Sustained by God’s Word of Peace and Justice
Leviticus 27:16-34: Today’s reading concludes the book of Leviticus and describes laws pertaining to the sale of lands dedicated to the LORD and laws pertaining to various offerings.
One tenth of all the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the LORD.
16If any of you dedicate part of your land to the Lord, the price shall be set according to the amount of seed it takes to sow it, at the rate of ten pieces of silver per bushel of barley.17If you dedicate the land immediately after a Year of Restoration, the full price applies.18If you dedicate it any time later, the priest shall estimate the cash value according to the number of years left until the next Year of Restoration, and set a reduced price.19If you wish to buy your field back, you must pay the price plus an additional 20 percent.20If you sell the field to someone else without first buying it back from the Lord, you 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 you dedicate to the Lord a field that you have bought,23the priest shall estimate its value according to the number of years until the next Year of Restoration, and you 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 the descendants.
25All prices shall be set according to the official standard.
26The first-born 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 first-born of an unclean animal may be bought back at the standard price plus an additional 20 percent. If it is not bought back, it may be sold to someone else at the standard price.
28 None of you may sell or buy back what you have unconditionally dedicated to the Lord, whether it is a human being, an animal, or land. It belongs permanently to the Lord.29Not even human beings who have been unconditionally dedicated may be bought back; they must be put to death.
30 One tenth of all the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the Lord.31If you wish to buy any of it back, you must pay the standard price plus an additional 20 percent.32One of every ten domestic animals belongs to the Lord. When the animals are counted, every tenth one belongs to the Lord.33You may not arrange the animals so that the poor animals are chosen, and you may not make any substitutions. If you do 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.
Much of what is described in the book of Leviticus, such as what is found in chapter 27, is not part of modern-day life. The law described in verses 28 and 29 indicates that something dedicated completely to the LORD could not be used by anyone else and had to be destroyed. This law most often applied to towns and people captured in war (see Numbers 21:1-3; Joshua 6:16, 17). Ten percent, as cited in verse 30, traditionally known as a tithe, refers to the tenth that is holy or dedicated to the LORD’s sacred place of worship. In what ways does your community dedicate offerings to the LORD? What stood out for you in today’s reading?
Lord God, teach me to lead a life of service that glorifies and honors you and reflects your love for all people. Amen.
Congregational treasurers and financial secretaries
Numbers 28:1-15: Laws pertaining to daily sacrifices are described.