Leviticus 25

1The Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai. The Lord said, 2“Tell the people of Israel: You will enter the land that I am giving to you. At that time, you must let the land have a special time of rest. This will be a special time of rest to honor the Lord. 3You will plant ˻seed˼ in your field for six years. You will trim the plants in your grape fields for six years and bring in its fruits. 4But during the seventh year, you will let the land rest. This will be a special time of rest to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim the plants in your grape fields. 5You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after your harvest. You must not gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest. 6“˻The land will have a year of rest,˼ but you will still have enough food. There will be enough food for your men and women servants. There will be food for your hired workers and for the foreigners living in your country. 7And there will be enough food for your cows and other animals to eat. 8“You will also count seven groups of seven years. This will be 49 years. During that time, there will be seven years of rest for the land. 9On the Day of Atonement, you must blow a ram’s horn. That will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the ram’s horn through the whole country. 10You will make the 50th year a special year. You will announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called 'Jubilee.’ Each of you will go back to his own property. And each of you will go back to his family. 11The 50th year will be a special celebration for you. Don’t plant seeds. Don’t harvest the crops that grow by themselves. Don’t gather grapes from the vines that are not trimmed. 12That year is Jubilee. It will be a holy time for you. You will eat the crops that come from the field. 13In the year of Jubilee, each person will go back to his own property. 14“Don’t cheat your neighbor when you sell your land to him. And don’t let him cheat you when you buy land from him. 15If you want to buy your neighbor’s land, then count the number of years since the last Jubilee, ˻and use that number to decide the right price˼. Why? Because he is really only selling you the rights for harvesting crops ˻until the next Jubilee˼. 16If there are many years ˻before the next Jubilee˼, then the price will be high. If the years are few, then the price will be lower. Why? Because your neighbor is really only selling a number of crops to you. ˻At the next Jubilee the land will again belong to his family.˼ 17You must not cheat each other. You must honor your God! I am the Lord your God! 18“Remember my laws and rules. Obey them! Then you will live safely in your country. 19And the land will produce good crops for you. Then you will have plenty of food and you will live safely on the land. 20“But maybe you will say, 'If we don’t plant seeds or gather our crops, we will not have anything to eat during the seventh year.’ 21˻Don’t worry!˼ I will order my blessing to come to you during the sixth year. The land will continue growing crops for three years. 22When you plant in the eighth year, you will still be eating things from the old crop. You will eat the old crop until the ninth year, when the crop ˻you planted in the eighth year˼ comes in. 23“The land really belongs to me. So you can’t really sell it permanently. You are only foreigners and travelers living ˻on my land˼ with me. 24People might sell their land, but the family will always get their land back. 25A person in your country might become very poor. He might be so poor that he must sell his property. So his close relative must come and buy back the property for his relative. 26A person might not have a close relative to buy back his land for him. But he might get enough money to buy back the land for himself. 27Then he must count the years since the land was sold. ˻He must use that number to decide how much to pay for the land.˼ Then he must buy back the land. Then the land will be his property again. 28But if this person can’t find enough money to get the land back for himself, then what he has sold will stay in the hands of the person who bought it until the year of Jubilee. Then during that special celebration, the land will go back ˻to the first owner’s family˼. So the property will again belong to the right family. 29“If a person sells a home in a walled city, then he still has the right to get it back until a full year after he sold the house. His right to get the house back will continue one year. 30But if ˻the owner does not˼ buy back the house before a full year is finished, then the house that is in the walled city will belong to the person who bought it, and to his descendants. The house will not go back ˻to the first owner˼ at the time of Jubilee. 31Towns without walls around them will be treated like open fields. So houses built in those small towns will go back to the first owners at the time of Jubilee. 32“But about the cities of the Levites: The Levites can buy back their houses at any time in the cities that belong to them. 33If a person buys a house from a Levite, that house in the Levites’ city will again belong to the Levites at the time of Jubilee. Why? Because houses in Levite cities belong to people from the family group of Levi. The people of Israel gave those cities to the Levite people. 34Also, the fields and pastures around the Levite cities can’t be sold. Those fields belong to the Levites forever. 35“Maybe a person from your own country will become too poor to support himself. You must let him live with you like a visitor. 36Don’t charge him any interest ˻on money you might loan to him˼. Respect your God, and let your brother live with you. 37Don’t charge him interest on any money you lend him. And don’t try to make a profit from the food you sell him. 38I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt to give the land of Canaan to you and to become your God. 39“Maybe a person from your own country will become so poor that he sells himself as a slave to you. You must not make him work like a slave. 40He will be like a hired worker and a visitor with you until the year of Jubilee. 41Then he can leave you. He can take his children and go back to his family. He can go back to the property of his ancestors. 42Why? Because they are my servants! I brought them out ˻of slavery˼ in Egypt. They must not become slaves ˻again˼. 43You must not be a cruel master to this person. You must respect your God. 44“About your men and women slaves: You may get men and women slaves from the other nations around you. 45Also, you may get children as slaves if they come from the families of the foreigners living in your land. Those children slaves will belong to you. 46You may even pass these foreign slaves on to your children after you die so that they will belong to your children. They will be your slaves forever. You may make slaves of these foreigners. But you must not be a cruel master over your own brothers, the people of Israel. 47“Maybe a foreigner or visitor among you will become rich. Maybe a person from your own country will become poor, so that he sells himself as a slave to a foreigner living among you or to a member of a foreigner’s family. 48That person will have the right to be bought back ˻and become free˼. One of his brothers can buy him back. 49Or his uncle or his cousin can buy him back. Or one of his close relatives from his family can buy him back. Or if the person gets enough money, he can pay the money himself ˻and become free again˼. 50“How do you decide the price? You must count the years from the time he sold himself to the foreigner up to the next year of Jubilee. Use that number to decide the price. Why? Because really the person only 'hired’ him for a few years! 51If there are still many years ˻before the year of Jubilee˼, then the person must give back a large part of the price. It all depends on the numbers of years. 52If only a few years are left until the year of Jubilee, then the person must pay a small part of the original price. 53But that person will live like a hired man with the foreigner every year. Don’t let the foreigner be a cruel master over that person. 54“That person will become free, even if no one buys him back. At the year of Jubilee he and his children will become free. 55Why? Because the people of Israel are my servants. They are the servants that I brought out of ˻slavery in˼ Egypt. I am the Lord your God!

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