Leviticus 25

Listen to Leviticus 25

The Sabbath Year

1 1The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying,
2 "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into 2the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD.
3 For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard 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 3You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or 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 provide food for you, for yourself and for your male and female slaves and for your hired servant and the sojourner who lives with you,
7 and for your cattle and for the wild animals that are in your land: 4all its yield shall be for food.

The Year of Jubilee

8 "You shall count seven weeks[a] of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years.
9 Then you shall sound 5the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. 6On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land.
10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and 7proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of 8you shall return to his clan.
11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it 9you shall neither sow nor reap 10what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines.
12 For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. 11You may eat the produce of the field.[b]
13 12"In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property.
14 And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, 13you shall not wrong one another.
15 14You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops.
16 If the years are many, you shall increase the price, and if the years are few, you shall reduce the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you.
17 15You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the LORD your God.
18 16"Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then 17you will dwell in the land securely.
19 18The land will yield its fruit, and 19you will eat your fill 20and dwell in it securely.
20 And if you say, 21'What shall we eat in the seventh year, if 22we may not sow or gather in our crop?'
21 I will 23command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years.
22 24When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating some of 25the old crop; you shall eat the old until the ninth year, when its crop arrives.

Redemption of Property

23 "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for 26the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.
24 And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.
25 "If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, 27then his nearest redeemer shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.
26 If a man has no one to redeem it and then himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it,
27 let 28him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property.
28 But if he has not sufficient means to recover it, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of the buyer until the year of jubilee. In the jubilee it shall 29be released, and 30he shall return to his property.
29 "If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a year of its sale. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption.
30 If it is not redeemed within a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong in perpetuity to the buyer, throughout his generations; 31it shall not be released in the jubilee.
31 But the houses of the villages that have no wall around them shall be classified with the fields of the land. They may be redeemed, and 32they shall be released in the jubilee.
32 As for 33the cities of the Levites, the Levites may redeem at any time the houses in the cities they possess.
33 And if one of the Levites exercises his right of redemption, then the house that was sold in a city they possess shall be released in the jubilee. For the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the people of Israel.
34 But the fields 34of pastureland belonging to their cities may not be sold, for that is their possession forever.

Kindness for Poor Brothers

35 "If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, 35you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.
36 36Take no interest from him or profit, but 37fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
37 38You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.
38 39I 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 40"If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave:
40 he shall be with you as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee.
41 41Then he shall go out from you, 42he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return 43to the possession of his fathers.
42 For they are 44my servants,[c] whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves.
43 45You shall not rule over him 46ruthlessly but 47shall fear your God.
44 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you.
45 48You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property.
46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel 49you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

Redeeming a Poor Man

47 "If a stranger or sojourner with you becomes rich, and 50your brother beside him becomes poor and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you or to a member of the stranger's clan,
48 then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him,
49 or his uncle or his cousin may 51redeem him, or a close relative from his clan may redeem him. Or if he 52grows rich he may redeem himself.
50 He shall calculate with his buyer from the year when he sold himself to him until the year of jubilee, and the price of his sale shall vary with the number of years. The time he was with his owner shall be 53rated as the time of a hired servant.
51 If there are still many years left, he shall pay proportionately for his redemption some of his sale price.
52 If there remain but a few years until the year of jubilee, he shall calculate and pay for his redemption in proportion to his years of service.
53 He shall treat him as a servant hired year by year. 54He shall not rule ruthlessly over him in your sight.
54 And if he is not redeemed by these means, then 55he and his children with him shall be released in the year of jubilee.
55 For it is 56to me that the people of Israel are servants.[d] They are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

The sabbath of rest for the land in the seventh year. (1-7) The jubilee of the fiftieth year, Oppression forbidden. (8-22) Redemption of the land and houses. (23-34) Compassion towards the poor. (35-38) Laws respecting bondmen, Oppression forbidden. (39-55)

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, ( John 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.

Cross References 56

  • 1. Leviticus 26:46
  • 2. Exodus 23:10, 11; [Leviticus 26:34, 35; 2 Chronicles 36:21]
  • 3. [2 Kings 19:29]; Isaiah 37:30
  • 4. ver. 12
  • 5. [Leviticus 23:24; Isaiah 27:13]
  • 6. Leviticus 23:24, 27
  • 7. Isaiah 61:1; Jer. 34:8, 13, 15, 17; Ezekiel 46:17; [Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 63:4; Luke 4:19]
  • 8. Leviticus 27:24; Numbers 36:4
  • 9. ver. 4, 5
  • 10. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 11. ver. 6, 7
  • 12. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 13. [Leviticus 19:33]
  • 14. Leviticus 27:18, 23
  • 15. ver. 36, 43; Leviticus 19:14, 32
  • 16. See Leviticus 18:4, 5
  • 17. Leviticus 26:5, 6; Deuteronomy 12:10; [Proverbs 1:33; Jeremiah 23:6; Ezekiel 34:25, 28]
  • 18. Psalms 85:12; Ezekiel 34:26, 27
  • 19. Leviticus 26:5; Deuteronomy 11:15; [Joel 2:19, 26]
  • 20. [See ver. 18 above]
  • 21. [Matthew 6:25, 31; Luke 12:22, 29]
  • 22. ver. 4, 5
  • 23. Deuteronomy 28:8
  • 24. [2 Kings 19:29]
  • 25. Leviticus 26:10
  • 26. Deuteronomy 32:43; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Psalms 85:1; Hosea 9:3; Joel 2:18; Joel 3:2
  • 27. Ruth 2:20; Ruth 3:9, 12; Ruth 4:4, 6; Jeremiah 32:7, 8
  • 28. See ver. 50-52
  • 29. Leviticus 27:21
  • 30. ver. 13, 41
  • 31. [See ver. 28 above]
  • 32. [See ver. 28 above]
  • 33. [Numbers 35:2]; See Joshua 21:2-40
  • 34. Numbers 35:2; 1 Chronicles 13:2; [Acts 4:36, 37]; See Joshua 21:11-42; 1 Chronicles 6:55-81
  • 35. Deuteronomy 15:7, 8; [Psalms 41:1; Psalms 112:5, 9; Proverbs 14:31; Acts 11:29; 1 John 3:17]
  • 36. See Exodus 22:25
  • 37. ver. 17, 43; Nehemiah 5:9; [Malachi 3:5]
  • 38. [See ver. 36 above]
  • 39. ver. 42, 55; Leviticus 22:32, 33; Leviticus 26:13
  • 40. Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12; 1 Kings 9:22; 2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:5
  • 41. [See ver. 28 above]
  • 42. [Exodus 21:3]
  • 43. ver. 13, 28
  • 44. ver. 55; [Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 7:23]
  • 45. [Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1]
  • 46. Exodus 1:13, 14; Ezekiel 34:4
  • 47. ver. 17, 36
  • 48. Isaiah 14:1, 2; Isaiah 56:3, 6
  • 49. Exodus 1:13, 14; Ezekiel 34:4
  • 50. ver. 25, 35, 39
  • 51. See Nehemiah 5:1-5
  • 52. ver. 26, 47
  • 53. Job 7:1; Isaiah 16:14; Isaiah 21:16
  • 54. [See ver. 46 above]
  • 55. ver. 41; Exodus 21:2, 3
  • 56. ver. 42

Footnotes 4

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the Israelites are directed, when come into the land of Canaan, to observe every seventh year as a sabbatical year, in which there was to be no tillage of the land, and yet there would be a sufficiency for man and beast, Le 25:1-7; and every fiftieth year as a year of jubilee, in which also there was to be no tillage of the land, and every man was to return to his possession or estate, which had been sold to another any time before this, Le 25:8-17; and a promise of safety and plenty in the seventh year is made to encourage the observance of it, Le 25:18-22; and several laws and rules are delivered out concerning the sale of lands, the redemption of them, and their return to their original owner in the year of jubilee, Le 25:23-28; and the sale of houses, and the redemption of them, and the difference between those in walled cities and those in villages, with respect thereunto, Le 25:29-31; and also concerning the houses of the cities of the Levites, and the fields of the suburbs of them, Le 25:32-34; to which are added some instructions about relieving decayed, persons, and lending and giving to them, without taking usury of them, Le 25:34-38; and other laws concerning the release of such Israelites as had sold themselves for servants to the Israelites, in the year of jubilee, since none but Heathens were to be bondmen and bondmaids for ever, Le 25:39-46; and of such who were sold to proselytes, Le 25:47-55.

Leviticus 25 Commentaries

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