Leviticus 25-27New Living Translation (NLT)
The Sabbath Year
25 While Moses was on Mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. 3 For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, 4 but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year. 5 And don’t store away the crops that grow on their own or gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. The land must have a year of complete rest. 6 But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own during its Sabbath. This applies to you, your male and female servants, your hired workers, and the temporary residents who live with you. 7 Your livestock and the wild animals in your land will also be allowed to eat what the land produces.
The Year of Jubilee
8 “In addition, you must count off seven Sabbath years, seven sets of seven years, adding up to forty-nine years in all. 9 Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year,[a] blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. 10 Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan. 11 This fiftieth year will be a jubilee for you. During that year you must not plant your fields or store away any of the crops that grow on their own, and don’t gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. 12 It will be a jubilee year for you, and you must keep it holy. But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own. 13 In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors.
14 “When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other. 15 When you buy land from your neighbor, the price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last jubilee. The seller must set the price by taking into account the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee. 16 The more years until the next jubilee, the higher the price; the fewer years, the lower the price. After all, the person selling the land is actually selling you a certain number of harvests. 17 Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God.
18 “If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. 19 Then the land will yield large crops, and you will eat your fill and live securely in it. 20 But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ 21 Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. 22 When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year.
Redemption of Property
23 “The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me.
24 “With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. 25 If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land, then a close relative should buy it back for him. 26 If there is no close relative to buy the land, but the person who sold it gets enough money to buy it back, 27 he then has the right to redeem it from the one who bought it. The price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next Year of Jubilee. In this way the original owner can then return to the land. 28 But if the original owner cannot afford to buy back the land, it will remain with the new owner until the next Year of Jubilee. In the jubilee year, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land.
29 “Anyone who sells a house inside a walled town has the right to buy it back for a full year after its sale. During that year, the seller retains the right to buy it back. 30 But if it is not bought back within a year, the sale of the house within the walled town cannot be reversed. It will become the permanent property of the buyer. It will not be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. 31 But a house in a village—a settlement without fortified walls—will be treated like property in the countryside. Such a house may be bought back at any time, and it must be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee.
32 “The Levites always have the right to buy back a house they have sold within the towns allotted to them. 33 And any property that is sold by the Levites—all houses within the Levitical towns—must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. After all, the houses in the towns reserved for the Levites are the only property they own in all Israel. 34 The open pastureland around the Levitical towns may never be sold. It is their permanent possession.
Redemption of the Poor and Enslaved
35 “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you. 36 Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative. 37 Remember, do not charge interest on money you lend him or make a profit on food you sell him. 38 I am the Lord 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 one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave. 40 Treat him instead as a hired worker or as a temporary resident who lives with you, and he will serve you only until the Year of Jubilee. 41 At that time he and his children will no longer be obligated to you, and they will return to their clans and go back to the land originally allotted to their ancestors. 42 The people of Israel are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, so they must never be sold as slaves. 43 Show your fear of God by not treating them harshly.
44 “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. 45 You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, 46 passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way.
47 “Suppose a foreigner or temporary resident becomes rich while living among you. If any of your fellow Israelites fall into poverty and are forced to sell themselves to such a foreigner or to a member of his family, 48 they still retain the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased. They may be bought back by a brother, 49 an uncle, or a cousin. In fact, anyone from the extended family may buy them back. They may also redeem themselves if they have prospered. 50 They will negotiate the price of their freedom with the person who bought them. The price will be based on the number of years from the time they were sold until the next Year of Jubilee—whatever it would cost to hire a worker for that period of time. 51 If many years still remain until the jubilee, they will repay the proper proportion of what they received when they sold themselves. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they will repay a small amount for their redemption. 53 The foreigner must treat them as workers hired on a yearly basis. You must not allow a foreigner to treat any of your fellow Israelites harshly. 54 If any Israelites have not been bought back by the time the Year of Jubilee arrives, they and their children must be set free at that time. 55 For the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Blessings for Obedience
26 “Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the Lord your God. 2 You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
3 “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. 5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.
6 “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. 7 In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.
9 “I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
Punishments for Disobedience
14 “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!
18 “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. 20 All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.
21 “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. 22 I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted.
23 “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, 24 then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. 25 I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies. 26 I will destroy your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake bread for their families. They will ration your food by weight, and though you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.
27 “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, 28 then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins. 29 Then you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will destroy your pagan shrines and knock down your places of worship. I will leave your lifeless corpses piled on top of your lifeless idols,[b] and I will despise you. 31 I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of pagan worship. I will take no pleasure in your offerings that should be a pleasing aroma to me. 32 Yes, I myself will devastate your land, and your enemies who come to occupy it will be appalled at what they see. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years as it lies desolate while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed. 35 As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.
36 “And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall even when no one pursues you. 37 Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword. You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. 38 You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in your enemies’ lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
40 “But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. 41 When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. 42 Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.
44 “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. 45 For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
46 These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.
Redemption of Gifts Offered to the Lord
27 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person, 3 here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekels[c] of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel. 4 A woman of that age is valued at thirty shekels[d] of silver. 5 A boy between the ages of five and twenty is valued at twenty shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten shekels[e] of silver. 6 A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekels[f] of silver. 7 A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen shekels of silver; a woman of that age is valued at ten shekels[g] of silver. 8 If you desire to make such a vow but cannot afford to pay the required amount, take the person to the priest. He will determine the amount for you to pay based on what you can afford.
9 “If your vow involves giving an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, any gift to the Lord will be considered holy. 10 You may not exchange or substitute it for another animal—neither a good animal for a bad one nor a bad animal for a good one. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy. 11 If your vow involves an unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—then you must bring the animal to the priest. 12 He will assess its value, and his assessment will be final, whether high or low. 13 If you want to buy back the animal, you must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent.
14 “If someone dedicates a house to the Lord, the priest will come to assess its value. The priest’s assessment will be final, whether high or low. 15 If the person who dedicated the house wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the house will again be his.
16 “If someone dedicates to the Lord a piece of his family property, its value will be assessed according to the amount of seed required to plant it—fifty shekels of silver for a field planted with five bushels of barley seed.[h] 17 If the field is dedicated to the Lord in the Year of Jubilee, then the entire assessment will apply. 18 But if the field is dedicated after the Year of Jubilee, the priest will assess the land’s value in proportion to the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. Its assessed value is reduced each year. 19 If the person who dedicated the field wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the field will again be legally his. 20 But if he does not want to buy it back, and it is sold to someone else, the field can no longer be bought back. 21 When the field is released in the Year of Jubilee, it will be holy, a field specially set apart[i] for the Lord. It will become the property of the priests.
22 “If someone dedicates to the Lord a field he has purchased but which is not part of his family property, 23 the priest will assess its value based on the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. On that day he must give the assessed value of the land as a sacred donation to the Lord. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field must be returned to the person from whom he purchased it, the one who inherited it as family property. 25 (All the payments must be measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel,[j] which equals twenty gerahs.)
26 “You may not dedicate a firstborn animal to the Lord, for the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats already belong to him. 27 However, you may buy back the firstborn of a ceremonially unclean animal by paying the priest’s assessment of its worth, plus 20 percent. If you do not buy it back, the priest will sell it at its assessed value.
28 “However, anything specially set apart for the Lord—whether a person, an animal, or family property—must never be sold or bought back. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart as holy, and it belongs to the Lord. 29 No person specially set apart for destruction may be bought back. Such a person must be put to death.
30 “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 31 If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. 32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.”
34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.