Punishments for Disobedience
“However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them. I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!
“And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.
“If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted.
“And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies. I will destroy your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake bread for their families. They will ration your food by weight, and though you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.
“If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins. Then you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. I will destroy your pagan shrines and knock down your places of worship. I will leave your lifeless corpses piled on top of your lifeless idols,[a] and I will despise you. I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of pagan worship. I will take no pleasure in your offerings that should be a pleasing aroma to me. Yes, I myself will devastate your land, and your enemies who come to occupy it will be appalled at what they see. I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years as it lies desolate while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed. As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.
“And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall even when no one pursues you. Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword. You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies. Those of you who survive will waste away in your enemies’ lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
“But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. Then 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 must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.
“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.
- 26:30 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
Redemption of Gifts Offered to the Lord
The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate someone to the Lord by paying the value of that person, here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekels[a] of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel. A woman of that age is valued at thirty shekels[b] of silver. A boy between the ages of five and twenty is valued at twenty shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten shekels[c] of silver. A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five shekels of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three shekels[d] of silver. A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen shekels of silver; a woman of that age is valued at ten shekels[e] of silver. If you desire to make such a vow but cannot afford to pay the required amount, take the person to the priest. He will determine the amount for you to pay based on what you can afford.
“If your vow involves giving an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord, any gift to the Lord will be considered holy. You may not exchange or substitute it for another animal—neither a good animal for a bad one nor a bad animal for a good one. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy. If your vow involves an unclean animal—one that is not acceptable as an offering to the Lord—then you must bring the animal to the priest. He will assess its value, and his assessment will be final, whether high or low. If you want to buy back the animal, you must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent.
“If someone dedicates a house to the Lord, the priest will come to assess its value. The priest’s assessment will be final, whether high or low. If the person who dedicated the house wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the house will again be his.
“If someone dedicates to the Lord a piece of his family property, its value will be assessed according to the amount of seed required to plant it—fifty shekels of silver for a field planted with five bushels of barley seed.[f] If the field is dedicated to the Lord in the Year of Jubilee, then the entire assessment will apply. But if the field is dedicated after the Year of Jubilee, the priest will assess the land’s value in proportion to the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. Its assessed value is reduced each year. If the person who dedicated the field wants to buy it back, he must pay the value set by the priest, plus 20 percent. Then the field will again be legally his. But if he does not want to buy it back, and it is sold to someone else, the field can no longer be bought back. When the field is released in the Year of Jubilee, it will be holy, a field specially set apart[g] for the Lord. It will become the property of the priests.
“If someone dedicates to the Lord a field he has purchased but which is not part of his family property, the priest will assess its value based on the number of years left until the next Year of Jubilee. On that day he must give the assessed value of the land as a sacred donation to the Lord. In the Year of Jubilee the field must be returned to the person from whom he purchased it, the one who inherited it as family property. (All the payments must be measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel,[h] which equals twenty gerahs.)
“You may not dedicate a firstborn animal to the Lord, for the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats already belong to him. However, you may buy back the firstborn of a ceremonially unclean animal by paying the priest’s assessment of its worth, plus 20 percent. If you do not buy it back, the priest will sell it at its assessed value.
“However, anything specially set apart for the Lord—whether a person, an animal, or family property—must never be sold or bought back. Anything devoted in this way has been set apart as holy, and it belongs to the Lord. No person specially set apart for destruction may be bought back. Such a person must be put to death.
“One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.”
These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
- 27:3 Or 20 ounces [570 grams].
- 27:4 Or 12 ounces [342 grams].
- 27:5 Or A boy . . . 8 ounces [228 grams] of silver; a girl . . . 4 ounces [114 grams].
- 27:6 Or A boy . . . 2 ounces [57 grams] of silver; a girl . . . 1.2 ounces [34 grams].
- 27:7 Or A man . . . 6 ounces [171 grams] of silver; a woman . . . 4 ounces [114 grams].
- 27:16 Hebrew 50 shekels [20 ounces or 570 grams] of silver for a homer [220 liters] of barley seed.
- 27:21 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; also in 27:28, 29.
- 27:25 Each shekel was about 0.4 ounces [11 grams] in weight.