-slaves from the nations surrounding you. 45You may also buy the children of foreigners living with you and members of their families born in your land; you may own these. 46You may also bequeath them to your children to own; from these groups you may take your slaves forever. But as far as your brothers the people of Isra’el are concerned, you are not to treat each other harshly.
(LY: vii) 47“‘If a foreigner living with you has grown rich, and a member of your people has become poor and sells himself to this foreigner living with you or to a member of the foreigner’s family, 48he may be redeemed after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him; 49or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or any near relative of his may redeem him; or, if he becomes rich, he may redeem himself. 50He will calculate with the person who bought him the time from the year he sold himself to him to the year of yovel; and the amount to be paid will be according to the number of years and his time at an employee’s wage. 51If many years remain, according to them will he refund the amount for his redemption from the amount he was bought for. 52If there remain only a few years until the year of yovel, then he will calculate with him; according to his years will he refund the amount for his redemption. 53He will be like a worker hired year by year. You will see to it that he is not treated harshly.
54“‘If he has not been redeemed by any of these procedures, nevertheless he will go free in the year of yovel — he and his children with him. (LY: Maftir) 55For to me the people of Isra’el are slaves; they are my slaves whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.