Reading 36/341, Leviticus 25.29-27.34

[A] This is the end of Leviticus. If the law has been difficult for you to read, the next two (Numbers and Deuteronomy) are a little better, but we will not finish the law until the end of the month.
[B] The teaching on slavery in today's reading is a good example of how God is meeting the people where they are at. Compared to the modern sense that slavery is always bad, the law is inferior, but in the context it was a big step forward. We could not have gotten where we are today without that step, and the people 3500 years ago were not ready for the whole step.
[C] At the end of the reading, it mentions killing any devoted human. This is not human sacrifice. This refers to what we will see in the book of Joshua the first few weeks of October. God will declare that certain nationalities and cities must be wiped out. It was then the obligation of the Israelites to kill every single person: man, woman, and child. This is one of the most difficult facts of the Old Testament, but I will say more when we get to Joshua.

...Leviticus

“'If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a year after it has been sold. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption. If it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall belong in perpetuity to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee. But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be reckoned with the fields of the country, they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee. Nevertheless, the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. The Levites may redeem the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, and it shall be released in the Jubilee, 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.

If your brother has become poor, and his hand cannot support him among you; then you shall uphold him. As a stranger and a sojourner he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live among you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. If your brother has grown poor among you, and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave. As a hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with you; he shall serve with you until the Year of Jubilee, then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family, and to the possession of his fathers. For they are my servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt. They shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God. As for your male and your female slaves whom you may have: of the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. Moreover of the children of the strangers who sojourn among you, of them you may buy, and of their families who are with you, which they have conceived in your land, and they will be your property. You may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession; of them you may take your slaves forever, but over your brothers the children of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness. If a stranger or sojourner with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him has grown poor, and sells himself to the stranger or foreigner living among you, or to a member of the stranger's family, after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him, or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any who is a close relative to him of his family may redeem him, or if he has grown rich, he may redeem himself. He shall reckon with him who bought him from the year that he sold himself to him to the Year of Jubilee, and the price of his sale shall be according to the number of years, according to the time of a hired servant shall he be with him. If there are yet many years, according to them he shall give back the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. If there remain but a few years to the year of jubilee, then he shall reckon with him; according to his years of service he shall give back the price of his redemption. As a servant hired year by year shall he be with him, he shall not rule with harshness over him in your sight. If he is not redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee, he, and his children with him. For to me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

You shall make for yourselves no idols, nor shall you raise up an engraved image or a pillar, nor shall you place any figured stone in your land, to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. "'You shall keep my Sabbaths, and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord. If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall reach to the vintage, and the vintage shall reach to the sowing time, and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one will make you afraid, and I will remove evil animals out of the land, nor shall the sword go through your land. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will have respect for you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and will establish my covenant with you. You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall move out the old because of the new. I will set my tent among you, and my soul will not abhor you. I will walk among you, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves, and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.

But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments, and if you shall reject my statutes, and if your soul abhors my ordinances, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant; I also will do this to you: I will appoint terror over you, consumption and fever, to consume the eyes and make the soul to pine away, and you will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you, and you will be struck before your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one pursues you. If you in spite of these things will not listen to me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your sky like iron, and your soil like bronze, and your strength will be spent in vain, for your land will not yield its increase, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit. If you walk contrary to me, and will not listen to me, then I will bring seven times more diseases on you according to your sins. I will send the wild animals among you, which will rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number, and your roads will become desolate. If by these things you will not be reformed to me, but will walk contrary to me; then I will also walk contrary to you, and I will strike you seven times for your sins. I will bring a sword upon you, to execute the vengeance of the covenant, and you will be gathered together within your cities, and I will send the pestilence among you, and you will be delivered into the hand of the enemy. When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall again ration your bread by weight, and you shall eat but not be satisfied.

If you in spite of this will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me; then I will walk contrary to you in wrath, and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. You will eat the flesh of your sons, and you will eat the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and cast your dead bodies upon the bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you. I will lay your cities waste, and will bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not take delight in the sweet fragrance of your offerings. I will bring the land into desolation, and your enemies that dwell therein will be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you, and your land will be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies' land. Then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest which it did not have in your sabbaths, when you lived on it. As for those of you who are left, I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies, and the sound of a driven leaf will put them to flight, and they shall flee, as one flees from the sword, and they will fall when no one pursues. They will stumble over one another, as if before the sword, when no one pursues, and you will have no power to stand before your enemies. You will perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies will eat you up. Those of you who are left will pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands, and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

If they confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me, and also that they walked contrary to me so that I walked contrary to them, and brought them into the land of their enemies, if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled, and they accept the punishment of their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. But the land will be left by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they will accept the punishment of their iniquity, because they rejected my ordinances, and their soul abhorred my statutes. Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God, but I will for their sake remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.'" These are the statutes, ordinances and laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai by Moses.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, 'When a man makes a vow to the Lord that involves the valuation of persons, the value of a person shall be: of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old, your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, of a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels, of a person from five years old to twenty years old, your valuation shall be, for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels, of a person from a month old to five years old, your valuation shall be, for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver, of a person from sixty years old and upward, for a male, your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels. If he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be set before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the ability to pay of him who vowed shall the priest value him.

If it is an animal, of which men offer an offering to the Lord, all that any man gives to the Lord becomes holy. He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good, and if he shall at all change animal for animal, then both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy. If it is an unclean animal, of which they do not offer as an offering to the Lord, then he shall set the animal before the priest, and the priest shall value it, whether it is good or bad. As you the priest values it, so shall it be. But if he will indeed redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of it to its valuation. When a man dedicates his house to be holy to the Lord, then the priest shall evaluate it, whether it is good or bad, as the priest shall evaluate it, so shall it stand. If he who dedicates it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall be his.

If a man dedicates to the Lord part of the field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it, the sowing of a homer of barley shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, the valuation shall stand. But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the priest shall reckon to him the money according to the years that remain to the Year of Jubilee, and an abatement shall be made from your valuation. If he who dedicated the field will redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall remain his. If he will not redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed anymore, but the field, when it goes out in the Jubilee, shall be holy to the Lord, as a field devoted; it shall be owned by the priests. If he dedicates to the Lord a field which he has bought, which is not of the field of his possession, then the priest shall reckon to him the worth of your valuation up to the Year of Jubilee, and he shall give your valuation on that day, as a holy thing to the Lord. In the Year of Jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, to him to whom the possession of the land belongs. All your valuations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary, twenty gerahs to the shekel.

The firstborn among animals, which as a firstborn belongs to the Lord, no man may dedicate; whether an ox or sheep, it is the Lord's. If it is an unclean animal, then he shall buy it back according to your valuation and shall add to it the fifth part of it, or if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation. Nevertheless, no devoted thing, that a man shall devote to the Lord of all that he has, whether of man or animal, or of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed, every devoted thing is Most Holy to the Lord. No one devoted, who shall be devoted from among men, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death. All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord's. It is holy to the Lord. If a man redeems anything of his tithe, he shall add a fifth part to it. All the tithe of the herds or the flocks, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the Lord. He shall not search whether it is good or bad, nor shall he change it, and if he changes it at all, then both it and that for which it is changed shall be holy. It shall not be redeemed.'" These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.

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