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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.
25
The Time of Rest for the Land
1The Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai. He said, 2“Tell the people of Israel this: ‘I will give you land. When you enter it, let it have a special time of rest. This will be to honor the Lord. 3You may plant seed in your field for six years. You may trim your vineyards for six years and bring in their fruits. 4But during the seventh year, you must let the land rest. This will be a special time to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim your vineyards. 5You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after harvest. You must not gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest.
6“‘You may eat whatever the land produces during that year of rest. It will be food for your men and women servants. It will be food for your hired workers and the foreigners living in your country. 7It will also be food for your cattle and the wild animals of your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
8“‘Count off seven groups of 7 years. This will be 49 years. During that time there will be 7 years of rest for the land. 9On the Day of Cleansing, you must blow the horn of a male sheep. This will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. 10Make the fiftieth year a special year. Announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee.# This word comes from the Hebrew word for a horn of a male sheep. Each of you will go back to his own property. And each of you will go back to his own family and family group. 11The fiftieth year will be a special time for you to celebrate. Don’t plant seeds. Don’t harvest the crops that grow by themselves. Don’t gather grapes from the vines that are not trimmed. 12That year is Jubilee. It will be a holy time for you. You may eat the crops that come from the field. 13In the year of Jubilee each person will go back to his own property.
14“‘Don’t cheat your neighbor when you sell your land to him. And don’t let him cheat you when you buy land from him. 15You might want to buy your neighbor’s land. If you do, count the number of years since the last Jubilee. Use that number to decide the right price. If he sells the land to you, count the number of years left for harvesting crops. Use that number to decide the right price. 16If there are many years, the price will be high. If there are only a few years, lower the price. This is because your neighbor is really selling only a few crops to you. At the next Jubilee the land will again belong to his family. 17You must not cheat each other. You respect your God. I am the Lord your God.
18“‘Remember my laws and rules, and obey them. Then you will live safely in the land. 19The land will give good crops to you. You will eat as much as you want. And you will live safely in the land.
20“‘But you might ask, “If we don’t plant seeds or gather crops, what will we eat the seventh year?” 21Don’t worry. I will send you a great blessing during the sixth year. That year the land will produce enough crops for 3 years. 22When you plant in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop. You will eat the old crop until the harvest of the ninth year.
Property Laws
23“‘The land really belongs to me. So you can’t sell it forever. You are only foreigners and travelers living for a time on my land. 24People might sell their land. But the family will always get its land back. 25A person in your country might become very poor. He might be so poor that he must sell his land. So his close relatives must come and buy it back for him. 26A person might not have a close relative to buy back his land for him. But he might get enough money to buy it back himself. 27He must count the years since the land was sold. He must use that number to decide how much to pay for the land. Then he may buy it back. And the land will be his again. 28But he might not find enough money to buy it back for himself. Then the one who bought it will keep it until the year of Jubilee. But during that celebration, the land will go back to the first owner’s family.
29“‘Someone may sell a home in a walled city. But, for a full year after he sold it, he has the right to buy it back. 30But the owner might not buy back the house before a full year is over. If he doesn’t, the house in the walled city will belong to the one who bought it. It will belong to his future sons. The house will not go back to the first owner at Jubilee. 31But houses in small towns without walls are like open country. They can be bought back. And they must be returned to their first owner at Jubilee.
32“‘The Levites may always buy back their houses. This is true in the cities which belong to them. 33Someone might buy a house from a Levite. But that house in the Levites’ city will again belong to the Levites in the Jubilee. This is because houses in Levite cities belong to the people of Levi. The people of Israel gave these cities to the Levites. 34Also the fields and pastures around the Levites’ cities cannot be sold. Those fields belong to the Levites forever.
Rules for Slave Owners
35“‘Someone from your country might become too poor to support himself. Help him to live among you as you would a stranger or foreigner. 36Do not charge him any interest on money you loan to him. Respect your God. And let the poor man live among you. 37Don’t lend him money for interest. Don’t try to make a profit from the food he buys. 38I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt. I did it to give the land of Canaan to you and to become your God.
39“‘Someone from your country might become very poor. He might even sell himself as a slave to you. If he does, you must not make him work like a slave. 40He will be like a hired worker. And he will be like a visitor with you until the year of Jubilee. 41Then he may leave you. He may take his children and go back to his family and the land of his ancestors. 42This is because the Israelites are my servants. I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They must not become slaves again. 43You must not rule this person cruelly. You must respect your God.
44“‘You may buy men and women slaves from other nations around you. 45Also you may buy children as slaves. These children must come from the families of foreigners living in your land. These child slaves will belong to you. 46You may even pass these foreign slaves on to your children after you die. You can make them slaves forever. But you must not rule cruelly over your own brothers, the Israelites.
47“‘A foreigner or visitor among you might become rich. And someone in your country might become poor. The poor man might sell himself as a slave to a foreigner living among you. Or he might sell himself to a member of a foreigner’s family. 48The poor man has the right to be bought back and become free. One of his relatives may buy him back. 49His uncle or his uncle’s son may buy him back. One of his close relatives may buy him back. Or if he gets enough money, he may pay the money himself. Then he will be free again.
50“‘How do you decide the price? You must count the years from the time he sold himself to the foreigner. And count up to the next year of Jubilee. Use that number to decide the price. This is because the person really only hired himself out for a certain number of years. 51There might still be many years before the year of Jubilee. If so, the person must pay back a large part of the price. 52There might only be a few years left until Jubilee. If so, the person must pay a small part of the first price. 53But he will live like a hired man with the foreigner every year. Don’t let the foreigner rule cruelly over him.
54“‘That person will become free, even if no one buys him back. At the year of Jubilee, he and his children will become free. 55This is because the people of Israel are my servants. I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.