The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD.
For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.
But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.
Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.
Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you-- for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you,
as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
"'Count off seven sabbaths of years-- seven times seven years-- so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years.
Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.
Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.
The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.
For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
"'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.
"'If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other.
You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops.
When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what he is really selling you is the number of crops.
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.
"'Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.
Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.
You may ask, "What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?"
I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.
While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.
"'The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.
Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
"'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold.
If, however, a man has no one to redeem it for him but he himself prospers and acquires sufficient means to redeem it,
he is to determine the value for the years since he sold it and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it; he can then go back to his own property.
But if he does not acquire the means to repay him, what he sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and he can then go back to his property.
"'If a man sells a house in a walled city, he retains the right of redemption a full year after its sale. During that time he may redeem it.
If it is not redeemed before a full year has passed, the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to the buyer and his descendants. It is not to be returned in the Jubilee.
But houses in villages without walls around them are to be considered as open country. They can be redeemed, and they are to be returned in the Jubilee.
"'The Levites always have the right to redeem their houses in the Levitical towns, which they possess.
So the property of the Levites is redeemable-- that is, a house sold in any town they hold-- and is to be returned in the Jubilee, because the houses in the towns of the Levites are their property among the Israelites.
But the pastureland belonging to their towns must not be sold; it is their permanent possession.
"'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you.
Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you.
You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
"'If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave.
He is to be treated as a hired worker or a temporary resident among you; he is to work for you until the Year of Jubilee.
Then he and his children are to be released, and he will go back to his own clan and to the property of his forefathers.
Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves.
Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.
"'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
"'If an alien or a temporary resident among you becomes rich and one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself to the alien living among you or to a member of the alien's clan,
he retains the right of redemption after he has sold himself. One of his relatives may redeem him:
An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in his clan may redeem him. Or if he prospers, he may redeem himself.
He and his buyer are to count the time from the year he sold himself up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for his release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired man for that number of years.
If many years remain, he must pay for his redemption a larger share of the price paid for him.
If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, he is to compute that and pay for his redemption accordingly.
He is to be treated as a man hired from year to year; you must see to it that his owner does not rule over him ruthlessly.
"'Even if he is not redeemed in any of these ways, he and his children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee,
for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!
Of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.
I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.
But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.
My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD.
"Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense."
When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.
I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,
as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
"About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?'
"'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. "'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied.
My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
"'What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. "'Get up,' the Lord said, 'and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.'
My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
"A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him.
"Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'
"When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance
and saw the Lord speaking. 'Quick!' he said to me. 'Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'
"'Lord,' I replied, 'these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you.
And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.'
"Then the Lord said to me, 'Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"
The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"
As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,
the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.
As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?"
When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. "What are you going to do?" he asked. "This man is a Roman citizen."
The commander went to Paul and asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes, I am," he answered.
Then the commander said, "I had to pay a big price for my citizenship." "But I was born a citizen," Paul replied.
Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.