Behar-Bechukotai    Lesson 29
    Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34 

Leviticus 25   (Torah Portion Behar Bechukotai)

The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Once you enter the land that I am giving you, the land must celebrate a sabbath rest to the Lord. You will plant your fields for six years, and prune your vineyards and gather their crops for six years. But in the seventh year the land will have a special sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord: You must not plant your fields or prune your vineyards. You must not harvest the secondary growth of your produce or gather the grapes of your freely growing vines. It will be a year of special rest for the land. Whatever the land produces during its sabbath will be your food—for you, for your male and female servants, and for your hired laborers and foreign guests who live with you, as well as for your livestock and for the wild animals in your land. All of the land’s produce can be eaten.

Count off seven weeks of years—that is, seven times seven—so that the seven weeks of years totals forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet blown on the tenth day of the seventh month. Have the trumpet blown throughout your land on the Day of Reconciliation. 10 You will make the fiftieth year holy, proclaiming freedom throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a Jubilee year for you: each of you must return to your family property and to your extended family. 11 The fiftieth year will be a Jubilee year for you. Do not plant, do not harvest the secondary growth, and do not gather from the freely growing vines 12 because it is a Jubilee: it will be holy to you. You can eat only the produce directly out of the field. 13 Each of you must return to your family property in this year of Jubilee.

14 When you sell something to or buy something from your fellow citizen, you must not cheat each other. 15 You will buy from your fellow citizen according to the number of years since the Jubilee; he will sell to you according to the number of years left for harvests.16 You will raise the price if there are more years, or lower the price if there are less years because it is the number of harvests that are being sold to you. 17 You must not cheat each other but fear your God because I am the Lord your God. 18 You will observe my rules, and you will keep my regulations and do them so that you can live securely on the land.

19 The land will give its fruit so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it. 20 Suppose you ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we don’t plant or gather our crops then?” 21 I will send my blessing on you in the sixth year so that it will make enough produce for three years. 22 You can plant again in the eighth year and eat food from the previous year’s produce until the ninth year. Until its produce comes, you will eat the food from the previous year.

23 The land must not be permanently sold because the land is mine. You are just immigrants and foreign guests of mine.

24 Throughout the whole land that you possess, you must allow for the land to be bought back. 25 When one of your fellow Israelites faces financial difficulty and must sell part of their family property, the closest relative will come and buy back what their fellow Israelite has sold. 26 If the person doesn’t have someone to buy it back, but then manages to afford buying it back, 27 they must calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the person to whom they sold it. Then it will go back to the family property. 28 If they cannot afford to make a refund to the buyer, whatever was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Jubilee year. It will be released in the Jubilee year, at which point it will return to the family property.

29 When a person sells a home in a walled city, it may be bought back until a year after its sale. The period for buying it back will be one year. 30 If it is not bought back before a full year has passed, the house in the walled city will belong to the buyer permanently and their descendants forever. It will not be released at the Jubilee. 31 But houses in settlements that are unwalled will be considered as if they were country fields. They can be bought back, and they must be released at the Jubilee.

32 Levites will always have the right to buy back homes in the levitical cities that are part of their family property. 33 Levite property that can be bought back—houses sold in a city that is their family property—must be released at the Jubilee, because homes in levitical cities are the Levites’ family property among the Israelites. 34 But the pastureland around their cities cannot be sold, because that is their permanent family property.

35 If one of your fellow Israelites faces financial difficulty and is in a shaky situation with you, you must assist them as you would an immigrant or foreign guest so that they can survive among you. 36 Do not take interest from them, or any kind of profit from interest, but fear your God so that your fellow Israelite can survive among you. 37 Do not lend a poor Israelite money with interest or lend food at a profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt to give you Canaan’s land and to be your God.

39 If one of your fellow Israelites faces financial difficulty with you and sells themselves to you, you must not make him work as a slave. 40 Instead, they will be like a hired laborer or foreign guest to you. They will work for you until the Jubilee year, 41 at which point the poor Israelite along with their children will be released from you. They can return to their extended family and to their family property. 42 You must do this because these people are my servants—I brought them out of Egypt’s land. They must not be sold as slaves.43 You will not harshly rule over them but must fear your God.

44 Regarding male or female slaves that you are allowed to have: You can buy a male or a female slave from the nations that are around you. 45 You can also buy them from the foreign guests who live with you and from their extended families that are with you, who were born in your land. These can belong to you as property. 46 You can pass them on to your children as inheritance that they can own as permanent property. You can make these people work as slaves, but you must not rule harshly over your own people, the Israelites.

47 If an immigrant or foreign guest prospers financially among you, but your fellow Israelite faces financial difficulty and so sells themselves to the immigrant or foreign guest, or to a descendant of a foreigner, 48 the Israelite will have the right to be bought back after they sold themselves. One of their relatives can buy them back: 49 their uncle or cousin can buy them back; one of their blood relatives from their family can buy them back; or they may be able to afford their own purchase. 50 The Israelite will calculate with their owner the time from the year they were sold until the Jubilee year. The price of their release will be based on the number of years they were with the owner, as in the case of a hired laborer.51 If there are many years left before the Jubilee, the Israelite will pay for their purchase in proportion to their purchase price. 52 If only a few years are left, they will calculate that and pay for their purchase according to the years of service. 53 Regardless, the Israelite will be to the buyer like a yearly laborer; the buyer must not harshly rule over them in your sight. 54 If the Israelite is not bought back in one of these ways, they and their children must be released in the Jubilee year 55 because the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants—I brought them out of Egypt’s land; I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 26   (Torah Portion Behar Bechukotai)

You must not make any idols, and do not set up any divine image or sacred pillar. You must not place any carved stone in your land, bowing down to it, because I am the Lord your God. You must keep my sabbaths and respect my sanctuary; I am the Lord.

If you live according to my rules, keep my commands, and do them, I will give you rain at the proper time, the land will produce its yield, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will last until the grape harvest, and the grape harvest will last until planting time. You will eat your fill of food and live securely in your land. I will grant peace in the land so that you can lie down without anyone frightening you. I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword will pass through it. You will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you in battle. Five of you will chase away a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase away ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you in battle. I will turn my face to you, will make you fruitful and numerous, and will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating the previous year’s harvest when the time will come to clear it out to make room for the new! 11 I will place my dwellingamong you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk around among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt’s land—who brought you out from being Egypt’s slaves. I broke your bonds and made you stand up straight.

14 But if you do not obey me and do not carry out all these commands— 15 if you reject my rules and despise my regulations, not doing all my commands and breaking my covenant— 16 then I will do the following to you:

I will bring horrific things: wasting diseases and fevers that make the eyes fail and drain life away.

You will plant seed for no reason because your enemies will eat the food.

17 I will turn my face against you: you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you; and you will run away even when no one is chasing you.

18 If, despite all that, you still do not obey me, I will punish you for your sins seven more times: 19 I will destroy your prideful power. I will turn your sky to iron and your land to bronze 20 so that your strength will be spent for no reason: your land will not produce its yield, and the trees of the land won’t produce their fruit.

21 If you continue to oppose me and are unwilling to obey me, I will strike you for your sins seven more times: 22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will kill your children and destroy your livestock. They will make you so few in number that your roads will seem deserted.

23 If, despite these things, you still do not accept my discipline and continue to oppose me, 24 then I will continue to oppose you. I will strike you for your sins seven more times: 25 I will bring the sword against you, avenging the breaking of the covenant. If you retreat into your cities, I will send a plague on you, and you will be handed over to the enemy.26 When I destroy your food supply, ten women will bake bread in a single oven, and they will ration out bread by weight. You will eat but will never get full.

27 If, despite all this, you still do not obey me and continue to oppose me, 28 then I will continue to oppose you—with anger! I will punish you for your sins seven more times: 29 You will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will eliminate your shrines, chop down your incense altars, and pile your dead bodies on the dead bodies of your idols. I will despise you. 31 I will turn your cities into ruins, I will devastate your sanctuaries, and I will not smell the soothing smells of your offerings. 32 I will personally devastate the land so much that your enemies who resettle it will be astonished by it. 33 I will scatter you among the nations. I will unsheathe my sword against you. Your land will be devastated and your cities will be ruins.

34 At that time, while it is devastated and you are in enemy territory, the land will enjoy its sabbaths. At that time, the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 During the whole time it is devastated, it will have the rest it didn’t have during the sabbaths you lived in it.

36 I will bring despair into the hearts of those of you who survive in enemy territory. Just the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to running, and they will run scared as if running from a sword! They will fall even when no one is chasing them! 37 They will stumble over each other as they would before a sword, even though no one is chasing them! You will have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 You will disappear among the nations—the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Any of you who do survive will rot in enemy territory on account of their guilty deeds. And they will rot too on account of their ancestors’ guilty deeds.

40 But if they confess their and their ancestors’ guilt for the wrongdoing they did to me, and for their continued opposition to me— 41 which made me oppose them, so I took them into enemy territory—or if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make up for their guilt, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob. I will also remember my covenant with Isaac. And my covenant with Abraham. And I will remember the land. 43 The land will be absent of them and will be enjoying its sabbaths while it lies devastated, free of them. They will be making up for their guilty deeds for no other reason than the fact that they rejected my regulations and despised my rules. 44 But despite all that, when they are in enemy territory, I will not reject them or despise them to the point of totally destroying them, breaking my covenant with them by doing so, because I am the Lord their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with the first generation, the ones I brought out of Egypt’s land in the sight of all the nations, in order to be their God; I am the Lord.

46 These are the rules, regulations, and instructions between the Lord and the Israelites that he gave through Moses on Mount Sinai.

Leviticus 27   (Torah Portion Behar Bechukotai)

The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When a person makes a solemn promise to the Lord involving the value of a person, if it is the value for a male between 20 and 60 years old, his value is fifty silver shekels according to the sanctuary’s shekel. If the person is a female, her value is thirty shekels. If the age of the person is between 5 and 20 years, the value for a male is twenty shekels, for a female ten shekels. If the age of the person is between one month and 5 years, the value for a male is five silver shekels, for a female three silver shekels. If the age of the person is 60 years or more, the value is fifteen shekels if the person is male, ten shekels for a female. But if financial difficulty prevents the promise maker from giving the full value, they must set the person before the priest. The priest will assign the person a value according to what the promise maker can afford.

If a solemn promise involves livestock that can be offered to the Lord, any such animal given to the Lord will be considered holy. 10 The promise maker cannot replace or substitute for it, either good for bad or bad for good. But if one should substitute one animal for another, both it and the substitute will be holy. 11 If the solemn promise involves any kind of unclean animal that cannot be offered to the Lord, the promise maker must set the animal before the priest. 12 The priest will assign it a value, whether high or low. Its value will be what the priest says. 13 If the promise maker wishes to buy it back, they must add one-fifth to its value.

14 When someone dedicates their house to the Lord as holy, the priest will assign a value to it, whether high or low. The value is fixed, whatever value the priest assigns to it. 15 If the one who dedicates the house wishes to buy it back, they must add one-fifth to its valued price, and it will be theirs again.

16 If a person dedicates part of the land from their family property to the Lord, the value will be set according to the seed needed to plant it: fifty silver shekels per homer of barley seed. 17 If the person dedicates the piece of land during the Jubilee year, its value will stay fixed. 18 But if the person dedicates the piece after the Jubilee year, the priest will calculate the price according to the years that are left until the next Jubilee year, and the value will be reduced. 19 If the one who dedicates the land wishes to buy it back, they must add one-fifth to its valued price, and it will be theirs again. 20 But if they do not buy it back or if it was sold to someone else, it is no longer able to be bought back. 21 When the piece of land is released in the Jubilee year, it will be holy to the Lord like a piece of devoted land; it will be the priest’s property. 22 If the person dedicates land they purchased to the Lord—land that is not part of their family property— 23 the priest will calculate the amount of its value until the Jubilee year. The person must pay the value on that day as a holy donation to the Lord. 24 In the Jubilee year the piece of land will return to the seller, to the one who is the original owner of the family property. 25 Every value will be according to the sanctuary’s shekel. The shekel will be twenty gerahs.

26 But note that a person cannot dedicate any oldest offspring from livestock, which already belongs to the Lord because it is the oldest. Whether ox or sheep, it belongs to the Lord. 27 If it is an unclean animal, it may be bought back at its value plus twenty percent. If it is not bought back, it will be sold at its set value.

28 Also note that everything someone devotes to the Lord from their possessions—whether humans, animals, or pieces of land from their family property—cannot be sold or bought back. Every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord. 29 No human beings that have been devoted can be bought back; they must be executed.

30 All tenth-part gifts from the land, whether of seed from the ground or fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord; they are holy to the Lord. 31 If someone wishes to buy back part of their tenth-part gift, they must add one-fifth to it. 32 All tenth-part gifts from a herd or flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s staff—will be holy to the Lord33 The one bringing the tenth-part gift must not pick out the good from the bad, and cannot substitute any animal. But if one should substitute an animal, both it and the substitute will be holy and cannot be bought back.

34 These are the commands that the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

Torah Portion Behar-Bechukotai    Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34  

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