Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 32

Leviticus 24–27, Psalms 17, 19

Bible text(s)

Taking Care of the Lamps

(Ex 27.20–21)

1The LORD told Moses 2to give the following orders to the people of Israel: Bring pure olive oil of the finest quality for the lamps in the Tent, so that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3Each evening Aaron shall light them and keep them burning until morning, there in the LORD's presence outside the curtain in front of the Covenant Box, which is in the Most Holy Place. This regulation is to be observed for all time to come. 4Aaron shall take care of the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold and must see that they burn regularly in the LORD's presence.

The Bread Offered to God

5Take twelve kilogrammes of flour and bake twelve loaves of bread. 6Put the loaves in two rows, six in each row, on the table covered with pure gold, which is in the LORD's presence. 7Put some pure incense on each row, as a token food offering to the LORD to take the place of the bread. 8Every Sabbath, for all time to come, the bread must be placed in the presence of the LORD. This is Israel's duty for ever. 9The bread belongs to Aaron and his descendants, and they shall eat it in a holy place, because this is a very holy part of the food offered to the LORD for the priests.

An Example of Just and Fair Punishment

10-11There was a man whose father was an Egyptian and whose mother was an Israelite named Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri from the tribe of Dan. There in the camp this man quarrelled with an Israelite. During the quarrel he cursed God, so they took him to Moses, 12put him under guard, and waited for the LORD to tell them what to do with him.

13The LORD said to Moses, 14“Take that man out of the camp. Everyone who heard him curse shall put his hands on the man's head to testify that he is guilty, and then the whole community shall stone him to death. 15Then tell the people of Israel that anyone who curses God must suffer the consequences 16and be put to death. Any Israelite or any foreigner living in Israel who curses the LORD shall be stoned to death by the whole community.

17“Anyone who commits murder shall be put to death, 18and anyone who kills an animal belonging to someone else must replace it. The principle is a life for a life.

19“If anyone injures another person, whatever he has done shall be done to him. 20If he breaks a bone, one of his bones shall be broken; if he blinds him in one eye, one of his eyes shall be blinded; if he knocks out a tooth, one of his teeth shall be knocked out. Whatever injury he causes another person shall be done to him in return. 21Whoever kills an animal shall replace it, but whoever kills a human being shall be put to death. 22This law applies to all of you, to Israelites and to foreigners living among you, because I am the LORD your God.”

23When Moses had said this to the people of Israel, they took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death. In this way the people of Israel did what the LORD had commanded Moses.

Leviticus 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Seventh Year

(Deut 15.1–11)

1The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and commanded him 2to give the following regulations to the people of Israel. When you enter the land that the LORD is giving you, you shall honour the LORD by not cultivating the land every seventh year. 3You shall sow your fields, prune your vineyards, and gather your crops for six years. 4But the seventh year is to be a year of complete rest for the land, a year dedicated to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not even harvest the corn that grows by itself without being sown, and do not gather the grapes from your unpruned vines; it is a year of complete rest for the land. 6Although the land has not been cultivated during that year, it will provide food for you, your slaves, your hired men, the foreigners living with you, 7your domestic animals, and the wild animals in your fields. Everything that it produces may be eaten.

The Year of Restoration

8Count seven times seven years, a total of 49 years. 9Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement, send someone to blow a trumpet throughout the whole land. 10In this way you shall set the fiftieth year apart and proclaim freedom to all the inhabitants of the land. During this year all property that has been sold shall be restored to the original owner or his descendants, and anyone who has been sold as a slave shall return to his family. 11You shall not sow your fields or harvest the corn that grows by itself or gather the grapes in your unpruned vineyards. 12The whole year shall be sacred for you; you shall eat only what the fields produce of themselves.

13In this year all property that has been sold shall be restored to its original owner. 14So when you sell land to your fellow-Israelite or buy land from him, do not deal unfairly. 15The price is to be fixed according to the number of years the land can produce crops before the next Year of Restoration. 16If there are many years, the price shall be higher, but if there are only a few years, the price shall be lower, because what is being sold is the number of crops the land can produce. 17Do not cheat a fellow-Israelite, but obey the LORD your God.

The Problem of the Seventh Year

18Obey all the LORD's laws and commands, so that you may live in safety in the land. 19The land will produce its crops, and you will have all you want to eat and will live in safety.

20But someone may ask what there will be to eat during the seventh year, when no fields are sown and no crops gathered. 21The LORD will bless the land in the sixth year so that it will produce enough food for two years. 22When you sow your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating what you harvested during the sixth year, and you will have enough to eat until the crops you plant that year are harvested.

Restoration of Property

23Your land must not be sold on a permanent basis, because you do not own it; it belongs to God, and you are like foreigners who are allowed to make use of it.

24When land is sold, the right of the original owner to buy it back must be recognized. 25If an Israelite becomes poor and is forced to sell his land, his closest relative is to buy it back. 26Anyone who has no relative to buy it back may later become prosperous and have enough to buy it back. 27In that case he must pay to the man who bought it a sum that will make up for the years remaining until the next Year of Restoration, when he would in any event recover his land. 28But if he does not have enough money to buy the land back, it remains under the control of the man who bought it until the next Year of Restoration. In that year it will be returned to its original owner.

29If someone sells a house in a walled city, he has the right to buy it back during the first full year from the date of sale. 30But if he does not buy it back within the year, he loses the right of repurchase, and the house becomes the permanent property of the purchaser and his descendants; it will not be returned in the Year of Restoration. 31But houses in unwalled villages are to be treated like fields; the original owner has the right to buy them back, and they are to be returned in the Year of Restoration. 32However, Levites have the right to buy back at any time their property in the cities assigned to them. 33If a house in one of these cities is sold by a Levite and is not bought back, it must be returned in the Year of Restoration, because the houses which the Levites own in their cities are their permanent property among the people of Israel. 34But the pasture land round the Levite cities shall never be sold; it is their property for ever.

Loans to the Poor

35If a fellow-Israelite living near you becomes poor and cannot support himself or herself, you must provide for them as you would for hired servants, so that they can continue to live near you. 36Do not charge them any interest, but obey God and let your fellow-Israelites live near you. 37Do not make them pay interest on the money you lend them, and do not make a profit on the food you sell them. 38This is the command of the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt in order to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Release of Slaves

39If a fellow-Israelite living near you becomes so poor that he sells himself to you as a slave, you shall not make him do the work of a slave. 40He shall stay with you as a hired servant and serve you until the next Year of Restoration. 41At that time he and his children shall leave you and return to his family and to the property of his ancestors. 42The people of Israel are the LORD's slaves, and he brought them out of Egypt; they must not be sold into slavery. 43Do not treat them harshly, but obey your God. 44If you need slaves, you may buy them from the nations round you. 45You may also buy the children of the foreigners who are living among you. Such children born in your land may become your property, 46and you may leave them as an inheritance to your sons, whom they must serve as long as they live. But you must not treat any of your fellow-Israelites harshly.

47Suppose a foreigner living with you becomes rich, while a fellow-Israelite becomes poor and sells himself as a slave to that foreigner or to a member of his family. 48After he is sold, he still has the right to be bought back. One of his brothers 49or his uncle or his cousin or another of his close relatives may buy him back; or if he himself earns enough, he may buy his own freedom. 50He must consult the one who bought him, and they must count the years from the time he sold himself until the next Year of Restoration and must set the price for his release on the basis of the wages paid to a hired servant. 51-52He must refund a part of the purchase price according to the number of years left, 53as if he had been hired on an annual basis. His master must not treat him harshly. 54If he is not set free in any of these ways, he and his children must be set free in the next Year of Restoration. 55An Israelite cannot be a permanent slave, because the people of Israel are the LORD's slaves. He brought them out of Egypt; he is the LORD their God.

Leviticus 25GNBOpen in Bible reader

Blessings for Obedience

(Deut 7.12–24; 28.1–14)

1The LORD said, “Do not make idols or set up statues, stone pillars, or carved stones to worship. I am the LORD your God. 2Keep the religious festivals and honour the place where I am worshipped. I am the LORD.

3“If you live according to my laws and obey my commands, 4I will send you rain at the right time, so that the land will produce crops and the trees will bear fruit. 5Your crops will be so plentiful that you will still be harvesting corn when it is time to pick grapes, and you will still be picking grapes when it is time to sow corn. You will have all that you want to eat, and you will live in safety in your land.

6“I will give you peace in your land, and you will sleep without being afraid of anyone. I will get rid of the dangerous animals in the land, and there will be no more war there. 7You will be victorious over your enemies; 8five of you will be able to defeat a hundred, and a hundred will be able to defeat 10,000. 9I will bless you and give you many children; I will keep my part of the covenant that I made with you. 10Your harvests will be so plentiful that they will last for a year, and even then you will have to throw away what is left of the old harvest to make room for the new. 11I will live among you in my sacred tent, and I will never turn away from you. 12I will be with you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13I, the LORD your God, brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves. I broke the power that held you down and I let you walk with your head held high.”

Punishment for Disobedience

(Deut 28.15–68)

14The LORD said, “If you will not obey my commands, you will be punished. 15If you refuse to obey my laws and commands and break the covenant I have made with you, 16I will punish you. I will bring disaster on you — incurable diseases and fevers that will make you blind and cause your life to waste away. You will sow your seed, but it will do you no good, because your enemies will conquer you and eat what you have grown. 17I will turn against you, so that you will be defeated, and those who hate you will rule over you; you will be so terrified that you will run when no one is chasing you.

18“If even after all this you still do not obey me, I will increase your punishment seven times. 19I will break your stubborn pride; there will be no rain, and your land will be dry and as hard as iron. 20All your hard work will do you no good, because your land will not produce crops and the trees will not bear fruit.

21“If you still continue to resist me and refuse to obey me, I will again increase your punishment seven times. 22I will send dangerous animals among you, and they will kill your children, destroy your livestock, and leave so few of you that your roads will be deserted.

23“If after all this punishment you still do not listen to me, but continue to defy me, 24then I will turn on you and punish you seven times harder than before. 25I will bring war on you to punish you for breaking our covenant, and if you gather in your cities for safety, I will send incurable diseases among you, and you will be forced to surrender to your enemies. 26I will cut off your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake all the bread they have. They will ration it out, and when you have eaten it all, you will still be hungry.

27“If after all this you still continue to defy me and refuse to obey me, 28then in my anger I will turn on you and again make your punishment seven times worse than before. 29Your hunger will be so great that you will eat your own children. 30I will destroy your places of worship on the hills, tear down your incense altars, and throw your dead bodies on your fallen idols. In utter disgust 31I will turn your cities into ruins, destroy your places of worship, and refuse to accept your sacrifices. 32I will destroy your land so completely that the enemies who occupy it will be shocked at the destruction. 33I will bring war on you and scatter you in foreign lands. Your land will be deserted, and your cities left in ruins. 34-35Then the land will enjoy the years of complete rest that you would not give it; it will lie abandoned and get its rest while you are in exile in the land of your enemies.

36“I will make those of you who are in exile so terrified that the sound of a leaf blowing in the wind will make you run. You will run as if you were being pursued in battle, and you will fall when there is no enemy near you. 37You will stumble over one another when no one is chasing you, and you will be unable to fight against any enemy. 38You will die in exile, swallowed up by the land of your enemies. 39The few of you who survive in the land of your enemies will waste away because of your own sin and the sin of your ancestors.

40“But your descendants will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors, who resisted me and rebelled against me, 41and made me turn against them and send them into exile in the land of their enemies. At last, when your descendants are humbled and they have paid the penalty for their sin and rebellion, 42I will remember my covenant with Jacob and with Isaac and with Abraham, and I will renew my promise to give my people the land. 43First, however, the land must be rid of its people, so that it can enjoy its complete rest, and they must pay the full penalty for having rejected my laws and my commands. 44But even then, when they are still in the land of their enemies, I will not completely abandon or destroy them. That would put an end to my covenant with them, and I am the LORD their God. 45I will renew the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I showed all the nations my power by bringing my people out of Egypt, in order that I, the LORD, might be their God.”

46All these are the laws and commands that the LORD gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel.

Leviticus 26GNBOpen in Bible reader

Laws concerning Gifts to the LORD

1The LORD gave Moses 2the following regulations for the people of Israel. When a person has been given to the LORD in fulfilment of a special vow, that person may be set free by the payment of the following sums of money, 3-7according to the official standard:

    — adult male, twenty to sixty years old: fifty pieces of silver
    — adult female: thirty pieces of silver
    — young male, five to twenty years old: twenty pieces of silver
    — young female: ten pieces of silver
    — infant male under five: five pieces of silver
    — infant female: three pieces of silver
    — male above sixty years of age: fifteen pieces of silver
    — female above sixty: ten pieces of silver.

8If anyone who made the vow is too poor to pay the standard price, he or she shall bring the person to the priest, and the priest will set a lower price, according to the ability of that person to pay.

9If the vow concerns an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the LORD, then every gift made to the LORD is sacred, 10and anyone who made the vow may not substitute another animal for it. If he does, both animals belong to the LORD. 11But if the vow concerns a ritually unclean animal, which is not acceptable as an offering to the LORD, the man shall take the animal to the priest. 12The priest shall fix a price for it, according to its good or bad qualities, and the price will be final. 13If the person wishes to buy it back, he must pay the price plus an additional twenty per cent.

14When someone dedicates his house to the LORD, the priest shall fix the price according to its good or bad points, and the price will be final. 15If the one who dedicated the house wishes to buy it back, he must pay the price plus an additional twenty per cent.

16If someone dedicates part of his land to the LORD, the price shall be fixed according to the amount of seed it takes to sow it, at the rate of ten pieces of silver for every twenty kilogrammes of barley. 17If he dedicates the land immediately after a Year of Restoration, the full price applies. 18If he dedicates it later, the priest shall estimate the cash value according to the number of years left until the next Year of Restoration, and fix a reduced price. 19If the one who dedicated the field wishes to buy it back, he or she must pay the price plus an additional twenty per cent. 20If they sell the field to someone else without first buying it back from the LORD, they lose the right to buy it back. 21At the next Year of Restoration the field will become the LORD's permanent property; it shall belong to the priests.

22If someone dedicates to the LORD a field that he has bought, 23the priest shall estimate its value according to the number of years until the next Year of Restoration, and the person must pay the price that very day; the money belongs to the LORD. 24At the Year of Restoration the field shall be returned to the original owner or to his descendants.

25All prices shall be fixed according to the official standard.

26The firstborn of an animal already belongs to the LORD, so no one may dedicate it to him as a freewill offering. A calf, a lamb, or a kid belongs to the LORD, 27but the firstborn of an unclean animal may be bought back at the standard price plus an additional twenty per cent. If it is not bought back, it may be sold to someone else at the standard price.

28No one may sell or buy back what he has unconditionally dedicated to the LORD, whether it is a human being, an animal, or land. It belongs permanently to the LORD. 29Not even a human being who has been unconditionally dedicated may be bought back; he must be put to death.

30One-tenth of all the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the LORD. 31If a man wishes to buy any of it back, he must pay the standard price plus an additional twenty per cent. 32One out of every ten domestic animals belongs to the LORD. When the animals are counted, every tenth one belongs to the LORD. 33The owner may not arrange the animals so that the poor animals are chosen, and he may not make any substitutions. If he does substitute one animal for another, then both animals will belong to the LORD and may not be bought back.

34These are the commands that the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel.

Leviticus 27GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Prayer of an Innocent Person

1Listen, O LORD, to my plea for justice;

pay attention to my cry for help!

Listen to my honest prayer.

2You will judge in my favour,

because you know what is right.

3You know my heart.

You have come to me at night;

you have examined me completely

and found no evil desire in me.

4I speak no evil as others do;

I have obeyed your command

and have not followed paths of violence.

5I have always walked in your way

and have never strayed from it.

6I pray to you, O God, because you answer me;

so turn to me and listen to my words.

7Reveal your wonderful love and save me;

at your side I am safe from my enemies.

8Protect me as you would your very eyes;

hide me in the shadow of your wings

9from the attacks of the wicked.

Deadly enemies surround me;

10they have no pity and speak proudly.

11They are round me now, wherever I turn,

watching for a chance to pull me down.

12They are like lions, waiting for me,

wanting to tear me to pieces.

13Come, LORD! Oppose my enemies and defeat them!

Save me from the wicked by your sword;

14save me from those who in this life have all they want.

Punish them with the sufferings you have stored up for them;

may there be enough for their children

and some left over for their children's children!

15But I will see you, because I have done no wrong;

and when I awake, your presence will fill me with joy.

God's Glory in Creation

1How clearly the sky reveals God's glory!

How plainly it shows what he has done!

2Each day announces it to the following day;

each night repeats it to the next.

3No speech or words are used,

no sound is heard;

4yet their message goes out to all the world

and is heard to the ends of the earth.

God made a home in the sky for the sun;

5it comes out in the morning like a happy bridegroom,

like an athlete eager to run a race.

6It starts at one end of the sky

and goes across to the other.

Nothing can hide from its heat.

The Law of the LORD

7The law of the LORD is perfect;

it gives new strength.

The commands of the LORD are trustworthy,

giving wisdom to those who lack it.

8The laws of the LORD are right,

and those who obey them are happy.

The commands of the LORD are just

and give understanding to the mind.

9Reverence for the LORD is good;

it will continue for ever.

The judgements of the LORD are just;

they are always fair.

10They are more desirable than the finest gold;

they are sweeter than the purest honey.

11They give knowledge to me, your servant;

I am rewarded for obeying them.

12No one can see his own errors;

deliver me, LORD, from hidden faults!

13Keep me safe, also, from wilful sins;

don't let them rule over me.

Then I shall be perfect

and free from the evil of sin.

14May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you,

O LORD, my refuge and my redeemer!

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