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Leviticus - Chapter 25

Bible Study Notes

Leviticus 25:1-7 After entering the promised land, they shall keep a Sabbath for the land on the seventh year (They shall do no work on the fields). Whatever grows naturally, they shall take and eat, them and their families, sojourners, and animals.

Notes: This involves revitalization of the land. The seventh year of rest would invigorate and replenish the nutrients in the soil. Whatever grew naturally was free to all for the taking

Leviticus 25:8-22 Year of Jubilee – Every 50 years they shall celebrate this feast, sounding the trumpet on the 10th of the seventh month (Day of Atonement) and consecrate it by proclaiming liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. Everyone shall return to their own property and clans. No sowing or reaping for the entire year, but eat what grows natural. Those bound by work contracts were released and their slaves were made free. No one shall take advantage of anyone by means of buying or selling during this year. The Lord will provide an abundance of crops miraculously during that year sufficient for three years.

Notes: The land is to lie fallow for two years in a row: the forty-ninth year (sabbatical year) and the fiftieth year (jubilee).

Leviticus 25:23-34 Land sold is not something that is truly owned forever for the land really belongs to the Lord. Property sold can be redeemed back according to the rules and regulations set by the Lord. If a person can’t afford to redeem back his property that he sold, it will be automatically given back in the Year of Jubilee. A house sold within a walled city can be redeemed within a year. If the house is not redeemed within a year, the house shall remain with buyer forever, regardless of the Year of Jubilee. The only exception to this rule are for the Levites. They may redeem at any time houses in the city and be released in the jubilee if not already done so. The fields belonging to the cities my not ever be sold for that is the possession forever for the Levite since they are not granted land like his 11 brothers, but cities within their brother’s lands.

Notes: God owns the earth and all that is in it (cf. Ps. 24:1). The people of Israel were, in fact, only tenants on the land by the Lord’s grace. Therefore ownership of property was temporary, not permanent.

Leviticus 25:35-43 Poor brothers shall be cared for by their brothers and not left homeless. Take no interest or profit from him. He shall be like a hired worker to you, not as slave. He shall serve to you until the Year of Jubilee and then be let free.

Notes: The spirit of OT slavery is revealed in these words. God, in effect, ordered that slaves be treated like family, i.e., better than employees, because they are his slaves whom he redeemed out of the slave markets of Egypt. God owned not only the land (v. 23), but also the people.

Leviticus 25:44-46 The children of Israel my buy slaves, but only from people of other nations. They may be passed down generationally.

Notes: Leviticus 25:47-55 An Israelite who sells himself to a sojourner may be redeemed by a fellow Israelite brother, cousin, or uncle. He can also redeem himself if he becomes rich. The price of his redemption will depend on the initial cost and the number of years to the Year of Jubilee. If he is not redeemed, then he must be released from the sojourner at the Year of Jubilee. The purpose behind the release of an Israelite is because ultimately, they are servants (belong) to the Lord.

Notes: The year of jubilee involved a year of release from indebtedness (vv. 23–38) and bondage of all sorts (vv. 39–55). All prisoners and captives were set free, slaves released, and debtors absolved. All property reverted to original owners. This plan curbed inflation and moderated acquisitions. It also gave new opportunity to people who had fallen on hard times.

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