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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 Sabbath Year
1The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He said, 2"Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, 'You will enter the land I am going to give you. When you do, you must honor me every seventh year by not farming the land that year.
3" 'For six years plant your fields. Trim the branches in your vineyards and gather your crops.
4" 'But the seventh year must be a sabbath for the land. The land must rest during it. It is a sabbath year in my honor. Do not plant your fields. Do not trim the branches in your vineyards. 5Do not gather what grows without being planted. And do not gather the grapes from the vines you have not taken care of. The land must have a year of rest.
6" 'Anything the land produces during the sabbath year will be food for you. It will be for you and your male and female servants. Your hired workers will eat it. So will people who live with you for a while. 7And so will your livestock and the wild animals that are in your land. Anything the land produces can be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
8" 'Count off seven sabbaths of years. Count off seven times seven years. The seven sabbaths of years add up to a total of 49 years. 9The tenth day of the seventh month is the day when sin is paid for. On that day blow the trumpet all through your land.
10" 'Set the 50th year apart. Announce freedom all over the land to everyone who lives there. The 50th year will be a Year of Jubilee for you. Each of you must return to your own family property. And each of you must return to your own tribe.
11" 'The 50th year will be a Year of Jubilee for you. Do not plant anything. Do not gather what grows without being planted. And do not gather the grapes from the vines you have not taken care of. 12It is a Year of Jubilee. It will be holy for you. Eat only what the fields produce.
13" 'In the Year of Jubilee all of you must return to your own property.
14" 'Suppose you sell land to one of your own people. Or you buy land from him. Then do not take advantage of each other. 15The price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last Year of Jubilee. And the price you charge must be based on the number of years left for gathering crops before the next Year of Jubilee.
16" 'When there are many years left, you must raise the price. When there are only a few years left, you must lower the price. That is because what the man is really selling you is the number of crops the land will produce. 17Do not take advantage of each other. Instead, have respect for me. I am the Lord your God.
18" 'Follow my rules. Be careful to obey my laws. Then you will live safely in the land. 19The land will produce its fruit. You will eat as much as you want. And you will live there in safety.
20" 'Suppose you say, "In the seventh year we will not plant anything or gather our crops. So what will we eat?" 21I will send you a great blessing in the sixth year. The land will produce enough for three years. 22While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat food from the old crop. You will continue to eat food from it until the crops from the ninth year are gathered.
23" 'The land must not be sold without a way of getting it back. That is because it belongs to me. You are only outsiders who rent my land. 24You must make sure that you can buy the land back. That applies to all of the land that belongs to you.
25" 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he has to sell some of his land. Then his nearest relative must come and buy back what he has sold.
26" 'But suppose he does not have anyone to buy it back for him. And suppose things go well for him and he earns enough money to buy it back himself. 27Then he must decide how much the crops have become worth since the time he sold the land. He must take that amount off the price the land was sold for. He must give the man who is selling it back to him the money that is left. Then he can go back to his own property.
28" 'But suppose he has not earned enough money to pay the man back. Then the buyer he sold the land to will keep it until the Year of Jubilee. At that time it will be returned to him. Then he can go back to his property.
29" 'Suppose a man sells a house in a city that has a wall around it. Then for a full year after he sells it he has the right to buy it back.
30" 'But suppose he does not buy it back before the full year has passed. Then the house in the walled city will continue to belong to the buyer and his children after him. It will not be returned to the seller in the Year of Jubilee.
31" 'But houses in villages that do not have walls around them must be treated like property outside walled cities. Those houses can be bought back at any time. And they must be returned in the Year of Jubilee.
32" 'The Levites always have the right to buy back their houses in the towns that belong to them. 33So their property among the people of Israel can be bought back. That applies to a house that is sold in any of their towns. Any house that is sold must be returned to its original owner in the Year of Jubilee. That is because the houses of the Levites will always belong to them.
34" 'But the grasslands around their towns must never be sold. They will belong to them for all time to come.
35" 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he can't take care of himself. Then help him just as you would help an outsider or someone who is living among you for a while. In that way, the man who is poor can continue to live among you.
36" 'Do not charge him interest of any kind. Instead, have respect for me. Then the man who has become poor can continue to live among you. 37If you lend him money, you must not charge him interest. And you must not sell him food for more than it cost you.
38" 'I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. I did it to give you the land of Canaan. I wanted to be your God.
39" 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he sells himself to you. Then do not make him work as a slave. 40You must treat him like a hired worker. Or you must treat him like someone who is living among you for a while.
" 'He must work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41Then he and his children must be set free. He will go back to his own tribe. He will go back to the property his people have always owned.
42" 'The people of Israel are my servants. I brought them out of Egypt. So they must not be sold as slaves. 43Show them pity when you rule over them. Have respect for me.
44" 'You must get your male and female slaves from the nations that are around you. You can buy slaves from them. 45You can buy as slaves some of the people who are living among you for a while. You can also buy members of their families who were born among you. They will become your property. 46You can leave them to your children as their share of your property. You can make them slaves for life. But when you rule over your own people, you must be kind to them.
47" 'Suppose an outsider or someone who is living among you for a while becomes rich. Then suppose one of your own people becomes poor. He sells himself to the outsider who is living among you. Or he sells himself to a member of the outsider's family. 48Then he keeps the right to buy himself back after he has sold himself. One of his relatives can buy him back. 49An uncle or a cousin can buy himself back after he has sold himself. In fact, any relative in his tribe can do it. Or suppose things go well for him. Then he can buy himself back.
50" 'He and his buyer must count the number of years from the time of the sale up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for his freedom must be based on the amount that is paid to a hired man for that number of years.
51" 'Suppose there are many years until the Year of Jubilee. Then for his freedom he must pay a larger share of the price that was paid for him. 52But suppose there are only a few years left until the Year of Jubilee. Then he must count the number of years that are left. The payment for his freedom must be based on that number.
53" 'He must be treated as if he had been hired from year to year. You must make sure that his owner is kind to him when he rules over him.
54" 'Suppose he is not bought back in any of those ways. Then he and his children must still be set free in the Year of Jubilee. 55That is because the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants. I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord their God.