Leviticus 25 (New International Reader's Version)

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The Sabbath Year

1 The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He said, 2 "Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, 'You will enter the land I am going to give you. When you do, you must honor me every seventh year by not farming the land that year. 3 " 'For six years plant your fields. Trim the branches in your vineyards and gather your crops. 4 " 'But the seventh year must be a sabbath for the land. The land must rest during it. It is a sabbath year in my honor. Do not plant your fields. Do not trim the branches in your vineyards. 5 Do not gather what grows without being planted. And do not gather the grapes from the vines you have not taken care of. The land must have a year of rest. 6 " 'Anything the land produces during the sabbath year will be food for you. It will be for you and your male and female servants. Your hired workers will eat it. So will people who live with you for a while. 7 And so will your livestock and the wild animals that are in your land. Anything the land produces can be eaten.

The Year of Jubilee

8 " 'Count off seven sabbaths of years. Count off seven times seven years. The seven sabbaths of years add up to a total of 49 years. 9 The tenth day of the seventh month is the day when sin is paid for. On that day blow the trumpet all through your land. 10 " 'Set the 50th year apart. Announce freedom all over the land to everyone who lives there. The 50th year will be a Year of Jubilee for you. Each of you must return to your own family property. And each of you must return to your own tribe. 11 " 'The 50th year will be a Year of Jubilee for you. Do not plant anything. Do not gather what grows without being planted. And do not gather the grapes from the vines you have not taken care of. 12 It is a Year of Jubilee. It will be holy for you. Eat only what the fields produce. 13 " 'In the Year of Jubilee all of you must return to your own property. 14 " 'Suppose you sell land to one of your own people. Or you buy land from him. Then do not take advantage of each other. 15 The price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last Year of Jubilee. And the price you charge must be based on the number of years left for gathering crops before the next Year of Jubilee. 16 " 'When there are many years left, you must raise the price. When there are only a few years left, you must lower the price. That is because what the man is really selling you is the number of crops the land will produce. 17 Do not take advantage of each other. Instead, have respect for me. I am the LORD your God. 18 " 'Follow my rules. Be careful to obey my laws. Then you will live safely in the land. 19 The land will produce its fruit. You will eat as much as you want. And you will live there in safety. 20 " 'Suppose you say, "In the seventh year we will not plant anything or gather our crops. So what will we eat?" 21 I will send you a great blessing in the sixth year. The land will produce enough for three years. 22 While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat food from the old crop. You will continue to eat food from it until the crops from the ninth year are gathered. 23 " 'The land must not be sold without a way of getting it back. That is because it belongs to me. You are only outsiders who rent my land. 24 You must make sure that you can buy the land back. That applies to all of the land that belongs to you. 25 " 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he has to sell some of his land. Then his nearest relative must come and buy back what he has sold. 26 " 'But suppose he does not have anyone to buy it back for him. And suppose things go well for him and he earns enough money to buy it back himself. 27 Then he must decide how much the crops have become worth since the time he sold the land. He must take that amount off the price the land was sold for. He must give the man who is selling it back to him the money that is left. Then he can go back to his own property. 28 " 'But suppose he has not earned enough money to pay the man back. Then the buyer he sold the land to will keep it until the Year of Jubilee. At that time it will be returned to him. Then he can go back to his property. 29 " 'Suppose a man sells a house in a city that has a wall around it. Then for a full year after he sells it he has the right to buy it back. 30 " 'But suppose he does not buy it back before the full year has passed. Then the house in the walled city will continue to belong to the buyer and his children after him. It will not be returned to the seller in the Year of Jubilee. 31 " 'But houses in villages that do not have walls around them must be treated like property outside walled cities. Those houses can be bought back at any time. And they must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. 32 " 'The Levites always have the right to buy back their houses in the towns that belong to them. 33 So their property among the people of Israel can be bought back. That applies to a house that is sold in any of their towns. Any house that is sold must be returned to its original owner in the Year of Jubilee. That is because the houses of the Levites will always belong to them. 34 " 'But the grasslands around their towns must never be sold. They will belong to them for all time to come. 35 " 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he can't take care of himself. Then help him just as you would help an outsider or someone who is living among you for a while. In that way, the man who is poor can continue to live among you. 36 " 'Do not charge him interest of any kind. Instead, have respect for me. Then the man who has become poor can continue to live among you. 37 If you lend him money, you must not charge him interest. And you must not sell him food for more than it cost you. 38 " 'I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. I did it to give you the land of Canaan. I wanted to be your God. 39 " 'Suppose one of your own people becomes poor. And suppose he sells himself to you. Then do not make him work as a slave. 40 You must treat him like a hired worker. Or you must treat him like someone who is living among you for a while. " 'He must work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then he and his children must be set free. He will go back to his own tribe. He will go back to the property his people have always owned. 42 " 'The people of Israel are my servants. I brought them out of Egypt. So they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Show them pity when you rule over them. Have respect for me. 44 " 'You must get your male and female slaves from the nations that are around you. You can buy slaves from them. 45 You can buy as slaves some of the people who are living among you for a while. You can also buy members of their families who were born among you. They will become your property. 46 You can leave them to your children as their share of your property. You can make them slaves for life. But when you rule over your own people, you must be kind to them. 47 " 'Suppose an outsider or someone who is living among you for a while becomes rich. Then suppose one of your own people becomes poor. He sells himself to the outsider who is living among you. Or he sells himself to a member of the outsider's family. 48 Then he keeps the right to buy himself back after he has sold himself. One of his relatives can buy him back. 49 An uncle or a cousin can buy himself back after he has sold himself. In fact, any relative in his tribe can do it. Or suppose things go well for him. Then he can buy himself back. 50 " 'He and his buyer must count the number of years from the time of the sale up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for his freedom must be based on the amount that is paid to a hired man for that number of years. 51 " 'Suppose there are many years until the Year of Jubilee. Then for his freedom he must pay a larger share of the price that was paid for him. 52 But suppose there are only a few years left until the Year of Jubilee. Then he must count the number of years that are left. The payment for his freedom must be based on that number. 53 " 'He must be treated as if he had been hired from year to year. You must make sure that his owner is kind to him when he rules over him. 54 " 'Suppose he is not bought back in any of those ways. Then he and his children must still be set free in the Year of Jubilee. 55 That is because the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants. I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD their God.
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