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Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31; Psalms 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21 (The Voice)

Leviticus 24:1-25:46

24 The Eternal One spoke to Moses.

Eternal One: 2-3 Direct the Israelites to bring you clear oil from pressed olives in order to keep the lamps in the sanctuary outside the veil covering the covenant chest continually burning. Aaron is to make sure the lamps continue to burn in My presence from dusk till dawn. This directive stands for all time throughout your generations. On a regular basis, Aaron and the priests are to tend to the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before Me.

I want you to take the finest flour and bake 12 loaves of bread. Each loaf is to be made of four quarts of flour. Then arrange the 12 loaves into two rows on the pure gold table in My presence. Put six loaves in each row. Place pure frankincense along each row to serve as a memorial portion for the bread, as a fire-offering to Me. Every Sabbath Aaron is to make sure these rows of bread are in order before Me. These loaves, baked and presented by the people of Israel, symbolize the perpetual covenant. They are reserved for Aaron and his sons, but they must be eaten only in a sacred space. These loaves are most holy gifts to Aaron out of all the fire-offerings presented to Me; they are his due for all time.

10 One day there was a man who had an Israelite mother and Egyptian father who got into a fight with an Israelite inside the camp. 11 The first man uttered a curse and disparaged the name of the Eternal One. The people brought him to Moses to decide what must be done. (His mother was Shelomith, Dibri’s daughter. Dibri was from the Dan tribe.) 12 They kept him in custody until the Eternal One’s decision became clear to them.

13 The Eternal One told Moses what to do.

Eternal One: 14 Take the man who cursed and disparaged Me outside the camp and have everyone who was a witness to what he said place their hands on his head. Then have the entire community stone him. 15 Tell the Israelites, “Anyone who curses His God or disparages His name must bear his sin and suffer the punishment. 16 Any person who blasphemes My name must be put to death. Then you must have the entire community join in stoning him. Any person—whether native-born or an outsider—who disparages My name must be put to death.”

17 Anyone who kills another person must be put to death. 18 Anyone who kills an animal is to compensate his owner for it, life for life. 19 Anyone who injures his neighbor must have done to him what he did to the other. 20 If he breaks a man’s bone, his own bone must be broken. If he puts out a man’s eye, his own eye must be put out. If he knocks out a man’s tooth, his own tooth must be knocked out.[a] Whatever a person does to harm another must be done to him in return. 21 Any person who takes the life of an animal is to compensate his owner for it, but any person who takes the life of another human being must be put to death. 22 This law applies to everyone equally, both native-born Israelites and outsiders. I am the Eternal One, your God.

The “law of retaliation,” as it is called, is designed to curb cruelty. It limits the kind and extent of retaliation a person can suffer when he deliberately injures another.

23 Moses told the Israelites what God had decided, so they took the man who had uttered the curse outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did exactly as the Eternal One had instructed Moses.

25 The Eternal One addressed Moses on Mount Sinai.

Eternal One: Go, talk with the Israelites and tell them that when you arrive in the land I have promised to give to you, you are to make sure the land observes a Sabbath rest before Me. Plant your fields, take care of your vineyards, and harvest your crops for six years; but when the seventh year arrives, I want the entire land to have a Sabbath rest to Me. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during this seventh year. Do not harvest whatever grows on its own from earlier plantings, and do not pick grapes from the unpruned vines. The entire year is to be a year of Sabbath rest for the land. 6-7 You, your slaves, your hired workers, the outsiders living among you, your domesticated and the wild animals may eat whatever the land produces naturally during the Sabbath year.

You are to count off seven Sabbath years (that’s seven times seven years), which gives you 49 years. After the 49th year is over, sound a ram’s horn across the land in the 50th year on the tenth day of the seventh month. Sound the ram’s horn throughout the land on the Day of Atonement. 10 When the 50th year arrives, sanctify it and declare liberty throughout the land for all who live there—dramatic, radical liberty for all. It is to be your jubilee year. Each of you is allowed to go back to the land that belonged to your ancestors; and each of you may return to your own family. 11-12 The 50th year is to be your jubilee year. Do not plant. Do not harvest anything that grows on its own or pick grapes from the unpruned vines. You may eat what the land produces naturally. For it is a jubilee, a special, sacred time for you.

The year of jubilee is a far-reaching idea in the ancient world. In the 50th year, land that has been sold to pay debts during the preceding 49 years returns to its original owners. Israelites who had to sell themselves into slavery to pay debts are set free. All debts are declared “paid in full.” The jubilee is a regular reminder to God’s covenant people that every acre of ground, every soul belongs to God, not to those rich enough to buy them. Actually land cannot be sold; it can only be leased in 50-year increments, from jubilee to jubilee. So God’s law protects the welfare of future generations by preventing the permanent transfer of land and wealth outside the control of the family.

Eternal One: 13 Everyone will return to his ancestral property during the year of jubilee. 14 If you sell something to a friend or buy something from your neighbor, do it honestly. 15 When you lease property from a friend, you should pay only for the time you get to use it. He will base the price on the number of harvest years remaining until the jubilee returns. 16 You will raise the price if the jubilee year is far away. You will lower the price if the year is near, for what you are really buying is the number of harvests you can get in before the next jubilee. 17 Do not cheat each other. Instead, fear the God who has power over you; for I am the Eternal One, your God.

18 So follow My directives and live by My rules; as you do, you and your people will most certainly be secure in the land I will give you. 19 The land will produce an abundance of food, and you will have all you need to eat and live safely in the land. 20 You might ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we don’t plant and harvest crops?” 21 Don’t worry. I will direct My blessing to come to you during the sixth year so that the land will produce three years’ worth of crops in that one year: 22 Even while you are planting during the eighth year, you will eat your fill of the previous crops harvested in the sixth year. You will eat those crops right up until the time when you harvest the new crops in the ninth year.

23 You are not allowed to sell the land in perpetuity because it isn’t actually yours. The land belongs to Me. You will always be strangers and outsiders living in My land. 24 So every plot of ground you possess carries a “right of redemption.”

25 If your fellow citizen becomes so impoverished that he has no choice but to sell off a portion of his land, then his nearest family relation is to buy back the portion sold for him. 26 If a man doesn’t have any relatives but finds a way to earn the money to redeem his land himself, 27 then he will buy it back from the man who bought the land from him, less the profit the buyer would have made in the years since he leased it; then the original owner can go back to live on his land. 28 But if a man does not earn or find the money he needs to buy back his land, then the man who leased the land will keep it until the year of jubilee. When the year of jubilee arrives, the land will return to the possession of its original owner.

29 By the same token, anyone who sells a house that is located within the city walls has one year to buy the house back after it is sold. The right of redemption lasts only one year. 30 If the seller does not buy back his house within a year of the date it was sold, then the house located within the city walls belongs to the new owner for all his generations. It will not go back to the original owner in the year of jubilee.

The houses located within the city walls are not protected from permanent sale probably because city dwellers do not live off the land.

31 The houses in towns that have no walls are classified as fields. They are subject to the rights of redemption and return to their original owner in the year of jubilee, just like any other field. 32 In the Levites’ cities, the houses permanently carry the right of redemption: 33 The Levites are able to redeem any and all property, and any house that is sold goes back to its original owner when the year of jubilee arrives because all the houses are the Levites’ inheritance from the other tribes of Israel. 34 The open country around the cities and villages is not allowed to be sold because this land belongs to them for all time.

Levites do not share the land inheritance with the other tribes, so their homes are their inheritance and will come back to them at the jubilee.

35 If your fellow citizen becomes poor and cannot take care of his needs, then you must support him with what you have. Look after him, as you would a stranger or outsider, so he may keep living in your community. 36 Let him borrow, but charge no interest and do not look for ways to profit from his need. Instead, fear God, and allow your fellow citizen to live alongside you. 37 Do not ask for interest when you lend him money. Do not try to profit by selling him your food. 38 I am the Eternal One, your God, the One who led you out of Egypt so that I could give you the land of Canaan and be your God.

39 If your fellow citizen becomes so poor that he must sell himself to you as a slave, do not treat him as a slave. 40 Have him work for you as a hired hand, as an outsider might, until the year of jubilee. 41 Then he and his children will be released from your service, and he will return to his family and to the property that belonged to his ancestors. 42 After all, they are My servants; I led them out of Egypt so they must never be sold as slaves. 43 You are not allowed to treat them badly. Instead fear your God. 44 On the other hand, you may acquire slaves, both men and women, from the nations surrounding you 45 and from the outsiders who live among you. You can acquire their family members who have been born in the land. You can keep them as property 46 and pass them down to your children as part of their inheritance for all time. You may continue to own them, even after jubilee. Remember if your slave is a fellow Israelite, then you must not deal with him harshly.

Footnotes:

  1. 24:20 Matthew 5:38
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Mark 10:13-31

The Pharisees hope to trip Jesus. Instead of taking a side, Jesus goes to the purpose and meaning of marriage: not just from a social but a spiritual perspective.

13 When the crowd gathered again, the people brought their children to see Jesus, hoping that He might grant them His blessing through His touch.

His disciples turned them all away; 14 but when Jesus saw this, He was incensed.

Jesus (to the disciples): Let the children come to Me, and don’t ever stand in their way, for this is what the kingdom of God is all about. 15 Truly anyone who doesn’t accept the kingdom of God as a little child does can never enter it.

16 Jesus gathered the children in His arms, and He laid His hands on them to bless them.

17 When He had traveled on, a young man came and knelt in the dust of the road in front of Jesus.

Young Man: Good Teacher! What must I do to gain life in the world to come?

Jesus: 18 You are calling Me good? Don’t you know that God and God alone is good? 19 Anyway, why ask Me that question? You know the Commandments of Moses: “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not slander, do not defraud, and honor your father and mother.”[a]

Young Man: 20 Yes, Teacher, I have done all these since I was a child.

21 Then Jesus, looking at the young man, saw that he was sincere and responded out of His love for him.

Jesus: Son, there is still one thing you have not done. Go now. Sell everything you have and give the proceeds to the poor so that you will have treasure in heaven. After that, come, follow Me.

22 The young man went away sick at heart at these words because he was very wealthy, 23 and Jesus looked around to see if His disciples were understanding His teaching.

Jesus (to His disciples): Oh, it is hard for people with wealth to find their way into God’s kingdom!

Disciples (amazed): 24 What?

Jesus: You heard Me. How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God [for those who trust in their wealth]![b] 25 I think you’ll see camels squeezing through the eye of a needle before you’ll see the rich celebrating and dancing as they enter into the joy of God’s kingdom!

26 The disciples looked around at each other, whispering.

Disciples (aloud to Jesus): Then who can be liberated?

Jesus (smiling and shaking His head): 27 For human beings it is impossible, but not for God: God makes everything possible.

Peter: 28 Master, we have left behind everything we had to follow You.

Jesus: 29 That is true. And those who have left their houses, their lands, their parents, or their families for My sake, and for the sake of this good news 30 will receive all of this 100 times greater than they have in this time—houses and farms and brothers, sisters, mothers, and children, along with persecutions—and in the world to come, they will receive eternal life. 31 But many of those who are first in this world shall be last in the world to come, and the last, first.

Footnotes:

  1. 10:19 Exodus 20:12–16; Deuteronomy 5:16–20
  2. 10:24 Some manuscripts omit this portion.
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Psalm 44:9-26

But wait, God, where have You gone? Why have You shamed us?
    Why do our armies stand alone?
10 Without Your help we must retreat from our enemy,
    and the very ones who despise us pillage us.
11 You have offered us up to our enemies,
    like sheep to the slaughter, meat for their feast,
    and You have dispersed us among the nations.
12 You sold Your people for mere pennies,
    and You gained nothing from the deal.

13 You have made us a joke to our friends and neighbors,
    mocked and ridiculed by all those around us.
14 You have brought us infamy among the nations
    and made us an object of scorn and laughter to our neighbors.
15 Disgrace follows me everywhere I go; I am constantly embarrassed.
    Shame is written across my face
16 Because of the taunting and berating of those who are against me,
    because the enemy seeks revenge against me.

17 All this has happened to us,
    yet we have never forgotten You;
    we have not broken Your covenant with us.
18 Our hearts stayed true to You;
    we have never left Your path;
    we follow on.
19 Yet You have tested us, left us defeated in a land of jackals,
    and shrouded us with the veil of death.

20 Even if we had forgotten the name of our God
    or offered praise to another god,
21 Would not the True God have known it?
    For He can see the hidden places of our hearts.
22 On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly;
    we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.[a]

23 Wake up, Lord! Why do You slumber?
    Get up! Do not reject us any longer!
24 Why are You still hiding from us?
    Why are You still ignoring our suffering and trouble?
25 Look and You will see our souls now dwell in the dust;
    our bodies hug the earth.
26 Rise up and help us;
    restore us for the sake of Your boundless love.

Footnotes:

  1. 44:22 Romans 8:36
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Proverbs 10:20-21

20 The speech of those who do right is of greater value than the finest silver,
    but the thoughts of wrongdoers are worthless.
21 The right-living teach many,
    but fools die with no clue how to live well.

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The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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