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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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1Yahweh said to Moses in Mount Sinai, 2“Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Yahweh. 3You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in its fruits; 4but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and you shall not gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food.
8“‘You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. 9Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. 12For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field.
13“‘In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property.
14“‘If you sell anything to your neighbor, or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. 15According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor. According to the number of years of the crops he shall sell to you. 16According to the length of the years you shall increase its price, and according to the shortness of the years you shall diminish its price; for he is selling the number of the crops to you. 17You shall not wrong one another; but you shall fear your God: for I am Yahweh your God.
18“‘Therefore you shall do my statutes, and keep my ordinances and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety. 19The land shall yield its fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. 20If you said, “What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase”; 21then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bear fruit for the three years. 22You shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the fruits, the old store; until the ninth year, until its fruits come in, you shall eat the old store.
23“‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and live as foreigners with me. 24In all the land of your possession you shall grant a redemption for the land.
25“‘If your brother becomes poor, and sells some of his possessions, then his kinsman who is next to him shall come, and redeem that which his brother has sold. 26If a man has no one to redeem it, and he becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it; 27then let him reckon the years since its sale, and restore the surplus to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28But if he isn’t able to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hand of him who has bought it until the Year of Jubilee: and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.
29“‘If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it has been sold. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption. 30If it isn’t redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee. 31But the houses of the villages which have no wall around them shall be accounted for with the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee.
32“‘Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. 33The Levites may redeem the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, and it shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.
35“‘If your brother has become poor, and his hand can’t support himself among you; then you shall uphold him. He shall live with you like an alien and a temporary resident. 36Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God; that your brother may live among you. 37You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. 38I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.
39“‘If your brother has grown poor among you, and sells himself to you; you shall not make him to serve as a slave. 40As a hired servant, and as a temporary resident, he shall be with you; he shall serve with you until the Year of Jubilee: 41then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family, and to the possession of his fathers. 42For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. They shall not be sold as slaves. 43You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God.
44“‘As for your male and your female slaves, whom you may have; of the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. 45Moreover of the children of the aliens who live among you, of them you may buy, and of their families who are with you, which they have conceived in your land; and they will be your property. 46You may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession; of them may you take your slaves forever; but over your brothers the children of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness.
47“‘If an alien or temporary resident with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him has grown poor, and sells himself to the stranger or foreigner living among you, or to a member of the stranger’s family; 48after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him; 49or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any who is a close relative to him of his family may redeem him; or if he has grown rich, he may redeem himself. 50He shall reckon with him who bought him from the year that he sold himself to him to the Year of Jubilee. The price of his sale shall be according to the number of years; he shall be with him according to the time of a hired servant. 51If there are yet many years, according to them he shall give back the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52If there remain but a few years to the year of jubilee, then he shall reckon with him; according to his years of service he shall give back the price of his redemption. 53As a servant hired year by year shall he be with him. He shall not rule with harshness over him in your sight. 54If he isn’t redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee, he, and his children with him. 55For to me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.