Leviticus 25

1 The LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai,
2 "Tell the Israelites: When you come into the land I'm giving you, the land will celebrate a year to honor the LORD.
3 Then, for six years you may plant crops in your fields, prune your vineyards, and gather what they produce.
4 However, the seventh year will be a festival year for the land. It will be a year to honor the LORD. Don't plant crops in your fields or prune your vineyards.
5 Don't harvest what grows by itself or harvest grapes from your vines. That year will be a festival for the land.
6 Whatever the land produces during that year is for all of you to eat--for you, your male and female slaves, your hired workers, foreigners among you,
7 your animals, and the wild animals in your land. Everything the land produces will be yours to eat.
8 "Count seven of these years seven times for a total of 49 years.
9 On the tenth day of the seventh month, the special day for the payment for sin, sound rams' horns throughout the country.
10 Set apart the fiftieth year as holy, and proclaim liberty to everyone living in the land. This is your jubilee year. Every slave will be freed in order to return to his property and to his family.
11 That fiftieth year will be your jubilee year. Don't plant or harvest what grows by itself or pick grapes from the vines in the land.
12 The jubilee [year] will be holy to you. You will eat what the field itself produces.
13 "In this jubilee year every slave will be freed in order to return to his property.
14 If you sell anything to your neighbor or buy anything from him, don't take advantage of him.
15 When you buy property from your neighbor, take into account the number of years since the jubilee. Your neighbor must sell it to you taking into account the number of crops [until the next jubilee].
16 If there are still many years [until the jubilee], you will pay more for it. If there are only a few years [until the jubilee], you will pay less for it because he is selling you only the number of crops.
17 Never take advantage of each other. Fear your God, because I am the LORD your God.
18 "Obey my laws, and carefully follow my rules. Then you will live securely in the land.
19 The land will give you its products, and you will eat all you want and live there securely.
20 You may ask, 'What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or bring in our crops?'
21 I will give you my blessing in the sixth year so that the land will produce enough for three years.
22 You will plant [again] in the eighth year but live on what the land already produced. You will eat it, even in the ninth year, until the land produces more.
23 "Land must never be sold permanently, because the land is mine. To me you are strangers without permanent homes.
24 People must always have the right to buy their property back.
25 If your brother becomes poor and sells some of his property, then the one who can assume responsibility, his nearest relative, must buy back what he sold.
26 If a man doesn't have anyone to buy it back for him, but if he prospers and earns enough to buy it back himself,
27 he must count the years from its sale. Then he will pay what is left to the man to whom he sold it, and it will be his property again.
28 However, if he cannot earn enough to buy it back, what he sold stays in the hands of the buyer until the year of jubilee. In the jubilee it will be released, and he will own it again.
29 "If anyone sells a home in a walled city, for one year after selling it he has the right to buy it back. He may buy it back only within that time.
30 If he does not buy it back during that year, the house in the city belongs to the buyer for generations to come. It will not be released in the jubilee.
31 However, houses in villages without walls are regarded as belonging to the fields of the land. They can be bought back. They will be released in the jubilee.
32 "The Levites always have the right to buy back their property in the cities they own.
33 If any Levite buys back [a house], in the jubilee the purchased house in the city will be released, because the houses in the Levite cities are their property among the Israelites.
34 But a field that belongs to their cities must not be sold, because it is their permanent property.
35 "If an Israelite becomes poor and cannot support himself, help him. He must live with you as a stranger without a permanent home.
36 Don't collect interest or make any profit from him. Fear your God by respecting other Israelites' lives.
37 Never collect any kind of interest on your money or on the food you give them.
38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you Canaan and to be your God.
39 "If an Israelite becomes poor and sells himself to you, don't work him like a slave.
40 He will be like a hired worker or a visitor to you. He may work with you until the year of jubilee.
41 Then you will release him and his children to go back to their family and the property of their ancestors.
42 They are my servants. I brought them out of Egypt. They must never be sold as slaves.
43 Do not treat them harshly. Fear your God.
44 "You may have male and female slaves, but buy them from the nations around you.
45 You may also buy them from the foreigners living among you and from their families born in your country. They will be your property.
46 You may acquire them for yourselves and for your descendants as permanent property. You may work them as slaves. However, do not treat the Israelites harshly. They are your relatives.
47 "Someone who is a foreigner without a permanent home among you may become rich, and your relative living with him may be poor. The poor Israelite may sell himself to that foreigner or a member of his family.
48 After he has sold himself, he has the right to be bought back. One of his brothers may buy him back.
49 His uncle, his cousin, or some other relative could also buy him back. If he becomes rich, he could buy his own freedom.
50 Then he and his buyer must take into account the number of years from the year he was bought until the year of jubilee. His sale price will be adjusted based on the number of years he was with his buyer, like the wages of a hired worker.
51 If there are many years left, he must refund from his purchase price an amount equal [to those years].
52 If there are only a few years left until the year of jubilee, he must take them into account. He must refund from his purchase price an amount equal to those years.
53 During those years he should serve his buyer as a hired worker. His buyer should not treat him harshly.
54 If he cannot buy his freedom in these ways, he and his children will be released in the year of jubilee.
55 "The Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants. I brought them out 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.

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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