29 July 2014

EJ&T: Leviticus 25: Rules for buying land and slaves

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Every 49 years, blow a trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month.
  2. Thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. Leviticus 25:8-9

  3. Declare a jubilee year every 50 years.
  4. During each jubilee year, proclaim liberty throughout the land; return to your place of birth; and do not plant or harvest any crops.

    Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. Leviticus 25:10-13

  5. Buy and sell property based on the number of years since the last jubilee, with the price proportional to the number of years until the next jubilee year.
  6. If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand ... According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Leviticus 25:14-17

  7. Don't oppress one another.
  8. Ye shall not oppress one another. Leviticus 25:14
    Ye shall not therefore oppress one another. Leviticus 25:17

  9. Don't sell real estate. The land belongs to God, not you.
  10. The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. Leviticus 25:23

  11. If you buy land, you must allow the seller the right to buy it back.
  12. In all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. Leviticus 25:24
    With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. Leviticus 25:24, New Living Translation

  13. If one of your close relatives is forced to sell land, then you must buy it, with the usual Jubilee year pricing.
  14. The poor relative has the right to buy it back, but if he can't, then you get to keep it until the next jubilee when you must return it to him. (Or something like that.)

    If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. Leviticus 25:25-28
    If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land, then a close relative should buy it back for him. If there is no close relative to buy the land, but the person who sold it gets enough money to buy it back, he then has the right to redeem it from the one who bought it. The price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next Year of Jubilee. In this way the original owner can then return to the land. But if the original owner cannot afford to buy back the land, it will remain with the new owner until the next Year of Jubilee. In the jubilee year, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land. Leviticus 25:25-28, New Living Translation

  15. If you sell a house in a walled city, you have the right to buy it back within a year after the sale.
  16. But if you don't buy it back within a year, the sale is final. You won't get it back even at the next jubilee year.

    And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile. Leviticus 25:29-30
    Anyone who sells a house inside a walled town has the right to buy it back for a full year after its sale. During that year, the seller retains the right to buy it back. But if it is not bought back within a year, the sale of the house within the walled town cannot be reversed. It will become the permanent property of the buyer. It will not be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:29-30, New Living Translation

  17. If you sell a house in an village without a wall, you may buy it back whenever you like.
  18. Or you can just wait until the jubilee year when you'll get it back for nothing.

    But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile. Leviticus 25:31
    But a house in a village—a settlement without fortified walls—will be treated like property in the countryside. Such a house may be bought back at any time, and it must be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:31, New Living Translation

  19. Levites own the suburbs and always have the right to buy back any property they sell.
  20. Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. Leviticus 25:32-34
    The Levites always have the right to buy back a house they have sold within the towns allotted to them. And any property that is sold by the Levites—all houses within the Levitical towns—must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. After all, the houses in the towns reserved for the Levites are the only property they own in all Israel. The open pastureland around the Levitical towns may never be sold. It is their permanent possession. Leviticus 25:332-33, New Living Translation

  21. Help the poor.
  22. If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Leviticus 25:35

    If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. Deuteronomy 15:7-11

  23. If someone in your country becomes poor and is sold to you as a slave, treat that person as a servant, not as a slave, and set them free on the next jubilee year.
  24. if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee ; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile. And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. ... Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour. Leviticus 25:39-43

  25. When you buy slaves, buy a heathen from a nearby country. After you buy them, they are your property and your children will inherit them after you die. They will be your family's slaves forever.
  26. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever. Leviticus 25:44-46

  27. If a foreigner buys someone who lives in this country, the slave may be bought back by the slave's family, with the usual jubilee year pricing.
  28. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight. And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him. Leviticus 25:47-54

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