פָּרָשַׁת בְּהַר | Parashat b’Har (Leviticus 25:1-26:2), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanḥuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017) and his website, the Sources of Biblical Narrative. As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

Legend

⬛ The kernel of biblical text upon which all other narratives were laid is thought to have been composed in the mid- to late eighth century BCE toward the end of the heyday of the northern Kingdom of Ephraim (one of the two kingdoms that occupied Biblical Israel). This layer, commonly referred to as ‘E’, is indicated with INDIGO text. The first parashah containing text of this layer was parashat Vayera in Sefer Bereshit.

⬛ The next oldest layer is thought to have been composed in the late 8th or early 7th century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer, commonly known as ‘J’, is indicated with a BLUE text.

⬛ This strata, thought to have been composed during the exilic to early post-exilic period (571–486 BCE) is, as Dr. Yoreh explains, “responsible for supplementing the ‘J’ narrative with dates, names, and numbers, thus ‘ordering’ and authenticating ‘J’s account.” This layer, commonly referred to as ‘P’ (for ‘Priestly’) appears here in GREEN text.

⬛ The next strata popularized Kohanite law for the remnant of Judah after the Temple was destroyed, and functioned as an intermediary between Kohanite lists and laws and the surrounding narrative. This layer, which Dr. Yoreh calls ‘H’ (for the ‘Holiness Code’) appears here in LIME-GREEN text.

⬛ The most recent layer of text, is a post-exilic (pre-3rd century BCE) text that Dr. Yoreh refers to as the “Bridger” which supplements earlier strata with genealogies and popular myths, providing narrative bridges between distant story cycles. This ‘B’ layer is presented here in FUCHSIA.

The kernel of biblical text ‘E,’ its early supplemental layer ‘J’, and its later supplement ‘B,’ are absent from Sefer Vayiqra (Leviticus).

Parashat b’Har (Leviticus 25:1-26:2) in the annual Torah reading cycle is preceded by parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23); parashat Beḥuqotai (Leviticus 26:3–27:34) follows it on Jewish leap years, otherwise the two parashot are combined.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

כה א וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בְּהַ֥ר סִינַ֖י לֵאמֹֽר׃ ב דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם כִּ֤י תָבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י נֹתֵ֣ן לָכֶ֑ם וְשָׁבְתָ֣ה הָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַיהֹוָֽה׃ ג שֵׁ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ תִּזְרַ֣ע שָׂדֶ֔ךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹ֣ר כַּרְמֶ֑ךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ֖ אֶת־תְּבוּאָתָֽהּ׃ ד וּבַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗ת שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָאָ֔רֶץ שַׁבָּ֖ת לַיהֹוָ֑ה שָֽׂדְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔ע וְכַרְמְךָ֖ לֹ֥א תִזְמֹֽר׃ ה אֵ֣ת סְפִ֤יחַ קְצִֽירְךָ֙ לֹ֣א תִקְצ֔וֹר וְאֶת־עִנְּבֵ֥י נְזִירֶ֖ךָ לֹ֣א תִבְצֹ֑ר שְׁנַ֥ת שַׁבָּת֖וֹן יִהְיֶ֥ה לָאָֽרֶץ׃ ו וְ֠הָיְתָ֠ה שַׁבַּ֨ת הָאָ֤רֶץ לָכֶם֙ לְאׇכְלָ֔ה לְךָ֖ וּלְעַבְדְּךָ֣ וְלַאֲמָתֶ֑ךָ וְלִשְׂכִֽירְךָ֙ וּלְתוֹשָׁ֣בְךָ֔ הַגָּרִ֖ים עִמָּֽךְ׃ ז וְלִ֨בְהֶמְתְּךָ֔ וְלַֽחַיָּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּאַרְצֶ֑ךָ תִּהְיֶ֥ה כׇל־תְּבוּאָתָ֖הּ לֶאֱכֹֽל׃
25 1 YHVH spoke to Mosheh at Mount Sinai, saying: 2 “Speak to the Children of Yisrael, and say to them: ‘When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land is to rest, a Shabbat-rest to YHVH. 3 For six years you are to sow your field, for six years you are to prune your vineyard, then you are to gather in its produce, 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Shabbat of Shabbat-rest for the land, a Shabbat to YHVH: your field you are not to sow, your vineyard you are not to prune, 5 the aftergrowth of your harvest you are not to harvest, the grapes of your consecrated-vines you are not to amass; a Shabbat of Shabbat-rest shall there be for the land! 6 Now the Shabbat-yield of the land (is) for you, for eating, for you, for your servant and for your handmaid, for your hired-hand and for your resident-settler who sojourn with you; 7 and for your behemah/domestic-animal and the ḥayah/wild-animal that (are) in your land shall be all its produce, to eat.'”

ח וְסָפַרְתָּ֣ לְךָ֗ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת שָׁנִ֔ים שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִ֖ים שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֑ים וְהָי֣וּ לְךָ֗ יְמֵי֙ שֶׁ֚בַע שַׁבְּתֹ֣ת הַשָּׁנִ֔ים תֵּ֥שַׁע וְאַרְבָּעִ֖ים שָׁנָֽה׃ ט וְהַֽעֲבַרְתָּ֞ שׁוֹפַ֤ר תְּרוּעָה֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִעִ֔י בֶּעָשׂ֖וֹר לַחֹ֑דֶשׁ בְּיוֹם֙ הַכִּפֻּרִ֔ים תַּעֲבִ֥ירוּ שׁוֹפָ֖ר בְּכׇל־אַרְצְכֶֽם׃ י וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּ֗ם אֵ֣ת שְׁנַ֤ת הַחֲמִשִּׁים֙ שָׁנָ֔ה וּקְרָאתֶ֥ם דְּר֛וֹר בָּאָ֖רֶץ לְכׇל־יֹשְׁבֶ֑יהָ יוֹבֵ֥ל הִוא֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם וְשַׁבְתֶּ֗ם אִ֚ישׁ אֶל־אֲחֻזָּת֔וֹ וְאִ֥ישׁ אֶל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ תָּשֻֽׁבוּ׃ יא יוֹבֵ֣ל הִ֗וא שְׁנַ֛ת הַחֲמִשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה תִּהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם לֹ֣א תִזְרָ֔עוּ וְלֹ֤א תִקְצְרוּ֙ אֶת־סְפִיחֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א תִבְצְר֖וּ אֶת־נְזִרֶֽיהָ׃ יב כִּ֚י יוֹבֵ֣ל הִ֔וא קֹ֖דֶשׁ תִּהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם מִ֨ן־הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה תֹּאכְל֖וּ אֶת־תְּבוּאָתָֽהּ׃ יג בִּשְׁנַ֥ת הַיּוֹבֵ֖ל הַזֹּ֑את תָּשֻׁ֕בוּ אִ֖ישׁ אֶל־אֲחֻזָּתֽוֹ׃
8 “Now you are to number yourselves seven Shabbat-cycles of years — seven years, seven times — so the time of the seven Shabbat-cycles of years will be for you (a total of) nine and forty years. 9 Then you are to give-forth (on the) shofar a blast, in the seventh New-moon, on the tenth after the New-moon, on the Yom HaKippurim/Day of Atonement, you are to give(-blast on the) shofar throughout all your land. 10 You are to hallow the year, the fiftieth year, proclaiming freedom throughout the land and to all its inhabitants; it shall be Yovel/Homebringing for you, you are to return, each-man to his holding, each-man to his clan you are to return. 11 It is Yovel, the fiftieth year — it shall be for you, you are not to sow, you are not to harvest its aftergrowth, you are not to gather its consecrated-grapes, 12 for it is Yovel, holy shall it be for you, (only) from the field may you eat its produce; 13 in this Year of Yovel you are to return, each-man to his holding.”

שני יד וְכִֽי־תִמְכְּר֤וּ מִמְכָּר֙ לַעֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ א֥וֹ קָנֹ֖ה מִיַּ֣ד עֲמִיתֶ֑ךָ אַל־תּוֹנ֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ אֶת־אָחִֽיו׃ טו בְּמִסְפַּ֤ר שָׁנִים֙ אַחַ֣ר הַיּוֹבֵ֔ל תִּקְנֶ֖ה מֵאֵ֣ת עֲמִיתֶ֑ךָ בְּמִסְפַּ֥ר שְׁנֵֽי־תְבוּאֹ֖ת יִמְכׇּר־לָֽךְ׃ טז לְפִ֣י ׀ רֹ֣ב הַשָּׁנִ֗ים תַּרְבֶּה֙ מִקְנָת֔וֹ וּלְפִי֙ מְעֹ֣ט הַשָּׁנִ֔ים תַּמְעִ֖יט מִקְנָת֑וֹ כִּ֚י מִסְפַּ֣ר תְּבוּאֹ֔ת ה֥וּא מֹכֵ֖ר לָֽךְ׃ יז וְלֹ֤א תוֹנוּ֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־עֲמִית֔וֹ וְיָרֵ֖אתָ מֵֽאֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ יח וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֙ אֶת־חֻקֹּתַ֔י וְאֶת־מִשְׁפָּטַ֥י תִּשְׁמְר֖וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֣ם אֹתָ֑ם וִֽישַׁבְתֶּ֥ם עַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ לָבֶֽטַח׃ שלישי (שני) יט וְנָתְנָ֤ה הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ פִּרְיָ֔הּ וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֖ם לָשֹׂ֑בַע וִֽישַׁבְתֶּ֥ם לָבֶ֖טַח עָלֶֽיהָ׃
14 “Now when you sell property-for-sale to your fellow or purchase (it) from the hand of your fellow, do not maltreat any-man his brother! 15 By the number of years after the Yovel you are to purchase (it) from your fellow, by the number of years of produce (left) he is to sell it to you: 16 according to the many years (left), you may charge-him-much for his purchase, according to the few years (left), you may charge-him-little for his purchase, since a (certain) number of harvests is what he is selling to you. 17 So you are not to maltreat any-man his fellow, rather, you are to hold your elo’ah in awe, for I YHVH am your elo’ah! 18 You are to observe my laws, my regulations you are to keep, and observe them, that you may be settled on the land in security, 19 that the land may give forth its fruit and that you may eat to being-satisfied, and be settled in security upon it.”

כ וְכִ֣י תֹאמְר֔וּ מַה־נֹּאכַ֖ל בַּשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑ת הֵ֚ן לֹ֣א נִזְרָ֔ע וְלֹ֥א נֶאֱסֹ֖ף אֶת־תְּבוּאָתֵֽנוּ׃ כא וְצִוִּ֤יתִי אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי֙ לָכֶ֔ם בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הַשִּׁשִּׁ֑ית וְעָשָׂת֙ אֶת־הַתְּבוּאָ֔ה לִשְׁלֹ֖שׁ הַשָּׁנִֽים׃ כב וּזְרַעְתֶּ֗ם אֵ֚ת הַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַשְּׁמִינִ֔ת וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֖ם מִן־הַתְּבוּאָ֣ה יָשָׁ֑ן עַ֣ד ׀ הַשָּׁנָ֣ה הַתְּשִׁיעִ֗ת עַד־בּוֹא֙ תְּב֣וּאָתָ֔הּ תֹּאכְל֖וּ יָשָֽׁן׃ כג וְהָאָ֗רֶץ לֹ֤א תִמָּכֵר֙ לִצְמִתֻ֔ת כִּי־לִ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ כִּֽי־גֵרִ֧ים וְתוֹשָׁבִ֛ים אַתֶּ֖ם עִמָּדִֽי׃ כד וּבְכֹ֖ל אֶ֣רֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶ֑ם גְּאֻלָּ֖ה תִּתְּנ֥וּ לָאָֽרֶץ׃
20 “Now if you should say (to yourselves): What are we to eat in the seventh year? — (for) here, we may not sow, we may not gather our produce! 21 Then I will dispatch my blessing for you during the sixth year so that it yields produce for three years; 22 you may sow the eighth year(‘s yield), but you must eat of the old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you must eat what-is-old. 23 But the land is not to be sold in-harness, for the land is mine; for you are sojourners and resident-settlers with me, 24 throughout all the land of your holdings, you are to allow for redemption of the land.”

רביעי כה כִּֽי־יָמ֣וּךְ אָחִ֔יךָ וּמָכַ֖ר מֵאֲחֻזָּת֑וֹ וּבָ֤א גֹֽאֲלוֹ֙ הַקָּרֹ֣ב אֵלָ֔יו וְגָאַ֕ל אֵ֖ת מִמְכַּ֥ר אָחִֽיו׃ כו וְאִ֕ישׁ כִּ֛י לֹ֥א יִֽהְיֶה־לּ֖וֹ גֹּאֵ֑ל וְהִשִּׂ֣יגָה יָד֔וֹ וּמָצָ֖א כְּדֵ֥י גְאֻלָּתֽוֹ׃ כז וְחִשַּׁב֙ אֶת־שְׁנֵ֣י מִמְכָּר֔וֹ וְהֵשִׁיב֙ אֶת־הָ֣עֹדֵ֔ף לָאִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר מָֽכַר־ל֑וֹ וְשָׁ֖ב לַאֲחֻזָּתֽוֹ׃ כח וְאִ֨ם לֹֽא־מָצְאָ֜ה יָד֗וֹ דֵּי֮ הָשִׁ֣יב לוֹ֒ וְהָיָ֣ה מִמְכָּר֗וֹ בְּיַד֙ הַקֹּנֶ֣ה אֹת֔וֹ עַ֖ד שְׁנַ֣ת הַיּוֹבֵ֑ל וְיָצָא֙ בַּיֹּבֵ֔ל וְשָׁ֖ב לַאֲחֻזָּתֽוֹ׃
25 “When your brother sinks down (in poverty) and has to sell (some of) his holding, his redeemer nearest-in-kin to him is to come and redeem the sold-property of his brother. 26 Now a man — if he has no redeemer, but his hand reaches (means) and finds enough to redeem with, 27 he is to reckon the years since its sale, returning the surplus to the man to whom he sold it, and it is to return to his holding. 28 But if his hand does not find enough (means) for returning it, what he sold is to remain in the hand of the one purchasing it, until the Year of Yovel, it is to go-free in the Yovel-year, and it is to return to his holding.”

חמישי (שלישי) כט וְאִ֗ישׁ כִּֽי־יִמְכֹּ֤ר בֵּית־מוֹשַׁב֙ עִ֣יר חוֹמָ֔ה וְהָיְתָה֙ גְּאֻלָּת֔וֹ עַד־תֹּ֖ם שְׁנַ֣ת מִמְכָּר֑וֹ יָמִ֖ים תִּהְיֶ֥ה גְאֻלָּתֽוֹ׃ ל וְאִ֣ם לֹֽא־יִגָּאֵ֗ל עַד־מְלֹ֣את לוֹ֮ שָׁנָ֣ה תְמִימָה֒ וְ֠קָ֠ם הַבַּ֨יִת אֲשֶׁר־בָּעִ֜יר אֲשֶׁר־ל֣וֹ לא חֹמָ֗ה לַצְּמִיתֻ֛ת לַקֹּנֶ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ לְדֹרֹתָ֑יו לֹ֥א יֵצֵ֖א בַּיֹּבֵֽל׃ לא וּבָתֵּ֣י הַחֲצֵרִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֵין־לָהֶ֤ם חֹמָה֙ סָבִ֔יב עַל־שְׂדֵ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ יֵחָשֵׁ֑ב גְּאֻלָּה֙ תִּהְיֶה־לּ֔וֹ וּבַיֹּבֵ֖ל יֵצֵֽא׃
29 “A man — if he sells a residential house in a walled town, its redemption-period (is) until the end of the year of its sale, a year-of-days shall be its redemption-period. 30 If it is not redeemed before a whole year of it has been fulfilled, the house that is in the town that has a wall shall be-established, in-harness, for him who purchases it, throughout his generations, it is not to go-free in the Yovel-year. 31 But houses in villages that do not have a wall around them, as open-fields of the land are they to be reckoned, there may be redemption for them, and in the Yovel-year they may go-free.”

לב וְעָרֵי֙ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם בָּתֵּ֖י עָרֵ֣י אֲחֻזָּתָ֑ם גְּאֻלַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֖ם תִּהְיֶ֥ה לַלְוִיִּֽם׃ לג וַאֲשֶׁ֤ר יִגְאַל֙ מִן־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם וְיָצָ֧א מִמְכַּר־בַּ֛יִת וְעִ֥יר אֲחֻזָּת֖וֹ בַּיֹּבֵ֑ל כִּ֣י בָתֵּ֞י עָרֵ֣י הַלְוִיִּ֗ם הִ֚וא אֲחֻזָּתָ֔ם בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ לד וּֽשְׂדֵ֛ה מִגְרַ֥שׁ עָרֵיהֶ֖ם לֹ֣א יִמָּכֵ֑ר כִּֽי־אֲחֻזַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֛ם ה֖וּא לָהֶֽם׃
32 “Now (as for) the towns of the Levi’im, the houses in the towns of their holding — redemption-right for the ages is to belong to the Levi’im. 33 (That) which is redeemed from the Levi’im: it is to go-free, the house sold in the town of their holding, in the Yovel-year, for houses of towns of Levi’im, they are their holding amid the Children of Yisrael. 34 But pasture-land of the field (near) their towns is not to be sold, for it is a holding for the ages for them.”

לה וְכִֽי־יָמ֣וּךְ אָחִ֔יךָ וּמָ֥טָה יָד֖וֹ עִמָּ֑ךְ וְהֶֽחֱזַ֣קְתָּ בּ֔וֹ גֵּ֧ר וְתוֹשָׁ֛ב וָחַ֖י עִמָּֽךְ׃ לו אַל־תִּקַּ֤ח מֵֽאִתּוֹ֙ נֶ֣שֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּ֔ית וְיָרֵ֖אתָ מֵֽאֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ וְחֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ עִמָּֽךְ׃ לז אֶ֨ת־כַּסְפְּךָ֔ לֹֽא־תִתֵּ֥ן ל֖וֹ בְּנֶ֑שֶׁךְ וּבְמַרְבִּ֖ית לֹא־תִתֵּ֥ן אׇכְלֶֽךָ׃ לח אֲנִ֗י יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם לָתֵ֤ת לָכֶם֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן לִהְי֥וֹת לָכֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִֽים׃
35 “Now when your brother sinks down (in poverty) and his hand falters beside you, then shall you strengthen him as (though) a ger/sojourner and ger toshav/resident-settler, and he is to live beside you. 36 Do not take from him biting-interest or profit, but hold your elo’ah in awe, so that your brother may live beside you! 37 Your silver you are not to give him at interest, for profit you are not to give (him) your food; 38 I YHVH am your elo’ah who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim to give you the land of K’naan, to be for you an elo’ah!”

ששי (רביעי) לט וְכִֽי־יָמ֥וּךְ אָחִ֛יךָ עִמָּ֖ךְ וְנִמְכַּר־לָ֑ךְ לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֥ד בּ֖וֹ עֲבֹ֥דַת עָֽבֶד׃ מ כְּשָׂכִ֥יר כְּתוֹשָׁ֖ב יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֑ךְ עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת הַיֹּבֵ֖ל יַעֲבֹ֥ד עִמָּֽךְ׃ מא וְיָצָא֙ מֵֽעִמָּ֔ךְ ה֖וּא וּבָנָ֣יו עִמּ֑וֹ וְשָׁב֙ אֶל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֔וֹ וְאֶל־אֲחֻזַּ֥ת אֲבֹתָ֖יו יָשֽׁוּב׃ מב כִּֽי־עֲבָדַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם לֹ֥א יִמָּכְר֖וּ מִמְכֶּ֥רֶת עָֽבֶד׃ מג לֹא־תִרְדֶּ֥ה ב֖וֹ בְּפָ֑רֶךְ וְיָרֵ֖אתָ מֵאֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ מד וְעַבְדְּךָ֥ וַאֲמָתְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִהְיוּ־לָ֑ךְ מֵאֵ֣ת הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֲשֶׁר֙ סְבִיבֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם מֵהֶ֥ם תִּקְנ֖וּ עֶ֥בֶד וְאָמָֽה׃ מה וְ֠גַ֠ם מִבְּנֵ֨י הַתּוֹשָׁבִ֜ים הַגָּרִ֤ים עִמָּכֶם֙ מֵהֶ֣ם תִּקְנ֔וּ וּמִמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר הוֹלִ֖ידוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶ֑ם וְהָי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה׃ מו וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּ֨ם אֹתָ֜ם לִבְנֵיכֶ֤ם אַחֲרֵיכֶם֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֲחֻזָּ֔ה לְעֹלָ֖ם בָּהֶ֣ם תַּעֲבֹ֑דוּ וּבְאַ֨חֵיכֶ֤ם בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אִ֣ישׁ בְּאָחִ֔יו לֹא־תִרְדֶּ֥ה ב֖וֹ בְּפָֽרֶךְ׃
39 “And when your brother sinks down (in poverty) beside you, and sells himself to you, you are not to make him serve the servitude of a serf; 40 as a hired-hand, as a resident-settler is he to be beside you, (only) until the Year of Yovel is he to serve beside you. 41 Then he is to go-free from beside you, he and his children beside him; he may return to his clan, to the holding of his fathers he may return. 42 For my servants are they whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim, they are not to be sold as the sale of serfs. 43 You are not to have-dominion over him with crushing-labor, rather, you are to hold your elo’ah in awe! 44 Your servant and your maid that belong to you from the nations surrounding you, from them you may purchase serf and maid; 45 also from the sons of the residents who sojourn beside you, from them you may purchase (slaves), or from their clans that are beside you, that they beget in your land, and they shall become your holdings. 46 You may keep-them-as-an-inheritance for your children after you, for (them to) possess as holdings; for the ages you may make them serve you. But as for your brothers, the Children of Yisrael, each-man toward his brother, you are not to have-dominion over him with crushing-labor!”

שביעי מז וְכִ֣י תַשִּׂ֗יג יַ֣ד גֵּ֤ר וְתוֹשָׁב֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ וּמָ֥ךְ אָחִ֖יךָ עִמּ֑וֹ וְנִמְכַּ֗ר לְגֵ֤ר תּוֹשָׁב֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ א֥וֹ לְעֵ֖קֶר מִשְׁפַּ֥חַת גֵּֽר׃ מח אַחֲרֵ֣י נִמְכַּ֔ר גְּאֻלָּ֖ה תִּהְיֶה־לּ֑וֹ אֶחָ֥ד מֵאֶחָ֖יו יִגְאָלֶֽנּוּ׃ מט אוֹ־דֹד֞וֹ א֤וֹ בֶן־דֹּדוֹ֙ יִגְאָלֶ֔נּוּ אֽוֹ־מִשְּׁאֵ֧ר בְּשָׂר֛וֹ מִמִּשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ יִגְאָלֶ֑נּוּ אֽוֹ־הִשִּׂ֥יגָה יָד֖וֹ וְנִגְאָֽל׃ נ וְחִשַּׁב֙ עִם־קֹנֵ֔הוּ מִשְּׁנַת֙ הִמָּ֣כְרוֹ ל֔וֹ עַ֖ד שְׁנַ֣ת הַיֹּבֵ֑ל וְהָיָ֞ה כֶּ֤סֶף מִמְכָּרוֹ֙ בְּמִסְפַּ֣ר שָׁנִ֔ים כִּימֵ֥י שָׂכִ֖יר יִהְיֶ֥ה עִמּֽוֹ׃ נא אִם־ע֥וֹד רַבּ֖וֹת בַּשָּׁנִ֑ים לְפִיהֶן֙ יָשִׁ֣יב גְּאֻלָּת֔וֹ מִכֶּ֖סֶף מִקְנָתֽוֹ׃ נב וְאִם־מְעַ֞ט נִשְׁאַ֧ר בַּשָּׁנִ֛ים עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת הַיֹּבֵ֖ל וְחִשַּׁב־ל֑וֹ כְּפִ֣י שָׁנָ֔יו יָשִׁ֖יב אֶת־גְּאֻלָּתֽוֹ׃ נג כִּשְׂכִ֥יר שָׁנָ֛ה בְּשָׁנָ֖ה יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמּ֑וֹ לֹֽא־יִרְדֶּ֥נּֽוּ בְּפֶ֖רֶךְ לְעֵינֶֽיךָ׃ נד וְאִם־לֹ֥א יִגָּאֵ֖ל בְּאֵ֑לֶּה וְיָצָא֙ בִּשְׁנַ֣ת הַיֹּבֵ֔ל ה֖וּא וּבָנָ֥יו עִמּֽוֹ׃ מפטיר נה כִּֽי־לִ֤י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ עֲבָדִ֔ים עֲבָדַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אוֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ כו א לֹֽא־תַעֲשׂ֨וּ לָכֶ֜ם אֱלִילִ֗ם וּפֶ֤סֶל וּמַצֵּבָה֙ לֹֽא־תָקִ֣ימוּ לָכֶ֔ם וְאֶ֣בֶן מַשְׂכִּ֗ית לֹ֤א תִתְּנוּ֙ בְּאַרְצְכֶ֔ם לְהִֽשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֖ת עָלֶ֑יהָ כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ ב אֶת־שַׁבְּתֹתַ֣י תִּשְׁמֹ֔רוּ וּמִקְדָּשִׁ֖י תִּירָ֑אוּ אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָֽה׃
47 “Now if the hand of a resident sojourner reaches (means) beside you, and your brother sinks down (in poverty) beside him, so that he sells himself to the resident sojourner beside you, or to an offshoot of the sojourner’s clan, 48 (even) after he has sold himself, redemption may be his; one of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle or the son of his uncle may redeem him, or (some) kin of his flesh, from his clan, may redeem him, or, should his hand reach (means), he may redeem-himself. 50 He is to reckon with his purchaser from the year that he was sold to him until the Year of Yovel; the silver from his sale shall be by the number of years — like the time-period of a hired-hand is he to be beside him. 51 If there are still many years (left), according to them he is to return-payment for his redemption from the silver of his purchase; 52 and if few remain in years until the Year of Yovel, he is to reckon it to him, according to its years he is to return-payment for his redemption. 53 As a hired-hand, year by year, he is to be beside him, he is not to have-dominion over him with crushing-labor before your eyes. 54 And if he has not been redeemed in (any of) these (ways), he is to go-free in the Year of Yovel, he and his children beside him. 55 For it is to me that the Children of Yisrael are servants, my servants are they, whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim, I am YHVH your elo’ah! 26 1 You are not to make for yourselves elilim/totems, a carved-image or a standing-pillar you are not to establish for yourselves, a decorated stone you are not to place in your land, to prostrate yourselves to it, for I YHVH am your elo’ah! 2 My Shabbatot you are to keep, my Holy-shrine you are to hold-in-awe, I am YHVH!”

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, names for specific sacred objects and titles, and personal names. In place of “wild-beast,” I have “wild-animal.” Instead of translating elilim as “no-gods,” I use “totems.” Instead of “cease” and “ceasing,” I have “rest.” Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes. –Aharon N. Varady

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