Punishment for Disobedience
“ ‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
“ ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.
“ ‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
“ ‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.
“ ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies26:30 Or your funeral offerings on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I myself will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.
“ ‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors’ sins they will waste away.
“ ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.’ ”
These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the Lord established at Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.
Redeeming What Is the Lord’s
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels27:3 That is, about 1 1/4 pounds or about 575 grams; also in verse 16 of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel27:3 That is, about 2/5 ounce or about 12 grams; also in verse 25; for a female, set her value at thirty shekels27:4 That is, about 12 ounces or about 345 grams; for a person between the ages of five and twenty, set the value of a male at twenty shekels27:5 That is, about 8 ounces or about 230 grams and of a female at ten shekels27:5 That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams; also in verse 7; for a person between one month and five years, set the value of a male at five shekels27:6 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams of silver and that of a female at three shekels27:6 That is, about 1 1/4 ounces or about 35 grams of silver; for a person sixty years old or more, set the value of a male at fifteen shekels27:7 That is, about 6 ounces or about 175 grams and of a female at ten shekels. If anyone making the vow is too poor to pay the specified amount, the person being dedicated is to be presented to the priest, who will set the value according to what the one making the vow can afford.
“ ‘If what they vowed is an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, such an animal given to the Lord becomes holy. They must not exchange it or substitute a good one for a bad one, or a bad one for a good one; if they should substitute one animal for another, both it and the substitute become holy. If what they vowed is a ceremonially unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—the animal must be presented to the priest, who will judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the priest then sets, that is what it will be. If the owner wishes to redeem the animal, a fifth must be added to its value.
“ ‘If anyone dedicates their house as something holy to the Lord, the priest will judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the priest then sets, so it will remain. If the one who dedicates their house wishes to redeem it, they must add a fifth to its value, and the house will again become theirs.
“ ‘If anyone dedicates to the Lord part of their family land, its value is to be set according to the amount of seed required for it—fifty shekels of silver to a homer27:16 That is, probably about 300 pounds or about 135 kilograms of barley seed. If they dedicate a field during the Year of Jubilee, the value that has been set remains. But if they dedicate a field after the Jubilee, the priest will determine the value according to the number of years that remain until the next Year of Jubilee, and its set value will be reduced. If the one who dedicates the field wishes to redeem it, they must add a fifth to its value, and the field will again become theirs. If, however, they do not redeem the field, or if they have sold it to someone else, it can never be redeemed. When the field is released in the Jubilee, it will become holy, like a field devoted to the Lord; it will become priestly property.
“ ‘If anyone dedicates to the Lord a field they have bought, which is not part of their family land, the priest will determine its value up to the Year of Jubilee, and the owner must pay its value on that day as something holy to the Lord. In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to the person from whom it was bought, the one whose land it was. Every value is to be set according to the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel.
“ ‘No one, however, may dedicate the firstborn of an animal, since the firstborn already belongs to the Lord; whether an ox27:26 The Hebrew word can refer to either male or female. or a sheep, it is the Lord’s. If it is one of the unclean animals, it may be bought back at its set value, adding a fifth of the value to it. If it is not redeemed, it is to be sold at its set value.
“ ‘But nothing that a person owns and devotes27:28 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord. to the Lord—whether a human being or an animal or family land—may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the Lord.
“ ‘No person devoted to destruction27:29 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them. may be ransomed; they are to be put to death.
“ ‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must add a fifth of the value to it. Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord. No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’ ”
These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.