1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
Every seventh year the land was to be allowed to rest.
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
For one year the land was not to be dressed and kept like Adam was to have done in the Garden of Eden. It was to be left alone to grow wild.
6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.
But you could eat of that wild takeover as could your animals.
8 ¶ And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11 A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
12 For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
13 In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
14 And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another:
15 According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:
16 According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.
17 Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.
There is something prophetic about this jubilee year and I can’t figure it out. If you have any ideas let me know.
18 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.
This was a literal promise given to a literal and physical national nation, Israel. It can be applied, in principle, to any people anywhere but you harm people’s faith when you apply doctrinally passages to yourself or your country that weren’t written to you or your country.
19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
This was a promise given to Israel. There have been other, wicked countries that had an abundance of agricultural surpluses and lived in safety. But, this was promised to Israel if she lived in God’s Law.
20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
21 Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
Here is the typical promise from God that required faith to see it through. He promised that if they obeyed then certain things would happen. We have been promised that, as well, but every time when we don’t claim God’s promises for the Christian it is not because of a lacking in God but in ourselves.
22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.
23 ¶ The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
The promised land belonged to God and the Hebrews were foreigners, aliens, and temporary occupants. It is clear that God claims the land. Recent scientific discoveries show that the promised land began drying out after the Jews were dispersed from it. It appears to be the barren waste that we have of it in our popular mind after this. It is God’s land.
24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.
25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;
27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.
28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.
This is a pretty fair and equitable financial situation, don’t you think?
29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it.
30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile.
Here is an exception.
31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile.
This refers to land to be used for agriculture. Notice the difference between the two types of house with regard to location. Also notice the difference between a walled city and an unwalled village.
32 Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time.
33 And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.
34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.
The class of priests had specific rules about the condition of their ownership of property.
35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.
38 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.
A fellow Jew or a foreigner was to be taken care of and not lent money with interest or sold or given food for profit. God had been the benefactor of the Hebrews and they were sojourners in His land which He had given them.
39 ¶ And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile:
41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
42 For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.
They could not retain a fellow Hebrew as a slave. They could however hire him, because these people belonged to God.
43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
They were to be kind and easy with their Hebrew servants.
44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
They could only have slaves of the heathen that were around them.
45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
At this particular point in time, as the only Theocracy ever approved by God on earth, was being formed, this nation of former slaves was permitted to make slaves of foreigners which lived among them that they bought.
Now, this isn’t something you can easily move to our time or to any other time to justify slavery. Slavery was a fact of the ancient world. God didn’t condemn it outright and even placed constraints on it for the Hebrews. The problem is when ecclesiastical organizations and movements like the Roman Catholic Church and the “mainstream” Protestant churches claim to have taken over Israel’s promises and attempt to set up an Old Testament theocracy with their own priests as the inheritors of the Levitical priesthood then we have all sorts of problems and excuses for wickedness.
46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
These slaves were property and could be inherited. The children of Israel were not to be harsh taskmasters over each other.
47 And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family:
48 After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:
49 Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.
I think its interesting how God, in a wicked pagan world, goes about setting up a people for Himself and creates laws and rules favoring them and underlining their separation from the rest of the world.
50 And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him.
51 If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for.
52 And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption.
53 And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight.
54 And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him.
55 For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Here, the Hebrews are referred to as God’s servants.