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The Time of Rest for the Land

25 The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Tell the people of Israel this: ‘When you enter the land I will give you, let it have a ·special time of rest, to honor [L sabbath to/for] the Lord. You may plant seed in your field for six years, and you may trim your vineyards for six years and bring in their fruits. But during the seventh year, you must let the land ·rest [have a sabbath]. This will be a ·special time to honor [L sabbath to/for] the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or ·trim [prune] your vineyards. You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after harvest, or gather the grapes from your vines that are not ·trimmed [pruned]. The land will have a ·year of rest [sabbath].

“‘You may eat whatever the land produces during that ·year of rest [sabbath]. It will be food for your men and women servants, for your hired workers, and for the ·foreigners living in your country [sojourners; wanderers; resident aliens]. It 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

“‘Count off seven groups of seven years, [L seven times seven years] or forty-nine years. During that time there will be seven ·years of rest [sabbatical years; 25:1–7] for the land. On the Day of ·Cleansing [Atonement; 16:1–34], you must blow the horn of a ·male sheep [ram]; this will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. 10 Make the fiftieth year a ·special [consecrated; holy] year, and announce ·freedom [liberty] for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee [C a word related to the Hebrew for “ram’s horn”]. You will each go back to your own property, each to your own family and family group. 11 The fiftieth year will be a special time for you to celebrate. Don’t plant seeds, or harvest the crops that grow by themselves, or gather grapes from the vines that are not ·trimmed [pruned]. 12 That year is Jubilee; it will be a holy time for you. You may eat only the crops that come from the field. 13 In the year of Jubilee you each must go back to your own property.

14 “‘If you sell your land to your ·neighbor [countryman], or if you buy land from your ·neighbor [countryman], don’t ·cheat [mistreat; exploit] each other. 15 If you want to buy your ·neighbor’s [countryman’s] land, count the number of years since the last Jubilee, and use that number to decide the right price. If your ·neighbor [countryman] sells the land to you, count the number of years left for harvesting crops, and use that number to decide the right price. 16 If there are many years, the price will be high. But if there are only a few years, lower the price, because your neighbor is really selling only a few crops to you. 17 You must not ·cheat [mistreat; exploit] ·each other [L your neighbor/countryman], but you must ·respect [fear] your God. I am the Lord your God.

18 “‘·Remember [L Observe] my ·laws [statutes; ordinances; requirements] and ·rules [regulations], and ·obey [keep; guard] them so that you will live ·safely [securely] in the land. 19 The land will give ·good crops [its fruit] to you, and you will eat as much as you want and live ·safely [securely] in the land.

20 “‘But you might ask, “If we don’t plant seeds or gather crops, what will we eat the seventh year?” 21 I will ·send [L command for] you such a great blessing during the sixth year that the land will produce enough crops for three years. 22 When 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 ·for all time [in perpetuity]. You are only ·foreigners [sojourners; wanderers; resident aliens] and ·travelers living for a while on my land [L tenants with me]. 24 ·People might sell their land, but it must always be possible for the family to get its land back [L Throughout all the land of your possession, you must allow for redemption of the land]. 25 If ·a person in your country [your brother/kinsman] becomes very poor and sells some land, then close relatives ·must [or can] come and ·buy it back [redeem what his brother/kinsman has sold]. 26 If there is not a ·close relative to buy the land back [redeemer], but if the person ·makes enough money to be able to buy it back [prospers and he is able to redeem it], 27 the years must be ·counted [calculated] since the land was sold. That number must be used to decide how much the first owner should pay back the one who bought it. Then the land will belong to the first owner again. 28 But if there is not enough money to buy it back, the one who bought it will keep it until the year of Jubilee. During that celebration, the land will go back to the first owner’s family.

29 “‘If someone sells a home in a walled city, for a full year after it is sold, the person has the right to ·buy it back [redeem it]. 30 But if the owner does not ·buy back the house [redeem it] before a full year is over, it will belong to the one who bought it ·and to his future sons [L in perpetuity, throughout his generations]. The house will not go back to the first owner at Jubilee. 31 But houses in ·small towns [villages] without walls are like open ·country [fields]; they can be ·bought back [redeemed], and they must be returned to their first owner at Jubilee.

32 “‘The Levites may always ·buy back [redeem] their houses in the cities that belong to them. 33 If someone buys a house from a Levite, 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 Israelites gave these cities to them [L for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession in the midst of the sons/T children of Israel; Num. 35:1–8; Josh. 21:1–45]. 34 Also the ·fields and pastures [L open land] around the Levites’ cities cannot be sold, because ·those fields belong to the Levites [L that is their possession] forever.

Rules for Slave Owners

35 “‘If ·anyone from your country [your brother/kinsman] becomes too poor ·to support himself [or and dependent on you], ·help [support] him to live among you as you would a ·stranger [sojourner/wanderer/resident alien] or ·foreigner [or tenant]. 36 Do not charge him any interest on money ·you loan to him [L or try to make a profit; Ex. 22:25; Deut. 23:19–20], but ·respect [fear] your God; let ·the poor [L your brother/kinsman] live among you. 37 Don’t lend him money for interest, and don’t try to make a profit from the food he buys. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give the land of Canaan to you and to become your God.

39 “‘If ·anyone from your country [your brother/kinsman] becomes very poor and sells himself as a slave to you, you must not make him work like a slave [Ex. 21:2–6; Deut. 15:12–18]. 40 He will be like a hired worker and a ·visitor [or tenant] with you until the year of Jubilee. 41 Then he may leave you, take his children, and go back to his family and the land of his ancestors. 42 This is because the Israelites are my servants, and I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They must not become slaves again. 43 You must not ·rule this person [exercise dominion; Gen. 1:26] cruelly, but you must ·respect [fear] your God.

44 “‘Your men and women slaves must come from other nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 Also you may buy as slaves children from the families of ·strangers [sojourners/wanderers/resident aliens] or ·foreigners [or tenants] living in your land. ·These child slaves will belong to you [L Those born in your land will be your property], 46 and you may even ·pass them on to your children after you die [will them to your children]; you can make them slaves forever. But you must not ·rule [exercise dominion] cruelly over your own ·people [brothers; kinsmen], the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel].

47 “‘Suppose a ·stranger [sojourner/wanderer/resident alien] or ·foreigner [or tenant] among you becomes rich. If ·someone in your country [a brother/kinsman] becomes so poor that he has to sell himself as a slave to the ·foreigner [sojourner; wanderer; resident alien] living among you or to a member of the ·foreigner’s [sojourner’s; wanderer’s; resident alien’s] family, 48 ·the poor person has the right to be bought back and become free [L after he is sold he has the right of redemption]. One of his relatives may ·buy him back [redeem him]: 49 His uncle, his uncle’s son, or any one of his close relatives may ·buy him back [redeem him]. Or, if he gets enough money, he may pay the money to ·free [redeem] himself.

50 “‘He and the one who bought him must ·count [calculate] the time from when he sold himself up to the next year of Jubilee. Use that number to decide the price, because the person really only hired himself out for a certain number of years. 51 If there are still many years before the year of Jubilee, the person must ·pay back [redeem] a large part of the price. 52 If there are only a few years left until Jubilee, the person must pay a small part of the first price. 53 But he will live like a hired person with ·the foreigner [L him] every year; don’t let the ·foreigner [L him] ·rule [exercise dominion] cruelly over him.

54 “‘Even if no one ·buys him back [redeems him], at the year of Jubilee, he and his children will ·become free [L go out]. 55 This is because the ·people [L sons; children] of Israel are servants to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.