And Moses commanded them
The priests and the elders, to whom the law was delivered:
at the end of [every] seven years;
every seventh year was a year of rest to the land, and of remission of debts to poor debtors: at the close of this year or going out of it, according to the Misnah F20, even on the eighth year coming in, the following was to be done, namely, the reading of the law; and so Jarchi interprets it of the first year of release, the eighth, that is, the first year after the year of release; but Aben Ezra better interprets it of the beginning of the seventh year; for as he elsewhere observes on ( Deuteronomy 15:1 ) ; the word signifies the extremity of the year, and there are two extremities of it, the beginning and the end, and the first extremity is meant; which is more likely than that the reading of the law should be put off to the end of the year, and which seems to be confirmed by what follows:
in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
or "in the appointed time" F21; of the year of release, of the release of debtors from their debts, ( Deuteronomy 15:1 Deuteronomy 15:2 ) ; when the time or season appointed and fixed was come: moreover, what is here directed to being to be done at the feast of tabernacles, shows it to be at the beginning of the year, since that feast was in the month Tisri, which was originally the beginning of the year, before the coming of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and still continued so for many things, and particularly for the years of release F23; and this was a very proper time for the reading of the law, when all the increase of the earth and fruits thereof were gathered in; and so their hearts filled, or at least should be, with gladness and gratitude; and when there was no tillage of the land, being the seventh year, and so were at leisure for such service; and when all poor debtors were released from their debts, and so were freed from all cares and troubles, and could better attend unto it.
F20 Sotah, c. 7. sect. 8.
F21 (demb) "in tempore statuto", Pagninus, Montanus: stato tempor. Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F23 Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 1.