Leviticus 25

1 The LORD said to Moses in Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. 3 You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in its fruits; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and you shall not gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. 7 For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food. 8 “‘You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field. 13 “‘In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property. 14 “‘If you sell anything to your neighbor, or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. 15 According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor. According to the number of years of the crops he shall sell to you. 16 According to the length of the years you shall increase its price, and according to the shortness of the years you shall diminish its price; for he is selling the number of the crops to you. 17 You shall not wrong one another; but you shall fear your God: for I am the LORD your God. 18 “‘Therefore you shall do my statutes, and keep my ordinances and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 The land shall yield its fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. 20 If you said, “What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase”; 21 then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bear fruit for the three years. 22 You shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the fruits, the old store; until the ninth year, until its fruits come in, you shall eat the old store. 23 “‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and live as foreigners with me. 24 In all the land of your possession you shall grant a redemption for the land. 25 “‘If your brother becomes poor, and sells some of his possessions, then his kinsman who is next to him shall come, and redeem that which his brother has sold. 26 If a man has no one to redeem it, and he becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it; 27 then let him reckon the years since its sale, and restore the surplus to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28 But if he isn’t able to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hand of him who has bought it until the Year of Jubilee: and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property. 29 “‘If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it has been sold. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption. 30 If it isn’t redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee. 31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall around them shall be accounted for with the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee. 32 “‘Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. 33 The Levites may redeem the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, and it shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession amongst the children of Israel. 34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. 35 “‘If your brother has become poor, and his hand can’t support himself amongst you; then you shall uphold him. He shall live with you like an alien and a temporary resident. 36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God; that your brother may live amongst you. 37 You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. 39 “‘If your brother has grown poor amongst you, and sells himself to you; you shall not make him to serve as a slave. 40 As a hired servant, and as a temporary resident, he shall be with you; he shall serve with you until the Year of Jubilee: 41 then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family, and to the possession of his fathers. 42 For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. They shall not be sold as slaves. 43 You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God. 44 “‘As for your male and your female slaves, whom you may have; of the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. 45 Moreover of the children of the aliens who live amongst you, of them you may buy, and of their families who are with you, which they have conceived in your land; and they will be your property. 46 You may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession; of them may you take your slaves forever; but over your brothers the children of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness. 47 “‘If an alien or temporary resident with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him has grown poor, and sells himself to the stranger or foreigner living amongst you, or to a member of the stranger’s family; 48 after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him; 49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any who is a close relative to him of his family may redeem him; or if he has grown rich, he may redeem himself. 50 He shall reckon with him who bought him from the year that he sold himself to him to the Year of Jubilee. The price of his sale shall be according to the number of years; he shall be with him according to the time of a hired servant. 51 If there are yet many years, according to them he shall give back the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52 If there remain but a few years to the year of jubilee, then he shall reckon with him; according to his years of service he shall give back the price of his redemption. 53 As a servant hired year by year shall he be with him. He shall not rule with harshness over him in your sight. 54 If he isn’t redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee, he, and his children with him. 55 For to me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

All labour was to cease in the seventh year, as much as daily labour on the seventh day. These statues tell us to beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of his possessions. We are to exercise willing dependence on God’s providence for our support; to consider ourselves the Lord’s tenants or stewards, and to use our possessions accordingly. This year of rest typified the spiritual rest which all believers enter into through Christ. Through Him we are eased of the burden of wordly care and labour, both being sanctified and sweetened to us; and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith.

Verses 8–22

The word “jubilee” signifies a peculiarly animated sound of the silver trumpets. This sound was to be made on the evening of the great day of atonement; for the proclamation of gospel liberty and salvation results from the sacrifice of the Redeemer. It was provided that the lands should not be sold away from their families. They could only be disposed of, as it were, by leases till the year of jubilee, and then returned to the owner or his heir. This tended to preserve their tribes and families distinct, till the coming of the Messiah. The liberty every man was born to, if sold or forfeited, should return at the year of jubilee. This was typical of redemption by Christ from the slavery of sin and Satan, and of being brought again to the liberty of the children of God. All bargains ought to be made by this rule, “Ye shall not oppress one another,” not take advantage of one another’s ignorance or necessity, “but thou shalt fear thy God.” The fear of God reigning in the heart, would restrain from doing wrong to our neighbour in word or deed. Assurance was given that they should be great gainers, by observing these years of rest. If we are careful to do our duty, we may trust God with our comfort. This was a miracle for an encouragement to all neither sowed or reaped. This was a miracle for an encouragement to all God’s people, in all ages, to trust him in the way of duty. There is nothing lost by faith and self-denial in obedience. Some asked, What shall we eat the seventh year? Thus many Christians anticipate evils, questioning what they shall do, and fearing to proceed in the way of duty. But we have no right to anticipate evils, so as to distress ourselves about them. To carnal minds we may appear to act absurdly, but the path of duty is ever the path of safety.

Verses 23–34

If the land were not redeemed before the year of jubilee, it then returned to him that sold or mortgaged it. This was a figure of the free grace of God in Christ; by which, and not by any price or merit of our own, we are restored to the favour of God. Houses in walled cities were more the fruits of their own industry than land in the country, which was the direct gift of God’s bounty; therefore if a man sold a house in a city, he might redeem it only within a year after the sale. This encouraged strangers and proselytes to come and settle among them.

Verses 35–38

Poverty and decay are great grievances, and very common; the poor ye have always with you. Thou shalt relieve him; by sympathy, pitying the poor; by service, doing for them; and by supply, giving to them according to their necessity, and thine ability. Poor debtors must not be oppressed. Observe the arguments here used against extortion: “Fear thy God.” Relieve the poor, “that they may live with thee;” for they may be serviceable to thee. The rich can as ill spare the poor, as the poor can the rich. It becomes those that have received mercy to show mercy.

Verses 39–55

A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col 4:1. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, Joh 8:32. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.

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