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Leviticus 25 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Time of Rest for the Land

25 The Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai. He said, “Tell the people of Israel this: ‘I will give you land. When you enter it, let it have a special time of rest. This will be to honor the Lord. You may plant seed in your field for six years. You may trim your vineyards for six years and bring in their fruits. But during the seventh year, you must let the land rest. This will be a special time to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim your vineyards. You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after harvest. You must not gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest.

“‘You may eat whatever the land produces during that year of rest. It will be food for your men and women servants. It will be food for your hired workers and the foreigners living in your country. It will also be food for your cattle and the wild animals of your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.

The Year of Jubilee

“‘Count off seven groups of 7 years. This will be 49 years. During that time there will be 7 years of rest for the land. On the Day of Cleansing, you must blow the horn of a male sheep. This will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. 10 Make the fiftieth year a special year. Announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee.[a] Each of you will go back to his own property. And each of you will go back to his own family and family group. 11 The fiftieth year will be a special time for you to celebrate. Don’t plant seeds. Don’t harvest the crops that grow by themselves. Don’t gather grapes from the vines that are not trimmed. 12 That year is Jubilee. It will be a holy time for you. You may eat the crops that come from the field. 13 In 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. 15 You might want to buy your neighbor’s land. If you do, count the number of years since the last Jubilee. Use that number to decide the right price. If he sells the land to you, count the number of years left for harvesting crops. Use that number to decide the right price. 16 If there are many years, the price will be high. If there are only a few years, lower the price. This is because your neighbor is really selling only a few crops to you. At the next Jubilee the land will again belong to his family. 17 You must not cheat each other. You respect your God. I am the Lord your God.

18 “‘Remember my laws and rules, and obey them. Then you will live safely in the land. 19 The land will give good crops to you. You will eat as much as you want. And you will live safely in the land.

20 “‘But you might ask, “If we don’t plant seeds or gather crops, what will we eat the seventh year?” 21 Don’t worry. I will send you a great blessing during the sixth year. That year the land will produce enough crops for 3 years. 22 When you plant in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop. You will eat the old crop until the harvest of the ninth year.

Property Laws

23 “‘The land really belongs to me. So you can’t sell it forever. You are only foreigners and travelers living for a time on my land. 24 People might sell their land. But the family will always get its land back. 25 A person in your country might become very poor. He might be so poor that he must sell his land. So his close relatives must come and buy it back for him. 26 A person might not have a close relative to buy back his land for him. But he might get enough money to buy it back himself. 27 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 may buy it back. And the land will be his again. 28 But he might not find enough money to buy it back for himself. Then the one who bought it will keep it until the year of Jubilee. But during that celebration, the land will go back to the first owner’s family.

29 “‘Someone may sell a home in a walled city. But, for a full year after he sold it, he has the right to buy it back. 30 But the owner might not buy back the house before a full year is over. If he doesn’t, the house in the walled city will belong to the one who bought it. It will belong to his future sons. The house will not go back to the first owner at Jubilee. 31 But houses in small towns without walls are like open country. They can be bought back. And they must be returned to their first owner at Jubilee.

32 “‘The Levites may always buy back their houses. This is true in the cities which belong to them. 33 Someone might buy a house from a Levite. But that house in the Levites’ city will again belong to the Levites in the Jubilee. This is because houses in Levite cities belong to the people of Levi. The people of Israel gave these cities to the Levites. 34 Also the fields and pastures around the Levites’ cities cannot be sold. Those fields belong to the Levites forever.

Rules for Slave Owners

35 “‘Someone from your country might become too poor to support himself. Help him to live among you as you would a stranger or foreigner. 36 Do not charge him any interest on money you loan to him. Respect your God. And let the poor man live among you. 37 Don’t lend him money for interest. Don’t try to make a profit from the food he buys. 38 I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt. I did it to give the land of Canaan to you and to become your God.

39 “‘Someone from your country might become very poor. He might even sell himself as a slave to you. If he does, you must not make him work like a slave. 40 He will be like a hired worker. And he will be like a visitor with you until the year of Jubilee. 41 Then he may leave you. He may take his children and go back to his family and the land of his ancestors. 42 This is because the Israelites are my servants. I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They must not become slaves again. 43 You must not rule this person cruelly. You must respect your God.

44 “‘You may buy men and women slaves from other nations around you. 45 Also you may buy children as slaves. These children must come from the families of foreigners living in your land. These child slaves will belong to you. 46 You may even pass these foreign slaves on to your children after you die. You can make them slaves forever. But you must not rule cruelly over your own brothers, the Israelites.

47 “‘A foreigner or visitor among you might become rich. And someone in your country might become poor. The poor man might sell himself as a slave to a foreigner living among you. Or he might sell himself to a member of a foreigner’s family. 48 The poor man has the right to be bought back and become free. One of his relatives may buy him back. 49 His uncle or his uncle’s son may buy him back. One of his close relatives may buy him back. Or if he gets enough money, he may pay the money himself. Then he will be free again.

50 “‘How do you decide the price? You must count the years from the time he sold himself to the foreigner. And count up to the next year of Jubilee. Use that number to decide the price. This is because the person really only hired himself out for a certain number of years. 51 There might still be many years before the year of Jubilee. If so, the person must pay back a large part of the price. 52 There might only be a few years left until Jubilee. If so, the person must pay a small part of the first price. 53 But he will live like a hired man with the foreigner every year. Don’t let the foreigner rule cruelly over him.

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. 55 This is because the people of Israel are my servants. I brought them out of slavery in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Footnotes:

  1. 25:10 Jubilee This word comes from the Hebrew word for a horn of a male sheep.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

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