Relatives and slaves (Lev 25:35-25:55)

“If any of your kin fall into difficulties and become dependent on you, you shall support them.  They shall live with you as though resident aliens.  Do not take interest in advance or otherwise make a profit from them, but fear your God.  Let them live with you.  You shall not lend them your money at interest taken in advance, or provide them food at a profit.  I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God.”

If any of your relatives fall into difficulties and become dependent on you, you shall support them as though they were resident aliens.   You cannot take interest from them or profit from them while they are living and eating in your house.  Yahweh will provide.

If any who are dependent on you become so impoverished that they sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves.  They shall remain with you as hired or bound laborers.  They shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.  Then they and their children with them shall be free from your authority.  They shall go back to their own family.  They shall return to their ancestral property.  They are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt.  They shall not be sold as slaves are sold.  You shall not rule over them with harshness, but shall fear your God.  As for your male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.  You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land.  They may be your property.   You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property.  These you may treat as slaves.  But as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.”

If any of your dependents want to sell themselves to you, you shall not make them serve as slaves.  They can be hired or bound laborers until the Jubilee year.  Then you free them because they are God’s servants since he brought them out of Egypt.  You cannot sell them as slaves.  However, you may acquire male and female slaves from the nations around you and the aliens residing with you and their families.  The human slaves of other nations are treated like your property and your possessions for your children.  There is nothing wrong with slavery, just not for your own people. As for relatives, they can work for you, but not as slaves.

“If resident aliens among you prosper, and if any of your kin fall into difficulty with one of them and sell themselves to an alien, or to a branch member of the alien’s family.  Then after they have sold themselves they shall have the right of redemption.  One of their brothers may redeem them, or their uncle, or their uncle’s son may redeem them.  Anyone of their family who is of their flesh may redeem them.  If they prosper they may redeem themselves.   They shall compute with the purchase the total from the year when they sold themselves to the alien until the jubilee year.  The price of the sale shall be applied to the number of years.  The time that they were with the owner shall be rated as the time of a hired laborer.  If many years remain, they shall pay for their redemption in proportion to the purchase price.  If few years remain until the jubilee year, they shall compute thus.  According to the years involved they shall make payment for their redemption.  As a laborer hired by the year they shall he be under the alien’s authority, who shall not rule with harshness over them in your sight.  If they have not been in any of these ways, they and their children with them shall go free in the jubilee year.   For to me the people of Israel are servants.  They are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt.  I am Yahweh your God.”

If any of your relatives sells himself to a resident alien, a brother, uncle, or cousin should redeem him.  If he prospers, he should redeem himself.  The purchase price for redemption should be based on how close you are to the Jubilee Year, using the pay scale and concept of a hired laborer. Once you hit the Jubilee Year he would be free.  The children of Israel are true servants of Yahweh and no one else.

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