The Sabbath Year
1 Moses was on Sinai's mountain. The Lord spoke to him there. 2 The Lord said, ‘Speak to Israel's people. They will go into the land that I will give to them. Then the land must have a Sabbath rest to the Lord. 3 They can plant seeds in the fields for six years. They can cut the leaves of the plants and they can harvest the fruit for six years. 4 In the seventh year, the land must have a rest. They must not plant seeds in the fields or cut the leaves. 5 They must not harvest fruit or grain. The land must have a year for rest. 6 All of the people can eat anything that grows by itself in the Sabbath year. That will be food for you and for your servants and for your animals. And other people who live among you can eat it. 7 The wild animals also can eat anything that grows by itself in the Sabbath year.
The Jubilee Year
8 The people must count seven lots of Sabbath years. That is 49 years. 9 In the 50th year they must make loud music. They must blow trumpets on the tenth day of the seventh month. That is the Day of Atonement. They must blow the trumpet through all the country. 10 The year will be special. It is a Jubilee year. It is a time for every one of my people to become free. Everyone can return to his own land and to his family. 11 The 50th year is a Jubilee year. The people must not plant any seed in the fields. They must not harvest anything that grows by itself on the bushes. 12 It is a Jubilee year for the people. And they can eat only food that they take from the fields.
13 In the Jubilee year every person must return to the land of his family.
14 If the people buy and sell land from each other, they must be honest with each other. 15 The person who is selling the land will decide the price. He must count the number of years until the next Jubilee year. 16 When there are many years, the price must be big. When there are few years, the price must be small. The number of years that the land will give food to eat is what is important. 17 Be honest with each other and respect God. I am the Lord your God.
18 The people must obey God's rules. If they do, they will be safe. 19 You will be able to grow food on the land. And the people will have plenty to eat. They will be safe. 20 The people may ask what they will eat in the seventh year. They will not have planted any seeds. 21 God will cause a lot of food to grow in the sixth year. They will have food for three more years. 22 When a person plants seed in the eighth year he will still be eating the crops that he planted in the sixth year. The next time he will harvest the plants from the fields will be in the ninth year.
23 The people must never sell the land for all time. The land belongs to God. He has said that the people can live on it. 24 A person may buy land. But he must remember that he may have to sell it back to the seller.
25 If a man becomes poor, he can sell some of his land. A person from his family must buy the land back for the man. 26 But the man might not have any family. If he stops being poor, he can buy the land back. 27 He must count how many years until the next Jubilee year. He must pay the right amount of money for the land. Then he can live on the land again. 28 If the man is too poor to buy the land back, it will belong to the other person. It will belong to the other person until the next Jubilee year. He must return it to the poor man in the Jubilee year.
29 A man may sell a house in a city with walls. For one year after he sells it, he can buy it back. 30 If the man does not buy back the house, it will belong to the other person and his sons. It will belong to them for all time. They will not have to return it in the Jubilee year. 31 If the house is in a village, a person can buy it back. If he does not buy it back, they will return it to him in the Jubilee year.
32 The Levites (people from the family of Levi) can buy back the houses in their towns. 33 In the Jubilee year, the Levites must get back the houses that they sold. Their towns belong to the Levites. 34 The Levites must not sell the fields that belong to their towns. God gave to them their towns and cities to live in for all time.
People who have a lot of money must lend it to the poor people
35 An Israelite may become poor. He may not be able to feed his family. You must help him. You would help a visitor or a foreigner in the same way. You must help the man so that he can continue to live among you. 36 The man must not pay back more than you gave to him. You must obey your God. 37 The person who is feeding the man might give money or food to him. He must not ask for more back than he gave. 38 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt. I brought you into this land to be your God.
39 If an Israelite becomes poor, he might sell himself to you. But he must not work for you as a slave. You must pay him to work as your servant. 40 He must work for you until the next Jubilee year. 41 In the Jubilee year, you will make him free. He and his children can go back to his own home and family. 42 Israel's people belong to God. I took them out of Egypt. They must not be slaves. 43 You must be kind to all Israelites. Remember to obey your God.
44 Israel's people can buy male and female slaves. Those slaves must come from other countries. 45 And Israelites can buy people from other countries who live among them. They may have children who were born in your land. You can buy them. They will become slaves. 46 You can give the slaves to your children when you die. But you must rule Israel's people in a kind way.
47 A person from another country may become rich. Then he might buy an Israelite who became poor. But the poor man can buy himself back at any time. 48 A person from the family of the poor man can buy him back. 49 A brother or a cousin of the poor man can buy him back. If the poor man becomes rich, he can pay to make himself free. 50 The man and the person who bought him must count the time until the Jubilee year. The man must pay the right amount of money to be free. 51 The Jubilee year may be many years away. If it is, the man must pay a lot of money to be free. 52 There may be a few years until the Jubilee year. If there are, he has to pay only a small amount of money to be free. 53 The person who has bought the man must pay him each year. You must cause the rich man to be kind to the man.
54 Perhaps nobody will pay any money for the man. But the man who bought him must make him free in the Jubilee year. 55 Israel's people belong to me. I brought them out of Egypt. They are my servants. I am the Lord.