The Seventh Year
The Year of Celebration
- 1 When Moses was on Mount Sinai,
the Lord told him 2 to say to the community of Israel:
- After you enter the land that I am
giving you, it must be allowed to rest one year out of every
seven. 3 You may raise grain and grapes for six years, 4 but
the seventh year you must let your fields and vineyards rest
in honor of me, your Lord. 5 This is to be a time of complete
rest for your fields and vineyards, so dont harvest anything
they produce. 6 However, you and your slaves and your hired workers,
as well as any domestic or wild animals, may eat whatever grows
on its own.
Help for the Poor
- The Lord said to his people:
- 8 Once every forty-nine years
9 on the tenth day of the seventh month, which is also the Great
Day of Forgiveness, trumpets are to be blown everywhere in the
land. 10 This fiftieth year is sacredit is a time of freedom
and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original
property, and slaves will return home to their families. 11 This
is a year of complete celebration, so dont plant any seed
or harvest what your fields or vineyards produce. 12 In this
time of sacred celebration you may eat only what grows on its
this year, all property must go back to its original owner. 14
So when you buy or sell farmland, the price is to be determined
by the number of crops it can produce before the next Year of
Celebration. Dont try to cheat. 16 If it is a long time
before the next Year of Celebration, the price will be higher,
because what is really being sold are the crops that the land
can produce. 17 I am the Lord your God, so obey me and dont
18 If you obey my laws and teachings,
you will live safely in the land and enjoy its abundant crops.
20 Dont ever worry about what you will eat during the seventh
year when you are forbidden to plant or harvest. 21 I will see
to it that you harvest enough in the sixth year to last for three
years. 22 In the eighth year you will live on what you harvested
in the sixth year, but in the ninth year you will eat what you
plant and harvest in the eighth year.
23 No land may be permanently
bought or sold. It all belongs to meit isnt your
land, and you only live there for a little while.
24 When property is being sold,
the original owner must be given the first chance to buy it.
25 If any of you Israelites become
so poor that you are forced to sell your property, your closest
relative must buy it back, 26 if that relative has the money.
Later, if you can afford to buy it, 27 you must pay enough to
make up for what the present owner will lose on it before the
next Year of Celebration, when the property would become yours
again. 28 But if you dont have the money to pay the present
owner a fair price, you will have to wait until the Year of Celebration,
when the property will once again become yours.
29 If you sell a house in a walled
city, you have only one year in which to buy it back. 30 If you
dont buy it back before that year is up, it becomes the
permanent property of the one who bought it, and it will not
be returned to you in the Year of Celebration. 31 But a house
out in a village may be bought back at any time just like a field.
And it must be returned to its original owner in the Year of
Celebration. 32 If any Levites own houses inside a walled city,
they will always have the right to buy them back. 33 And any
houses that they do not buy back will be returned to them in
the Year of Celebration, because these homes are their permanent
property among the people of Israel. 34 No pastureland owned
by the Levi tribe can ever be sold; it is their permanent possession.
- The Lord said:
- 35 If any of your people become
poor and unable to support themselves, you must help them, just
as you are supposed to help foreigners who live among you. 36
Dont take advantage of them by charging any kind of interest
or selling them food for profit. Instead, honor me by letting
them stay where they now live. 38 RememberI am the Lord
your God! I rescued you from Egypt and gave you the land of Canaan,
so that I would be your God.
39 Suppose some of your
people become so poor that they have to sell themselves and become
your slaves. 40 Then you must treat them as
servants, rather than as slaves. And in the Year of Celebration
they are to be set free, 41 so they and their children may return
home to their families and property. 42 I brought them out of
Egypt to be my servants, not to be sold as slaves. 43 So obey
me, and dont be cruel to the poor.
44 If you want slaves, buy them from
other nations 45 or from the foreigners who live in your own
country, and make them your property. 46 You
can own them, and even leave them to your children when you die,
but do not make slaves of your own people or be cruel to them.
47 Even if some of you Israelites become
so much in debt that you must sell yourselves to foreigners in
your country, 48 you still have the right to be set free by a
relative, such as a brother 49 or uncle or cousin, or some other
family member. In fact, if you ever get enough money, you may
buy your own freedom 50 by paying your owner for the number of
years you would still be a slave before the next Year of Celebration.
51 The longer the time until then, the more you will have to
pay. 53 And even while you are the slaves of foreigners in your
own country, your people must make sure that you are not mistreated.
54 If you cannot gain your freedom in any of these ways, both
you and your children will still be set free in the Year of Celebration.
55 People of Israel, I am the Lord your God, and I brought you
out of Egypt to be my own servants.
The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary