On page one of the Bible, God orders a beautiful world out of chaotic darknes...
1The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2“Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you, the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits; 4but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6The sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired servant and the sojourner who lives with you; 7for your cattle also and for the beasts that are in your land all its yield shall be for food.
8“And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9Then you shall send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. 10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family. 11A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you; in it you shall neither sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. 12For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat what it yields out of the field.
13“In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. 14And if you sell to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. 15According to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years for crops he shall sell to you. 16If the years are many you shall increase the price, and if the years are few you shall diminish the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you. 17You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.
18“Therefore you shall do my statutes, and keep my ordinances and perform them; so you will dwell in the land securely. 19The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell in it securely. 20And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ 21I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, so that it will bring forth fruit for three years. 22When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating old produce; until the ninth year, when its produce comes in, you shall eat the old. 23The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the country you possess, you shall grant a redemption of the land.
25“If your brother becomes poor, and sells part of his property, then his next of kin shall come and redeem what his brother has sold. 26If a man has no one to redeem it, and then himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it, 27let him reckon the years since he sold it and pay back the overpayment to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28But if he has not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.
29“If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a whole year after its sale; for a full year he shall have the right of redemption. 30If it is not redeemed within a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him who bought it, throughout his generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. 31But the houses of the villages which have no wall around them shall be reckoned with the fields of the country; they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the jubilee. 32Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. 33And if one of the Levites does not exercise his right of redemption, then the house that was sold in a city of their possession shall be released in the jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the people of Israel. 34But the fields of common land belonging to their cities may not be sold; for that is their perpetual possession.
35“And if your brother becomes poor, and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall maintain him; as a stranger and a sojourner he shall live with you. 36Take no interest from him or increase, but fear your God; that your brother may live beside you. 37You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. 38I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.
39“And if your brother becomes poor beside you, and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: 40he shall be with you as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee; 41then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own family, and return to the possession of his fathers. 42For they are my servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. 43You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God. 44As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are round about you. 45You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a possession for ever; you may make slaves of them, but over your brethren the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness.
47“If a stranger or sojourner with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him becomes poor and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, 48then after he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his brothers may redeem him, 49or his uncle, or his cousin may redeem him, or a near kinsman belonging to his family may redeem him; or if he grows rich he may redeem himself. 50He shall reckon with him who bought him from the year when he sold himself to him until the year of jubilee, and the price of his release shall be according to the number of years; the time he was with his owner shall be rated as the time of a hired servant. 51If there are still many years, according to them he shall refund out of the price paid for him the price for his redemption. 52If there remain but a few years until the year of jubilee, he shall make a reckoning with him; according to the years of service due from him he shall refund the money for his redemption. 53As a servant hired year by year shall he be with him; he shall not rule with harshness over him in your sight. 54And if he is not redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the year of jubilee, he and his children with him. 55For to me the people of Israel are servants, they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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