18
Feb
11

The Jubilee Year

In Leviticus 25, we find the concept of the Jubilee year – once every fifty years, property and slaves revert back to their original state.  Some items of note:

  • Leviticus 25:10 “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.” This is my favorite part – returning to the family and your own people.  I find a lot of parallels in this event that should be mirrored in our own society.  It reminds me of the verse in Malachi 4:6“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” The Jubilee is meant to be a restorative time for families, and for them to be rejoined.  In my opinion, family is an incredibly important institution.
  • Leviticus 25:14-17 – Land is not permanently sold to others, but reverts back to the original owners in the Jubilee year.  Prices are set based on the number of crops to be had until the next Jubilee.  Imagine how this would change people’s viewpoint toward the acquisition and stockpiling of wealth.  And why is the land not to be transferred between people?  It is a reminder that the land belongs to the Lord (verse 23).
  • Leviticus 25:29-31 – Curiously, if you sell a house that exists inside a walled city, the transfer is permanent and doesn’t revert back to the original owner in the Jubilee year.  But if the house is outside of town, it does.  I’m speculating that this may have something to do once again with the land, and not the house.
  • Leviticus 25:39-43 – if a fellow Israelite has sold himself as a hired worker, he is freed in the year of Jubilee.  Slaves from other nations are not (verse 46).

There is a good deal of this chapter devoted to the idea of redemption of land and property – that is, land that is mortgaged to another may be bought back and restored to the original owner whenever they are able to afford the price.  I wonder if God set forth the concepts of Jubilee and redemption as a forerunner to grace and forgiveness?

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