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Leviticus 17-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

IV. Holiness Laws

Chapter 17

Sacredness of Blood. The Lord said to Moses: Speak to Aaron and his sons, as well as to all the Israelites, and tell them: This is what the Lord has commanded: [a]Any Israelite who slaughters an ox or a sheep or a goat, whether in the camp or outside of it, without first bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the Lord’s tabernacle, shall be judged guilty of bloodshed[b]—that individual has shed blood, and shall be cut off from the people. This is so that such sacrifices as they used to offer in the open field the Israelites shall henceforth bring to the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the priest, and sacrifice them there as communion sacrifices to the Lord. The priest will splash the blood on the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for an odor pleasing to the Lord. No longer shall they offer their sacrifices to the demons[c] with whom they prostituted themselves. This shall be an everlasting statute for them and their descendants.

Tell them, therefore: Anyone, whether of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice without bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord, shall be cut off from the people. 10 As for anyone, whether of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing among them, who consumes any blood, I will set myself against that individual and will cut that person off from among the people, 11 since the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement[d] on the altar for yourselves, because it is the blood as life that makes atonement. 12 That is why I have told the Israelites: No one among you, not even a resident alien, may consume blood.

13 Anyone hunting,[e] whether of the Israelites or of the aliens residing among them, who catches an animal or a bird that may be eaten, shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth, 14 since the life of all flesh is its blood. I have told the Israelites: You shall not consume the blood of any flesh. Since the life of all flesh is its blood, anyone who consumes it shall be cut off.

15 Everyone, whether a native or an alien, who eats of an animal that died of itself or was killed by a wild beast, shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening, and then become clean. 16 If one does not wash his garments and bathe, that person shall bear the penalty.

Chapter 18

Laws Concerning Sexual Behavior. The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the Israelites and tell them: I, the Lord, am your God.[f] You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you once lived, nor shall you do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you; do not conform to their customs. My decrees you shall carry out, and my statutes you shall take care to follow. I, the Lord, am your God. Keep, then, my statutes and decrees, for the person who carries them out will find life[g] through them. I am the Lord.

[h]None of you shall approach a close relative[i] to have sexual intercourse. I am the Lord. [j]You shall not disgrace your father by having intercourse with your mother. She is your own mother; you shall not have intercourse with her. You shall not have intercourse with your father’s wife, for that would be a disgrace to your father. You shall not have intercourse with your sister,[k] your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in your own household or born elsewhere. 10 You shall not have intercourse with your son’s daughter or with your daughter’s daughter,[l] for that would be a disgrace to you. 11 You shall not have intercourse with the daughter whom your father’s wife bore to him in his household, since she, too, is your sister. 12 You shall not have intercourse with your father’s sister, since she is your father’s relative. 13 You shall not have intercourse with your mother’s sister, since she is your mother’s relative. 14 You shall not disgrace your father’s brother by having sexual relations with his wife, since she, too, is your aunt. 15 You shall not have intercourse with your daughter-in-law;[m] she is your son’s wife; you shall not have intercourse with her. 16 You shall not have intercourse with your brother’s wife;[n] that would be a disgrace to your brother. 17 You shall not have intercourse with a woman and also with her daughter, nor shall you marry and have intercourse with her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are related to her. This would be shameful. 18 While your wife is still living you shall not marry her sister as her rival and have intercourse with her.

19 You shall not approach a woman to have intercourse with her while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 You shall not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife,[o] defiling yourself with her. 21 You shall not offer any of your offspring for immolation to Molech,[p] thus profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination. 23 You shall not have sexual relations with an animal, defiling yourself with it; nor shall a woman set herself in front of an animal to mate with it; that is perverse.

24 Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, because by them the nations whom I am driving out of your way have defiled themselves. 25 And so the land has become defiled, and I have punished it for its wickedness, and the land has vomited out its inhabitants. 26 You, however, must keep my statutes and decrees, avoiding all these abominations, both the natives and the aliens resident among you— 27 because the previous inhabitants did all these abominations and the land became defiled; 28 otherwise the land will vomit you out also for having defiled it, just as it vomited out the nations before you. 29 For whoever does any of these abominations shall be cut off from the people. 30 Heed my charge, then, not to observe the abominable customs that have been observed before your time, and thus become impure by them. I, the Lord, am your God.

Chapter 19

Various Rules of Conduct. The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.[q] [r]Each of you revere your mother and father, and keep my sabbaths. I, the Lord, am your God.

Do not turn aside to idols, nor make molten gods for yourselves. I, the Lord, am your God.

When you sacrifice your communion sacrifice to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it is acceptable on your behalf. It must be eaten on the day of your sacrifice or on the following day. Whatever is left over until the third day shall be burned in fire. If any of it is eaten on the third day, it will be a desecrated offering and not be accepted; whoever eats of it then shall bear the penalty for having profaned what is sacred to the Lord. Such a one shall be cut off from the people.

[s]When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. I, the Lord, am your God.

11 [t]You shall not steal. You shall not deceive or speak falsely to one another. 12 You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord.

13 You shall not exploit your neighbor. You shall not commit robbery. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer. 14 [u]You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.

15 You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbor justly. 16 You shall not go about spreading slander among your people; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the Lord.

17 [v]You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person. 18 Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

19 [w]Keep my statutes: do not breed any of your domestic animals with others of a different species; do not sow a field of yours with two different kinds of seed; and do not put on a garment woven with two different kinds of thread.

20 [x]If a man has sexual relations with a female slave who has been acquired by another man but has not yet been redeemed or given her freedom, an investigation shall be made. They shall not be put to death, because she has not been freed. 21 The man shall bring to the entrance of the tent of meeting as his reparation to the Lord a ram as a reparation offering. 22 With the ram of the reparation offering the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the wrong the man has committed, so that he will be forgiven for the wrong he has committed.

23 When you come into the land and plant any fruit tree there, first look upon its fruit as if it were uncircumcised. For three years, it shall be uncircumcised for you; it may not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year, however, all of its fruit shall be dedicated to the Lord in joyous celebration. 25 Not until the fifth year may you eat its fruit, to increase the yield for you. I, the Lord, am your God.

26 Do not eat anything with the blood still in it. Do not recite charms or practice soothsaying.[y] 27 Do not clip your hair at the temples, nor spoil the edges of your beard. 28 Do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves.[z] I am the Lord.

29 You shall not degrade your daughter by making a prostitute of her; otherwise the land will prostitute itself and become full of lewdness. 30 Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

31 Do not turn to ghosts or consult spirits, by which you will be defiled. I, the Lord, am your God.

32 Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the old, and fear your God. I am the Lord.

33 When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. 34 You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God.

35 Do not act dishonestly in using measures of length or weight or capacity. 36 You shall have a true scale and true weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin.[aa] I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 Be careful, then, to observe all my statutes and decrees. I am the Lord.

Chapter 20

Penalties for Various Sins. [ab]The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites: Anyone, whether an Israelite or an alien residing in Israel, who gives offspring to Molech shall be put to death. The people of the land shall stone that person. I myself will turn against and cut off that individual from among the people; for in the giving of offspring to Molech, my sanctuary was defiled and my holy name was profaned. If the people of the land condone the giving of offspring to Molech, by failing to put the wrongdoer to death, I myself will turn against that individual and his or her family, and I will cut off from their people both the wrongdoer and all who follow this person by prostituting themselves with Molech.

Should anyone turn to ghosts and spirits and prostitute oneself with them, I will turn against that person and cut such a one off from among the people. Sanctify yourselves, then, and be holy; for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. Be careful, therefore, to observe my statutes. I, the Lord, make you holy.

Anyone who curses father or mother shall be put to death;[ac] and having cursed father or mother, such a one will bear the bloodguilt.[ad] 10 [ae]If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. 11 If a man disgraces his father by lying with his father’s wife, the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have done what is perverse; their bloodguilt is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. 14 If a man marries a woman and her mother also, that is shameful conduct; the man and the two women as well shall be burned to death, so that shamefulness may not be found among you. 15 If a man has sexual relations with an animal, the man shall be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman goes up to any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall both be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. 17 If a man marries his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, and they have intercourse with each other, that is disgraceful; they shall be publicly cut off[af] from the people; the man shall bear the penalty of having had intercourse with his own sister. 18 If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and has intercourse with her, he has laid bare the source of her flow and she has uncovered it. The two of them shall be cut off from the people. 19 You shall not have intercourse with your mother’s sister or your father’s sister, because that dishonors one’s own flesh; they shall bear their penalty. 20 If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he disgraces his uncle; they shall bear the penalty; they shall die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is severe defilement and he has disgraced his brother; they shall be childless.

22 Be careful to observe all my statutes and all my decrees; otherwise the land where I am bringing you to dwell will vomit you out. 23 Do not conform, therefore, to the customs of the nations whom I am driving out of your way, because all these things that they have done have filled me with disgust for them. 24 But to you I have said: You shall take possession of their land. I am giving it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I, the Lord, am your God, who have set you apart from other peoples. 25 You, too, must set apart, then, the clean animals from the unclean, and the clean birds from the unclean, so that you do not make yourselves detestable through any beast or bird or any creature which creeps on the ground that I have set apart for you as unclean. 26 To me, therefore, you shall be holy; for I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from other peoples to be my own.

27 A man or a woman who acts as a medium or clairvoyant shall be put to death. They shall be stoned to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.

Chapter 21

Sanctity of the Priesthood. [ag]The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the priests, Aaron’s sons, and tell them: None of you shall make himself unclean for any dead person among his kindred, except for his nearest relatives, his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother or his unmarried sister, who is of his own family while she remains single; for these he may make himself unclean. But as a husband among his kindred[ah] he shall not make himself unclean and thus profane himself.

The priests shall not make bald the crown of their head, nor shave the edges of their beard, nor lacerate their body. They shall be holy to their God, and shall not profane their God’s name, since they offer the oblations of the Lord, the food of their God; so they must be holy.

[ai]A priest shall not marry a woman debased by prostitution, nor a woman who has been divorced by her husband; for the priest is holy to his God. Honor him as holy for he offers the food of your God; he shall be holy to you, because I, the Lord, am holy who make you holy.

If a priest’s daughter debases herself by prostitution, she thereby debases her father; she shall be burned with fire.

10 The most exalted of the priests, upon whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been ordained to wear the special vestments, shall not dishevel his hair or rend his garments, 11 nor shall he go near any dead person. Not even for his father or mother may he thus become unclean; 12 nor shall he leave the sanctuary and profane the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him. I am the Lord.

13 He shall marry only a woman who is a virgin. 14 He shall not marry a widow or a woman who has been divorced or one who has been debased by prostitution, but only a virgin, taken from his kindred, he shall marry, 15 so that he not profane his offspring among his kindred. I, the Lord, make him holy.

Priestly Blemishes.[aj] 16 The Lord said to Moses: 17 Say to Aaron: None of your descendants, throughout their generations, who has any blemish shall come forward to offer the food of his God. 18 Anyone who has any of the following blemishes may not come forward: he who is blind, or lame, or who has a split lip, or a limb too long, 19 or a broken leg or arm, 20 or who is a hunchback or dwarf or has a growth in the eye, or who is afflicted with sores, scabs, or crushed testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any such blemish may draw near to offer the oblations of the Lord; on account of his blemish he may not draw near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may, however, eat the food of his God: of the most sacred as well as sacred offerings. 23 Only, he may not enter through the veil nor draw near to the altar on account of his blemish; he shall not profane my sacred precincts, for it is I, the Lord, who make them holy.

24 Moses, therefore, told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

Chapter 22

Priestly Purity.[ak] The Lord said to Moses: Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings which the Israelites consecrate to me; otherwise they will profane my holy name. I am the Lord.

[al]Tell them: If any one of you, or of your descendants in any future generation, dares, while he is in a state of uncleanness, to draw near the sacred offerings which the Israelites consecrate to the Lord, such a one shall be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord.

No descendant of Aaron who is stricken with a scaly infection, or who suffers from a genital discharge, may eat of the sacred offerings, until he again becomes clean. Moreover, if anyone touches a person who has become unclean by contact with a corpse, or if anyone has had an emission of semen, or if anyone touches any swarming creature whose uncleanness is contagious or any person whose uncleanness, of whatever kind it may be, is contagious— the one who touches such as these shall be unclean until evening and may not eat of the sacred portions until he has first bathed his body in water. Then, when the sun sets, he shall be clean. Only then may he eat of the sacred offerings, for they are his food. [am]He shall not make himself unclean by eating of any animal that has died of itself or has been killed by wild beasts. I am the Lord.

They shall keep my charge so that they will not bear the punishment in this matter and die for their profanation. I am the Lord who makes them holy.

10 Neither an unauthorized person nor a priest’s tenant or laborer may eat of any sacred offering. 11 But a slave[an] whom a priest acquires by purchase or who is born in his house may eat of his food. 12 [ao]A priest’s daughter who is married to an unauthorized person may not eat of the sacred contributions. 13 But if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced and, having no children, returns to her father’s house, she may then eat of her father’s food as in her youth. No unauthorized person, however, may eat of it. 14 If such a one eats of a sacred offering through inadvertence, that person shall make restitution to the priest for the sacred offering, with an increment of one fifth of the amount. 15 The priests shall not allow the sacred offerings which the Israelites contribute to the Lord to be profaned 16 nor make them incur a penalty when they eat their sacred offerings. For I, the Lord, make them holy.

Unacceptable Victims. 17 [ap]The Lord said to Moses: 18 Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites, and tell them: When anyone of the house of Israel, or any alien residing in Israel, who presents an offering, brings a burnt offering as a votive offering or as a voluntary offering to the Lord, 19 if it is to be acceptable for you, it must be an unblemished male of the herd, of the sheep or of the goats. 20 You shall not offer one that has any blemish, for such a one would not be acceptable on your behalf. 21 When anyone presents a communion sacrifice to the Lord from the herd or the flock in fulfillment of a vow, or as a voluntary offering, if it is to find acceptance, it must be unblemished; it shall not have any blemish. 22 One that is blind or lame or maimed, or one that has running lesions or sores or scabs, you shall not offer to the Lord; do not put such an animal on the altar as an oblation to the Lord. 23 [aq]An ox or a sheep that has a leg that is too long or is stunted you may indeed present as a voluntary offering, but it will not be acceptable as a votive offering. 24 One that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn out or cut off you shall not offer to the Lord. You shall neither do this in your own land 25 nor receive from a foreigner any such animals to offer up as the food of your God; since they are deformed or blemished, they will not be acceptable on your behalf.

26 [ar]The Lord said to Moses: 27 When an ox or a lamb or a goat is born, it shall remain with its mother for seven days; only from the eighth day onward will it be acceptable, to be offered as an oblation to the Lord. 28 You shall not slaughter an ox or a sheep on one and the same day with its young. 29 Whenever you offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to the Lord, so offer it that it may be acceptable on your behalf; 30 it must be eaten on the same day; none of it shall be left over until morning. I am the Lord.

31 Be careful to observe my commandments. I am the Lord. 32 Do not profane my holy name, that in the midst of the Israelites I may be hallowed. I, the Lord, make you holy, 33 who led you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.

Chapter 23

Holy Days.[as] The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the Israelites and tell them: The following are the festivals of the Lord, which you shall declare holy days. These are my festivals:

For six days work may be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest,[at] a declared holy day; you shall do no work. It is the Lord’s sabbath wherever you dwell.

Passover. These are the festivals of the Lord, holy days which you shall declare at their proper time. The Passover of the Lord[au] falls on the fourteenth day of the first month, at the evening twilight. The fifteenth day of this month is the Lord’s feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first of these days you will have a declared holy day; you shall do no heavy work. On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the Lord. Then on the seventh day you will have a declared holy day; you shall do no heavy work.

[av]The Lord said to Moses: 10 Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you come into the land which I am giving you, and reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest, 11 who shall elevate the sheaf before the Lord that it may be acceptable on your behalf. On the day after the sabbath[aw] the priest shall do this. 12 On this day, when your sheaf is elevated, you shall offer to the Lord for a burnt offering an unblemished yearling lamb. 13 Its grain offering shall be two tenths of an ephah of bran flour mixed with oil, as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord; and its libation shall be a fourth of a hin of wine. 14 You shall not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels until this day, when you bring the offering for your God. This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations wherever you dwell.

Pentecost. 15 Beginning with the day after the sabbath, the day on which you bring the sheaf for elevation, you shall count seven full weeks; 16 you shall count to the day after the seventh week, fifty days.[ax] Then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. 17 For the elevated offering of your first-ripened fruits to the Lord, you shall bring with you from wherever you live two loaves of bread made of two tenths of an ephah of bran flour and baked with leaven. 18 Besides the bread, you shall offer to the Lord a burnt offering of seven unblemished yearling lambs, one bull of the herd, and two rams, along with their grain offering and libations, as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 19 One male goat shall be sacrificed as a purification offering, and two yearling lambs as a communion sacrifice. 20 The priest shall elevate them—that is, the two lambs—with the bread of the first-ripened fruits as an elevated offering before the Lord; these shall be sacred to the Lord and belong to the priest. 21 On this same day you shall make a proclamation: there shall be a declared holy day for you; no heavy work may be done. This shall be a perpetual statute through all your generations wherever you dwell.

22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. I, the Lord, am your God.

New Year’s Day. 23 The Lord said to Moses: 24 Tell the Israelites: On the first day of the seventh month[ay] you will have a sabbath rest, with trumpet blasts as a reminder, a declared holy day; 25 you shall do no heavy work, and you shall offer an oblation to the Lord.

The Day of Atonement. 26 The Lord said to Moses: 27 Now the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement.[az] You will have a declared holy day. You shall humble yourselves and offer an oblation to the Lord. 28 On this day you shall not do any work, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord, your God. 29 Those who do not humble themselves on this day shall be cut off from the people. 30 If anyone does any work on this day, I will remove that person from the midst of the people. 31 You shall do no work; this is a perpetual statute throughout your generations wherever you dwell; 32 it is a sabbath of complete rest for you. You shall humble yourselves. Beginning on the evening of the ninth of the month, you shall keep your sabbath from evening to evening.

The Feast of Booths. 33 The Lord said to Moses: 34 Tell the Israelites: The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Lord’s feast of Booths,[ba] which shall continue for seven days. 35 On the first day, a declared holy day, you shall do no heavy work. 36 For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the Lord, and on the eighth day you will have a declared holy day. You shall offer an oblation to the Lord. It is the festival closing. You shall do no heavy work.

37 [bb]These, therefore, are the festivals of the Lord which you shall declare holy days, in order to offer as an oblation to the Lord burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day, 38 in addition to the Lord’s sabbaths, your donations, your various votive offerings, and the voluntary offerings that you present to the Lord.

39 On the fifteenth day, then, of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord[bc] for a whole week. The first and the eighth day shall be days of rest. 40 On the first day you shall gather fruit of majestic trees, branches of palms, and boughs[bd] of leafy trees and valley willows. Then for a week you shall make merry before the Lord, your God. 41 You shall keep this feast of the Lord for one whole week in the year. By perpetual statute throughout your generations in the seventh month of the year, you shall keep it. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days; every native-born Israelite shall dwell in booths, 43 that your descendants may realize that, when I led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, I made them dwell in booths. I, the Lord, am your God.

44 Thus did Moses announce to the Israelites the festivals of the Lord.

Chapter 24

The Sanctuary Light.[be] The Lord said to Moses: Order the Israelites to bring you clear oil of crushed olives for the light, so that you may keep the lamp burning regularly. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that hangs in front of the covenant, Aaron shall set up the lamp to burn before the Lord regularly, from evening till morning, by a perpetual statute throughout your generations. He shall set up the lamps on the pure gold menorah to burn regularly before the Lord.

The Showbread.[bf] You shall take bran flour and bake it into twelve cakes, using two tenths of an ephah of flour for each cake. These you shall place in two piles, six in each pile, on the pure gold table before the Lord. With each pile put some pure frankincense, which shall serve as an oblation to the Lord, a token of the bread offering. Regularly on each sabbath day the bread shall be set out before the Lord on behalf of the Israelites by an everlasting covenant. It shall belong to Aaron and his sons, who must eat it in a sacred place, since it is most sacred, his as a perpetual due from the oblations to the Lord.

Punishment of Blasphemy.[bg] 10 A man born of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and in the camp a fight broke out between the son of the Israelite woman and an Israelite man. 11 The son of the Israelite woman uttered the Lord’s name in a curse and blasphemed. So he was brought to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan— 12 and he was kept in custody till a decision from the Lord should settle the case for them. 13 The Lord then said to Moses: 14 Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and when all who heard him have laid their hands[bh] on his head, let the whole community stone him. 15 Tell the Israelites: Anyone who blasphemes God shall bear the penalty; 16 whoever utters the name of the Lord in a curse shall be put to death. The whole community shall stone that person; alien and native-born alike must be put to death for uttering the Lord’s name in a curse.

17 [bi]Whoever takes the life of any human being shall be put to death; 18 whoever takes the life of an animal shall make restitution of another animal, life for a life. 19 [bj]Anyone who inflicts a permanent injury on his or her neighbor shall receive the same in return: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The same injury that one gives another shall be inflicted in return. 21 Whoever takes the life of an animal shall make restitution, but whoever takes a human life shall be put to death. 22 You shall have but one rule, for alien and native-born alike. I, the Lord, am your God.

23 When Moses told this to the Israelites, they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him; they did just as the Lord commanded Moses.

Chapter 25

The Sabbatical Year. The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai: [bk]Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, let the land, too, keep a sabbath for the Lord. For six years you may sow your field, and for six years prune your vineyard, gathering in their produce. But during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath for the Lord, when you may neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. The aftergrowth of your harvest you shall not reap, nor shall you pick the grapes of your untrimmed vines. It shall be a year of rest for the land. While the land has its sabbath, all its produce will be food to eat for you yourself and for your male and female slave, for your laborer and the tenant who live with you, and likewise for your livestock and for the wild animals on your land.

The Jubilee Year. [bl]You shall count seven weeks of years—seven times seven years—such that the seven weeks of years amount to forty-nine years. Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month[bm] let the ram’s horn resound; on this, the Day of Atonement, the ram’s horn blast shall resound throughout your land. 10 You shall treat this fiftieth year as sacred. You shall proclaim liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to your own property, each of you to your own family. 11 This fiftieth year is your year of jubilee; you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth or pick the untrimmed vines, 12 since this is the jubilee. It shall be sacred for you. You may only eat what the field yields of itself.

13 In this year of jubilee, then, each of you shall return to your own property. 14 Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor or buy any from your neighbor, do not deal unfairly with one another. 15 On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee you shall purchase the land from your neighbor; and so also, on the basis of the number of years of harvest, that person shall sell it to you. 16 When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more; when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less. For it is really the number of harvests that the person sells you. 17 Do not deal unfairly with one another, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the Lord, am your God.

18 Observe my statutes and be careful to keep my ordinances, so that you will dwell securely in the land. 19 The land will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill, and live there securely. 20 And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we do not sow or reap our crop?” 21 I will command such a blessing for you in the sixth year that there will be crop enough for three years, 22 and when you sow in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop; even into the ninth year, until the crop comes in, you will still be eating from the old crop.

Redemption of Property.[bn] 23 The land shall not be sold irrevocably; for the land is mine, and you are but resident aliens and under my authority. 24 Therefore, in every part of the country that you occupy, you must permit the land to be redeemed. 25 When one of your kindred is reduced to poverty and has to sell some property, that person’s closest relative,[bo] who has the duty to redeem it, shall come and redeem what the relative has sold. 26 If, however, the person has no relative to redeem it, but later on acquires sufficient means to redeem it, 27 the person shall calculate the years since the sale, return the balance to the one to whom it was sold, and thus regain the property. 28 But if the person does not acquire sufficient means to buy back the land, what was sold shall remain in the possession of the purchaser until the year of the jubilee, when it must be released and returned to the original owner.

29 [bp]When someone sells a dwelling in a walled town, it can be redeemed up to a full year after its sale—the redemption period is one year. 30 But if such a house in a walled town has not been redeemed at the end of a full year, it shall belong irrevocably to the purchaser throughout the generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. 31 However, houses in villages that are not encircled by walls shall be reckoned as part of the surrounding farm land; they may be redeemed, and in the jubilee they must be released.

32 [bq]In levitical cities the Levites shall always have the right to redeem the houses in the cities that are in their possession. 33 As for levitical property that goes unredeemed—houses sold in cities of their possession shall be released in the jubilee; for the houses in levitical cities are their possession in the midst of the Israelites. 34 Moreover, the pasture land belonging to their cities shall not be sold at all; it must always remain their possession.

35 When one of your kindred is reduced to poverty and becomes indebted to you, you shall support that person like a resident alien; let your kindred live with you. 36 Do not exact interest in advance or accrued interest,[br] but out of fear of God let your kindred live with you. 37 Do not give your money at interest or your food at a profit. 38 I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 [bs]When your kindred with you, having been so reduced to poverty, sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 Rather, let them be like laborers or like your tenants, working with you until the jubilee year, 41 when, together with any children, they shall be released from your service and return to their family and to their ancestral property. 42 Since they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, they shall not sell themselves as slaves are sold. 43 Do not lord it over them harshly, but stand in fear of your God.

44 [bt]The male and female slaves that you possess—these you shall acquire from the nations round about you. 45 You may also acquire them from among the resident aliens who reside with you, and from their families who are with you, those whom they bore in your land. These you may possess, 46 and bequeath to your children as their hereditary possession forever. You may treat them as slaves. But none of you shall lord it harshly over any of your fellow Israelites.

47 When your kindred, having been so reduced to poverty, sell themselves to a resident alien who has become wealthy or to descendants of a resident alien’s family, 48 even after having sold themselves, they still may be redeemed by one of their kindred, 49 by an uncle or cousin, or by some other relative from their family; or, having acquired the means, they may pay the redemption price themselves. 50 With the purchaser they shall compute the years from the sale to the jubilee, distributing the sale price over these years as though they had been hired as laborers. 51 The more years there are, the more of the sale price they shall pay back as the redemption price; 52 the fewer years there are before the jubilee year, the more they have as credit; in proportion to the years of service they shall pay the redemption price. 53 The tenant alien shall treat those who sold themselves as laborers hired on an annual basis, and the alien shall not lord it over them harshly before your very eyes. 54 And if they are not redeemed by these means, they shall nevertheless be released, together with any children, in the jubilee year. 55 For the Israelites belong to me as servants; they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, I, the Lord, your God.

Chapter 26

The Reward of Obedience. [bu]Do not make idols for yourselves. You shall not erect a carved image or a sacred stone for yourselves, nor shall you set up a carved stone for worship in your land; for I, the Lord, am your God. Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

[bv]If you live in accordance with my statutes and are careful to observe my commandments, I will give you your rains in due season, so that the land will yield its crops, and the trees their fruit; your threshing will last till vintage time, and your vintage till the time for sowing, and you will eat your fill of food, and live securely in your land. I will establish peace in the land, and you will lie down to rest with no one to cause you anxiety. I will rid the country of ravenous beasts, and no sword shall sweep across your land. You will rout your enemies, and they shall fall before your sword. Five of you will put a hundred of your foes to flight, and a hundred of you will put to flight ten thousand, till your enemies fall before your sword. I will look with favor upon you, and make you fruitful and numerous, as I carry out my covenant with you. 10 You shall eat the oldest stored harvest, and have to discard it to make room for the new. 11 I will set my tabernacle in your midst, and will not loathe you. 12 Ever present in your midst, I will be your God, and you will be my people; 13 I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be their slaves no more, breaking the bars of your yoke and making you walk erect.

The Punishment of Disobedience.[bw] 14 But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these commandments, 15 if you reject my statutes and loathe my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant, 16 then I, in turn, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you—with consumption and fever to dim the eyes and sap the life. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will consume the crop. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be beaten down before your enemies and your foes will lord it over you. You will flee though no one pursues you.

18 If even after this you do not obey me, I will increase the chastisement for your sins sevenfold, 19 to break your proud strength. I will make the sky above you as hard as iron, and your soil as hard as bronze, 20 so that your strength will be spent in vain; your land will bear no crops, and its trees no fruit.

21 If then you continue hostile, unwilling to obey me, I will multiply my blows sevenfold, as your sins deserve. 22 I will unleash wild beasts against you, to rob you of your children and wipe out your livestock, till your population dwindles away and your roads become deserted.

23 If, with all this, you still do not accept my discipline and continue hostile to me, 24 I, too, will continue to be hostile to you and I, for my part, will smite you for your sins sevenfold. 25 I will bring against you the sword, the avenger of my covenant. Though you then huddle together in your cities, I will send pestilence among you, till you are delivered to the enemy. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women will need but one oven for baking your bread, and they shall dole it out to you by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27 If, despite all this, you disobey and continue hostile to me, 28 I will continue in my hostile rage toward you, and I myself will discipline you for your sins sevenfold, 29 till you begin to eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will demolish your high places, overthrow your incense stands, and cast your corpses upon the corpses of your idols. In my loathing of you, 31 I will lay waste your cities and desolate your sanctuaries, refusing your sweet-smelling offerings. 32 So devastated will I leave the land that your enemies who come to live there will stand aghast at the sight of it. 33 And you I will scatter among the nations at the point of my drawn sword, leaving your countryside desolate and your cities deserted. 34 Then shall the land, during the time it lies waste, make up its lost sabbaths, while you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land have rest and make up for its sabbaths 35 during all the time that it lies desolate, enjoying the rest that you would not let it have on your sabbaths when you lived there.

36 Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies, I will make so fainthearted that the sound of a driven leaf will pursue them, and they shall run as if from the sword, and fall though no one pursues them; 37 stumbling over one another as if to escape a sword, while no one is after them—so helpless will you be to take a stand against your foes! 38 You shall perish among the nations, swallowed up in your enemies’ country. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in the lands of their enemies, for their own and their ancestors’ guilt.

40 [bx]They will confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors in their treachery against me and in their continued hostility toward me, 41 so that I, too, had to be hostile to them and bring them into their enemies’ land. Then, when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac; and also my covenant with Abraham I will remember. The land, too, I will remember. 43 The land will be forsaken by them, that in its desolation without them, it may make up its sabbaths, and that they, too, may make good the debt of their guilt for having spurned my decrees and loathed my statutes. 44 Yet even so, even while they are in their enemies’ land, I will not reject or loathe them to the point of wiping them out, thus making void my covenant with them; for I, the Lord, am their God. 45 I will remember for them the covenant I made with their forebears, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt before the eyes of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.

46 These are the statutes, decrees and laws which the Lord established between himself and the Israelites through Moses on Mount Sinai.

Footnotes:

  1. 17:3–4 Any animal slaughtered must be brought to the tent of meeting as an offering. This differs from Dt 12:15–28, which allows those living too far from the temple to slaughter an animal for food at home without offering it as a sacrifice.
  2. 17:4 Guilty of bloodshed: human beings and animals can incur blood guilt for killing human beings (cf. Gn 9:5–6); human beings can incur blood guilt for killing animals (see note on Lv 24:17–22).
  3. 17:7 Demons: for Hebrew śe‘îrîm, lit., “goats.” Like the demon Azazel (cf. 16:8, 10, 21–22), they dwell in the open country (17:5). Cf. Is 13:21; 34:14.
  4. 17:11 To make atonement: this is probably to be understood in the context of liability for shedding animal blood (cf. v. 4). Placing the blood on the altar exonerates the slaughterer from guilt for the killing. See note on 16:6.
  5. 17:13 Hunting: game animals are not permitted as offerings. One nonetheless has to treat the blood of these animals carefully by covering it with earth. Cf. Dt 12:16, 24.
  6. 18:2 I, the Lord, am your God: this declaration appears frequently elsewhere throughout chaps. 17–26, sometimes with a statement of God’s holiness or his sanctifying activity. It emphasizes the importance of the laws and the relationship of the divine lawgiver to the people.
  7. 18:5 Find life: in Dt 30:15–20 Moses sets before the people life and death. The alternatives are set out in detail in Lv 26 and Dt 28. Cf. Ez 20:11, 13, 21.
  8. 18:6–23 These laws deal with illicit sexual behavior. Lv 20:10–21 reiterates most of these cases, with penalties. Cf. also Dt 27:15–26; Ez 22:7–12. The ordering of the cases in Lv 18 seems to be: blood relatives (vv. 6–13), those related by marriage (vv. 14–18), then other cases (vv. 19–23).
  9. 18:6 Close relative: this refers to a blood relative and includes those not specifically mentioned in the list, such as one’s own daughter and a full sister. Have sexual intercourse: lit., “to uncover nakedness.”
  10. 18:7–8 Cf. the story of Reuben lying with Bilhah, his father’s concubine and Rachel’s maid (Gn 35:22; 49:4).
  11. 18:9, 11 Cf. actual or possible marriage to a half sister in Gn 20:12 and 2 Sm 13:13.
  12. 18:10 Daughter incest is found in the story of Lot (Gn 19:30–38).
  13. 18:15 Judah had intercourse with his daughter-in-law Tamar (Gn 38), but did not know her true identity until her pregnancy was discovered.
  14. 18:16 This refers to cohabiting with one’s sister-in-law not only while the brother is alive, but also after he is dead. Dt 25:5–10 allows for the marriage to the wife of a brother when that brother died without a male heir. Cf. Gn 38:6–14. It was the violation of this law of Leviticus which aroused the wrath of John the Baptist against Herod Antipas (Mt 14:4; Mk 6:18).
  15. 18:20 Adultery in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East is intercourse between a married or betrothed woman and any male. In the Bible it is generally punishable by the death of both individuals (20:10; cf. Dt 22:22–27). Intercourse with an unmarried or unbetrothed woman is not prohibited but carries responsibilities and fines (cf. Ex 22:15–16; Dt 22:28–29). Cf. Lv 19:20–22.
  16. 18:21 Immolation to Molech: the reference is to the custom of sacrificing children to the god Molech. Cf. Ez 16:20–21; 20:26, 31; 23:37. See note on Lv 20:1–5.
  17. 19:2 Be holy, for I…am holy: in the writings commonly attributed to the Priestly collection, Israel is called to be holy through obeying God’s precepts (11:44–45; 20:7–8, 24–26; Nm 15:40–41). Cf. Dt 14:2, 21; 26:19; and Ex 19:6.
  18. 19:3–4 Cf. the Decalogue laws on revering parents (Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16), keeping sabbaths (Ex 20:8–11; Dt 5:12–15), and not making or worshiping idols (Ex 20:2–6; Dt 5:7–10).
  19. 19:9–10 The Israelites maintain the poor in part by letting them gather unharvested portions of fields and vineyards. Cf. 23:22; Ru 2:1–10.
  20. 19:11–13 Cf. the Decalogue commandments against stealing (Ex 20:15; Dt 5:19), wrongly using God’s name (Ex 20:7; Dt 5:11), and swearing falsely against another (Ex 20:16; Dt 5:20).
  21. 19:14 In Dt 27:18 a curse falls on the head of the one who misleads the blind.
  22. 19:17–18 These verses form a unit and describe different attitudes and actions towards one’s fellow Israelites. A separate passage is necessary to advise a similar attitude toward aliens (vv. 33–34). Cf. 25:39–46. The admonition at the end of v. 18 came to be viewed in Judaism and Christianity as one of the central commandments. (See Mt 22:34–40; Mk 12:28–34; Lk 10:25–28; cf. Mt 19:19; Rom 13:8–10; Gal 5:14). The New Testament urges love for enemies as well as neighbors (Mt 5:43–48; Lk 6:27–36; cf. Prv 25:21–22).
  23. 19:19 One reason why mixtures are prohibited seems to be that they are holy (see Dt 22:9, 10–11). Israelites are allowed mixtures in the wearing of fringes on the edges or corners of their clothing (Nm 15:37–41; Dt 22:12). Some mixtures are considered abominations (cf. Lv 18:23; Dt 22:5).
  24. 19:20–22 On adultery, see note on 18:20. Here it is not adultery in the technical sense since the woman is not free. A reparation offering is required as a penalty (see 5:14–26).
  25. 19:26 Recite charms…soothsaying: methods of divination (cf. Gn 44:5, 15; Is 2:6; Ez 21:26–28). Legitimate means of learning the future or God’s will were through the Urim and Thummim stones (see Lv 8:8), lots (see Lv 16:8) and prophets (cf. Dt 18:9–22; 1 Sm 28:6–7).
  26. 19:28 Do not tattoo yourselves: see note on Gn 4:15. This prohibition probably refers only to the common ancient Near Eastern practice of branding a slave with its owner’s name as well as branding the devotees of a god with its name.
  27. 19:36 Ephah: see note on Is 5:10; hin: see note on Ez 45:24.
  28. 20:1–5 The term Molech may refer to a deity, perhaps with an underworld association, and the activity forbidden here may be connected with divination. Cf. Dt 18:10; 2 Kgs 17:17; 21:6. In the kingdom of Judah the cult appears to have been practiced in the Valley of Hinnom, just outside Jerusalem on the west and south (2 Kgs 23:10; Jer 32:35).
  29. 20:9 Curses father or mother…put to death: this is more than a simple expletive uttered in anger against one’s parents. See note on Ex 21:17.
  30. 20:9–21 Bloodguilt: these penalties, beginning with cursing one’s parents, reflect the concerns of a patriarchal society that the breakdown of one’s relations with one’s parents can lead to the breakdown of all other familial relationships, resulting in the breakdown of society.
  31. 20:10–21 See 18:6–23 and notes there. It appears that the inclusion of various penalties in 20:10–21 accounts for the different order of the cases here compared to the order found in 18:6–23. The reason why the offenses in 20:10–21 carry different penalties, however, is not clear. Perhaps the cases in vv. 17–21 were considered slightly less serious, being condemned but not criminally prosecuted.
  32. 20:17 Cut off: see note on 7:20.
  33. 21:1–12 While off duty the regular priests are not to become corpse-contaminated except for the close relatives listed in vv. 2–3. While on duty they presumably could not become impure at all. The high priest is restricted from all corpse contamination, on or off duty (vv. 11–12). Lay Israelites are not restricted from corpse contamination, except when in contact with what is holy (cf. Dt 26:14). See note on Lv 11:39–40. Israelites who undertake a nazirite vow enter into a sanctified state and cannot contact corpses (Nm 6:6–12). Cf. Ez 44:25–27.
  34. 21:4 Husband among his kindred: this probably refers to relatives by marriage and may even include his wife.
  35. 21:7 The ideal seems to be that a priest marry a virgin. This is explicitly stated for the high priest (cf. vv. 13–14; so also Ez 44:22, except there priests may marry widows of priests). The high priest has the added limitation that his wife must come from his kindred, i.e., the priestly family (cf. Ez 44:22).
  36. 21:16–23 Though priests with certain bodily imperfections cannot serve at the altar (vv. 18–20), they are not impure, since they may still eat of the offerings, which are holy, and do so within the sanctuary precincts since it is there the most holy offerings are to be eaten (v. 22).
  37. 22:1–16 While priests with bodily imperfections may eat the holy sacrifices (21:16–23), those impure and those not of the priestly household may not.
  38. 22:3–8 On uncleanness, see chaps. 11–15 and notes there.
  39. 22:8 See note on 11:39–40.
  40. 22:11 Slave: in contrast to the tenant or hired worker of v. 10, the slave, who is by definition a foreigner, is part of the priest’s household and therefore may eat of sacrifices.
  41. 22:12–13 A priest’s daughter, when a dependent of her father, may eat of the lesser holy offerings.
  42. 22:17–25 This passage complements the section on the bodily imperfections of priests in 21:16–23. The laws taken together indicate that whoever and whatever approaches and contacts the altar needs to be physically unimpaired.
  43. 22:23 Burnt offerings and communion sacrifices brought as voluntary offerings may have slight defects, probably because they are freely given and do not depend upon a prior promise as do votive offerings.
  44. 22:26–30 Other activities and procedures that would impair sacrifice are appended here. The rules in vv. 27–28 are reminiscent of the rule not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk (Ex 23:19; 34:26; Dt 14:21) and not to take a bird and its eggs (Dt 22:6–7), all of which have a humanitarian tenor.
  45. 23:1–44 This is paralleled by another calendar from the Priestly tradition, in Nm 28–29. Non-Priestly resumes of festal and holy observances are found in Ex 23:10–17; 34:18–24 and Dt 16:1–17.
  46. 23:3 Sabbath of complete rest: the sabbath and the Day of Atonement are called “sabbaths of complete rest” (Ex 16:23; 31:15; 35:2; Lv 16:31; 23:32). Work of any sort is prohibited on these days (Lv 23:3, 28; Nm 29:7) as opposed to other holy days where only laborious work is prohibited but light work, such as preparing food, is allowed (Ex 12:16; cf. Lv 23:7, 8, 21, 25, 35, 36; Nm 28:18, 25, 26; 29:1, 12, 35).
  47. 23:5–6 The Passover of the Lord…feast of Unleavened Bread: the two occasions were probably separate originally. Combined they celebrate the exodus from Egypt. Cf. Ex 12:1–20, 43–49; Nm 28:16–25.
  48. 23:9–14 Around Passover a first fruits offering is to be brought (see 2:14), consisting of a sheaf of barley, the crop that matures at this time of year.
  49. 23:11 Day after the sabbath: the singular term shabbat “sabbath” may mean “week” here and refer to the seven-day period of the feast of Unleavened Bread. According to this interpretation, the barley sheaf is offered the day after the week of Unleavened Bread. Others understand it as referring to the first or last day of Unleavened Bread.
  50. 23:16–21 Fifty days: Pentecost. This festival occurs on a single day, fifty days after the feast of Unleavened Bread, elsewhere called the “feast of the Harvest” (Ex 23:16), “Day of First Fruits” (Nm 28:26), and “feast of Weeks” (Ex 34:22; Dt 16:10, 16). The name Pentecost comes from the later Greek term for the holy day (cf. Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Cor 16:8), referring to the fiftieth day. This is the occasion for bringing the first fruits of the wheat harvest.
  51. 23:24 First day of the seventh month: the seventh new moon is counted from a new year beginning in the spring (cf. v. 5). Like the seventh day in the week, it is preeminent among the new moon days (cf. Nm 28:11–15; 29:1–6).
  52. 23:27 Day of Atonement: see chap. 16 and notes there.
  53. 23:34 Feast of Booths: this is the final harvest festival of the year celebrating the remaining harvest. It is called the “feast of Ingathering” (Ex 23:16; 34:22), the “feast of Booths” (Lv 23:34; Dt 16:13), or simply the “feast” (1 Kgs 8:65). It is a seven-day festival with an eighth closing day. The first and eighth days are rest days (see note on v. 3).
  54. 23:37–38 This appears to be the original conclusion of the chapter.
  55. 23:39–43 The feast of the Lord: the feast of Booths, the preeminent festival. This section supplements vv. 33–36 by prescribing the popular activities for the festival.
  56. 23:40–43 Fruit…branches…boughs: the fruit and/or foliage from these trees is to be gathered, but it is not said how they are used. The command to make merry suggests they may have been used in a procession or even circumambulation of the altar (cf. Ps 26:6). Later tradition understood these prescriptions as referring to making the booths out of the foliage (Neh 8:15).
  57. 24:1–4 On the lamp, see Ex 25:31–40; 26:35; 27:20–21; 37:17–24; 40:24–25; Nm 8:1–4. It occupies the south side of the anterior room of the sanctuary tent and provides light for that room.
  58. 24:5–9 On the bread table, see Ex 25:23–29; 26:35; 37:10–16; 40:22–23. It occupies the north side of the anterior room of the sanctuary tent. The bread is a type of grain offering (see note on 2:1).
  59. 24:10–22 This is a narrative where an offense leads to clarifying revelation similar to the cases in Lv 10:1–7 and 16:1–34; Nm 9:6–14 and 15:32–36.
  60. 24:14 Laid their hands: see notes on 1:4 and 16:21. It may be that blasphemy generated a type of pollution which the hearers return to the culprit by this gesture.
  61. 24:17–22 A digression dealing with bodily injury follows the blasphemy rules. It may have been appended since the first case is another example of the death penalty. But the section develops according to its own logic. All legal traditions require death for homicide: Gn 9:5–6; Ex 21:12–14; Nm 35:9–34; Dt 19:1–13; cf. Ex 20:13 and Dt 5:17.
  62. 24:19–20 The phrase “life for a life” in v. 18 leads to introducing the law of talion in vv. 19–20. Some have interpreted the law here and the similar expressions in Ex 21:23–25 and Dt 19:21 to mean that monetary compensation equal to the injury is to be paid, though the wording of the law here and the context of Dt 19:21 indicate an injury is to be inflicted upon the injurer.
  63. 25:2–7 As every seventh day is to be a day of rest (cf. 23:3), so every seventh year is a year of rest (cf. 26:34–35, 43). The rest consists in not doing agricultural work. The people are to live off what grows naturally in the fields (vv. 6–7). Verses 19–22 add insurance by saying that God will make the sixth-year crop abundant such that its excess will stretch over the seventh sabbatical year as well as the eighth year when new crops are not yet harvested (cf. 26:10). Cf. Ex 23:10–11.
  64. 25:8–17 The fiftieth year is the jubilee, determined by counting off “seven weeks of years.” It is sacred, like the sabbath day. Specifically, in it indentured Israelites return to their own households and land that has been sold returns to its original owner. Different laws are found in Ex 21:1–6; Dt 15:1–3, 12–18 (cf. Jer 34:8–22).
  65. 25:9 Seventh month: the priestly laws reflect the use of two calendars, one starting in the spring (cf. chap. 23) and one in the fall. The jubilee is calculated on the basis of the latter. Ram’s horn: Hebrew shophar. The name for the year, jubilee (Heb. yobel), also means “ram’s horn” and comes from the horn blown to announce the occasion.
  66. 25:23–55 This is a series of laws dealing mainly with situations of poverty in which one has to sell land, obtain a loan, or become indentured. Many of the laws are connected with the release of debts in the jubilee year.
  67. 25:25 A close family member is responsible for redemption. Some of these are specified in v. 49.
  68. 25:29–31 Not being able to redeem a house in a walled city after one year is probably due to the demographic and economic situation of large towns as opposed to small villages and open agricultural areas. The agricultural lands associated with the latter were the foundation for the economic viability of the Israelite family, and as such, God—who is the ultimate owner of the land (25:23)—has assigned them to the Israelites as permanent holdings.
  69. 25:32–34 An exception to the rule in vv. 29–31 is made for levitical cities (Nm 35:1–8), since the Levites have no broad land holdings. Their houses can be redeemed and are to be released in the jubilee year.
  70. 25:36 Interest in advance or accrued interest: two types of interest are mentioned here. The former may refer to interest subtracted from the loaned amount in advance, and the latter, to interest or a payment in addition to the loaned amount.
  71. 25:39–43 Here the individual Israelite has no assets and must become indentured to another Israelite for economic survival. No provision is given for redemption before the jubilee year, though such is probably allowed.
  72. 25:44–46 While Israelites may not be held as permanent slaves (vv. 39–43, 47–55), foreigners may be. They are not released in the jubilee, but may be bequeathed to one’s children. They may be treated as “slaves,” i.e., harshly (cf. Ex 21:20–21).
  73. 26:1–46 This chapter concludes the revelation of laws at Mount Sinai (cf. v. 46). Blessings and curses are also found at the end of Deuteronomy’s law collection (Dt 28). Similar lists of blessings and curses appear in the conclusions of ancient Near Eastern treaties.
  74. 26:3–13 The blessings are concerned with the well-being of the nation and its land and involve agricultural bounty, national security, military success and population growth.
  75. 26:14–46 To encourage obedience, the list of punishments is longer than the blessings (cf. a similar proportion in Dt 28). The punishments are presented in waves (vv. 14–17, 18–20, 21–22, 23–26, 27–39), one group following another if the people do not return to obedience. Punishments involve sickness, pestilence, agricultural failure and famine, attack of wild animals, death of the people’s children, destruction of illicit and even licit cults, military defeat, panic, and exile.
  76. 26:40–45 Even though the people may be severely punished, God will remember the covenant when the people repent.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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