25:1 The Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai: 25:2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land must observe a Sabbath 1 to the Lord. 25:3 Six years you may sow your field, and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather the produce, 2 25:4 but in the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath of complete rest 3 – a Sabbath to the Lord. You must not sow your field or 4 prune your vineyard. 25:5 You must not gather in the aftergrowth of your harvest and you must not pick the grapes of your unpruned 5 vines; the land must have a year of complete rest. 25:6 You may have the Sabbath produce 6 of the land to eat – you, your male servant, your female servant, your hired worker, the resident foreigner who stays with you, 7 25:7 your cattle, and the wild animals that are in your land – all its produce will be for you 8 to eat.
25:8 “‘You must count off 9 seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, 10 and the days of the seven weeks of years will amount to forty-nine years. 11 25:9 You must sound loud horn blasts 12 – in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, on the Day of Atonement – you must sound the horn in your entire land. 25:10 So you must consecrate the fiftieth year, 13 and you must proclaim a release 14 in the land for all its inhabitants. That year will be your jubilee; 15 each one of you must return 16 to his property and each one of you must return to his clan. 25:11 That fiftieth year will be your jubilee; you must not sow the land, harvest its aftergrowth, or pick the grapes of its unpruned vines. 17 25:12 Because that year is a jubilee, it will be holy to you – you may eat its produce 18 from the field.
25:13 “‘In this year of jubilee you must each return 19 to your property. 25:14 If you make a sale 20 to your fellow citizen 21 or buy 22 from your fellow citizen, no one is to wrong his brother. 23 25:15 You may buy it from your fellow citizen according to the number of years since 24 the last jubilee; he may sell it to you according to the years of produce that are left. 25 25:16 The more years there are, 26 the more you may make its purchase price, and the fewer years there are, 27 the less you must make its purchase price, because he is only selling to you a number of years of 28 produce. 25:17 No one is to oppress his fellow citizen, 29 but you must fear your God, because I am the Lord your God. 25:18 You must obey my statutes and my regulations; you must be sure to keep them 30 so that you may live securely in the land. 31
25:19 “‘The land will give its fruit and you may eat until you are satisfied, 32 and you may live securely in the land. 25:20 If you say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not sow and gather our produce?’ 25:21 I will command my blessing for you in the sixth year so that it may yield 33 the produce 34 for three years, 25:22 and you may sow the eighth year and eat from that sixth year’s produce 35 – old produce. Until you bring in the ninth year’s produce, 36 you may eat old produce. 25:23 The land must not be sold without reclaim 37 because the land belongs to me, for you are foreigners and residents with me. 38 25:24 In all your landed property 39 you must provide for the right of redemption of the land. 40
25:25 “‘If your brother becomes impoverished and sells some of his property, his near redeemer is to come to you and redeem what his brother sold. 41 25:26 If a man has no redeemer, but he prospers 42 and gains enough for its redemption, 43 25:27 he is to calculate the value of the years it was sold, 44 refund the balance 45 to the man to whom he had sold it, and return to his property. 25:28 If he has not prospered enough to refund 46 a balance to him, then what he sold 47 will belong to 48 the one who bought it until the jubilee year, but it must revert 49 in the jubilee and the original owner 50 may return to his property.
25:29 “‘If a man sells a residential house in a walled city, 51 its right of redemption must extend 52 until one full year from its sale; 53 its right of redemption must extend to a full calendar year. 54 25:30 If it is not redeemed before the full calendar year is ended, 55 the house in the walled city 56 will belong without reclaim 57 to the one who bought it throughout his generations; it will not revert in the jubilee. 25:31 The houses of villages, however, 58 which have no wall surrounding them 59 must be considered as the field 60 of the land; they will have the right of redemption and must revert in the jubilee. 25:32 As for 61 the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities which they possess, 62 the Levites must have a perpetual right of redemption. 25:33 Whatever someone among the Levites might redeem – the sale of a house which is his property in a city – must revert in the jubilee, 63 because the houses of the cities of the Levites are their property in the midst of the Israelites. 25:34 Moreover, 64 the open field areas of their cities 65 must not be sold, because that is their perpetual possession.
25:35 “‘If your brother 66 becomes impoverished and is indebted to you, 67 you must support 68 him; he must live 69 with you like a foreign resident. 70 25:36 Do not take interest or profit from him, 71 but you must fear your God and your brother must live 72 with you. 25:37 You must not lend him your money at interest and you must not sell him food for profit. 73 25:38 I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan – to be your God. 74
25:39 “‘If your brother becomes impoverished with regard to you so that he sells himself to you, you must not subject him to slave service. 75 25:40 He must be with you as a hired worker, as a resident foreigner; 76 he must serve with you until the year of jubilee, 25:41 but then 77 he may go free, 78 he and his children with him, and may return to his family and to the property of his ancestors. 79 25:42 Since they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt, they must not be sold in a slave sale. 80 25:43 You must not rule over him harshly, 81 but you must fear your God.
25:44 “‘As for your male and female slaves 82 who may belong to you – you may buy male and female slaves from the nations all around you. 83 25:45 Also you may buy slaves 84 from the children of the foreigners who reside with you, and from their families that are 85 with you, whom they have fathered in your land, they may become your property. 25:46 You may give them as inheritance to your children after you to possess as property. You may enslave them perpetually. However, as for your brothers the Israelites, no man may rule over his brother harshly. 86
25:47 “‘If a resident foreigner who is with you prospers 87 and your brother becomes impoverished with regard to him so that 88 he sells himself to a resident foreigner who is with you or to a member 89 of a foreigner’s family, 25:48 after he has sold himself he retains a right of redemption. 90 One of his brothers may redeem him, 25:49 or his uncle or his cousin 91 may redeem him, or anyone of the rest of his blood relatives – his family 92 – may redeem him, or if 93 he prospers he may redeem himself. 25:50 He must calculate with the one who bought him the number of years 94 from the year he sold himself to him until the jubilee year, and the cost of his sale must correspond to the number of years, according to the rate of wages a hired worker would have earned while with him. 95 25:51 If there are still many years, in keeping with them 96 he must refund most of the cost of his purchase for his redemption, 25:52 but if only a few years remain 97 until the jubilee, he must calculate for himself in keeping with the remaining years and refund it for his redemption. 25:53 He must be with the one who bought him 98 like a yearly hired worker. 99 The one who bought him 100 must not rule over him harshly in your sight. 25:54 If, however, 101 he is not redeemed in these ways, he must go free 102 in the jubilee year, he and his children with him, 25:55 because the Israelites are my own servants; 103 they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
[25:3] 2 tn Heb “its produce,” but the feminine pronoun “its” probably refers to the “land” (a feminine noun in Hebrew; cf. v. 2), not the “field” or the “vineyard,” both of which are normally masculine nouns (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 170).
[25:4] 3 tn Heb “and in the seventh year a Sabbath of complete rest shall be to the land.” The expression “a Sabbath of complete rest” is superlative, emphasizing the full and all inclusive rest of the seventh year of the sabbatical cycle. Cf. ASV “a sabbath of solemn rest”; NAB “a complete rest.”
[25:5] 5 tn Heb “consecrated, devoted, forbidden” (נָזִיר, nazir). The same term is used for the “consecration” of the “Nazirite” (and his hair, Num 6:2, 18, etc.), a designation which, in turn, derives from the very same root.
[25:6] 7 tn A “resident who stays” would be a foreign person who was probably residing as another kind of laborer in the household of a landowner (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 170-71). See v. 35 below.
[25:10] 14 tn Cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV “liberty”; TEV, CEV “freedom.” The characteristics of this “release” are detailed in the following verses. For substantial summaries and bibliography on the biblical and ancient Near Eastern material regarding such a “release” see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 427-34, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 270-74.
[25:10] 15 tn Heb “A jubilee that shall be to you.” Although there has been some significant debate about the original meaning of the Hebrew word translated “jubilee” (יוֹבֵל, yovel; see the summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 434), the term most likely means “ram” and can refer also to a “ram’s horn.” The fiftieth year would, therefore, be called the “jubilee” because of the associated sounding of the “ram’s horn” (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 172, and the literature cited there).
[25:14] 22 tn The Hebrew infinitive absolute קָנֹה (qanoh, “buying”) substitutes for the finite verb here in sequence with the previous finite verb “sell” at the beginning of the verse (see GKC 345 §113.z).
[25:15] sn The purchaser is actually buying only the crops that the land will produce until the next jubilee, since the land will revert to the original owner at that time. The purchaser, therefore, is not actually buying the land itself.
[25:18] 30 tn Heb “And you shall keep and do them.” This appears to be a kind of verbal hendiadys, where the first verb is a modifier of the action of the second verb (see GKC 386 §120.d, although שָׁמַר [shamar, “to keep”] is not cited there; cf. Lev 20:8, etc.).
[25:21] 33 tn Heb “and it [i.e., the land] shall make the produce.” The Hebrew term וְעָשָׂת (vÿ’asat, “and it shall make”) is probably an older third feminine singular form of the verb (GKC 210 §75.m). Smr has the normal form.
[25:23] 37 tn The term rendered “without reclaim” means that the land has been bought for the full price and is, therefore, not subject to reclaim under any circumstances. This was not to be done with land in ancient Israel (contrast the final full sale of houses in v. 30; see the evidence cited in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 174).
[25:28] 46 tn Heb “And if his hand has not found sufficiency of returning.” Although some versions take this to mean that he has not made enough to regain the land (e.g., NASB, NRSV; see also B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 176), the combination of terms in Hebrew corresponds to the portion of v. 27 that refers specifically to refunding the money (cf. v. 27; see NIV and G. J. Wenham, Leviticus [NICOT], 315).
[25:28] 48 tn Heb “will be in the hand of.” This refers to the temporary control of the one who purchased its produce until the next year of jubilee, at which time it would revert to the original owner.
[25:33] 63 tn Heb “And which he shall redeem from the Levites shall go out, sale of house and city, his property in the jubilee.” Although the end of this verse is clear, the first part is notoriously difficult. There are five main views. (1) The first clause of the verse actually attaches to the previous verse, and refers to the fact that their houses retain a perpetual right of redemption (v. 32b), “which any of the Levites may exercise” (v. 33a; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 418, 421). (2) It refers to property that one Levite sells to another Levite, which is then redeemed by still another Levite (v. 33a). In such cases, the property reverts to the original Levite owner in the jubilee year (v. 33b; G. J. Wenham, Leviticus [NICOT], 321). (3) It refers to houses in a city that had come to be declared as a Levitical city but had original non-Levitical owners. Once the city was declared to belong to the Levites, however, an owner could only sell his house to a Levite, and he could only redeem it back from a Levite up until the time of the first jubilee after the city was declared to be a Levitical city. In this case the first part of the verse would be translated, “Such property as may be redeemed from the Levites” (NRSV, NJPS). At the first jubilee, however, all such houses became the property of the Levites (v. 33b; P. J. Budd, Leviticus [NCBC], 353). (4) It refers to property “which is appropriated from the Levites” (not “redeemed from the Levites,” v. 33a) by those who have bought it or taken it as security for debts owed to them by Levites who had fallen on bad times. Again, such property reverts back to the original Levite owners at the jubilee (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 177). (5) It simply refers to the fact that a Levite has the option of redeeming his house (i.e., the prefix form of the verb is taken to be subjunctive, “may or might redeem”), which he had to sell because he had fallen into debt or perhaps even become destitute. Even if he never gained the resources to do so, however, it would still revert to him in the jubilee year. The present translation is intended to reflect this latter view.
[25:35] 66 tn It is not clear to whom this refers. It is probably broader than “sibling” (cf. NRSV “any of your kin”; NLT “any of your Israelite relatives”) but some English versions take it to mean “fellow Israelite” (so TEV; cf. NAB, NIV “countrymen”) and others are ambiguous (cf. CEV “any of your people”).
[25:35] 69 tn The form וָחַי (vakhay, “and shall live”) looks like the adjective “living,” but the MT form is simply the same verb written as a double ayin verb (see HALOT 309 s.v. חיה qal, and GKC 218 §76.i; cf. Lev 18:5).
[25:36] 71 tn The meaning of the terms rendered “interest” and “profit” is much debated (see the summaries in P. J. Budd, Leviticus [NCBC], 354-55 and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 178). Verse 37, however, suggests that the first refers to a percentage of money and the second percentage of produce (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 421).