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“Then the land will make up for its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land. At that time the land will rest and make up for its sabbaths. Bible

“make up for.” In certain contexts, the Hebrew verb ratsah (#07521 רָצָה) means to “make up for,” “pay for,” “expiate,” and this is one of those cases. The land was supposed to rest every seven years, but Israel never did fully keep that command and allow the land to rest, which built up a debt that had to be made up for, satisfied, or paid off. A number of modern versions have “make up for” (cp. HCSB; NAB; NET; JPS Torah Commentary). The CJB has “repaid,” and Rotherham has “pay off.” This same word occurs in Isaiah 40:2, that the iniquity of Israel has been “paid off,” and thus pardoned, because she received from Yahweh “double” for all her sins. This verse in Leviticus is an early example showing that sin was sometimes thought of in terms of a debt, something that was much more fully developed during and after the Babylonian Captivity and during New Testament times. [For a more complete understanding of sin, see commentary on 1 John 1:7, “sin.”


Commentary for: Leviticus 26:34