Leviticus 25

The Sabbatic Year and Year of Jubilee

1 The LORD then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying,
2 "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD.
3 '1Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop,
4 but during 2the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.
5 'Your harvest's aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.
6 '3All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves *, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you.
7 'Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.
8 'You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine * years.
9 'You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on 4the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land.
10 'You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and 5proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and 6each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.
11 'You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines.
12 'For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field.
13 '7On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property.
14 'If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend or buy from your friend's hand, 8you shall not wrong one another.
15 'Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops.
16 '9In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years you shall diminish its price, for it is a number of crops he is selling to you.
17 'So 10you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.
18 'You shall thus observe My statutes and keep My judgments, so as to carry them out, that 11you may live securely on the land.
19 'Then the land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it.
20 'But if you say, "12What are we going to eat on the seventh year if we do not sow or gather in our crops?"
21 then 13I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.
22 'When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat 14old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in.

The Law of Redemption

23 'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for 15the land is Mine; for 16you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
24 'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.
25 '17If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.
26 'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption,
27 18then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.
28 'But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that 19he may return to his property.
29 'Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year.
30 'But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee.
31 'The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee.
32 'As for 20cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession.
33 'What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel.
34 '21But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.

Of Poor Countrymen

35 '22Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
36 '23Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you.
37 'You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.
38 '24I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and 25to be your God.
39 '26If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.
40 'He shall be with you as a hired man, as 27if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.
41 'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.
42 'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.
43 '28You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
44 'As for your male and female slaves * whom you may have -you may acquire male and female slaves * from the pagan nations that are around you.
45 'Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.
46 'You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. 29But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.

Of Redeeming a Poor Man

47 'Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger's family,
48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,
49 or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or 30if he prospers, he may redeem himself.
50 'He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him.
51 'If there are still many years, 31he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption;
52 and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption.
53 'Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; 32he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight.
54 'Even if he is not redeemed by these means, 33he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him.
55 'For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from 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 33

  • 1. Exodus 23:10, 11
  • 2. Leviticus 25:20
  • 3. Leviticus 25:20, 21
  • 4. Leviticus 23:27
  • 5. Jer 34:8, 15, 17
  • 6. Lev 25:13, 28, 54
  • 7. Leviticus 25:10; Leviticus 27:24
  • 8. Leviticus 25:17
  • 9. Lev 25:27, 51, 52
  • 10. Leviticus 25:14; Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 22:22; Jeremiah 7:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 4:6
  • 11. Leviticus 26:5; Deuteronomy 12:10; Jeremiah 23:6
  • 12. Leviticus 25:4
  • 13. Deuteronomy 28:8
  • 14. Leviticus 26:10
  • 15. Exodus 19:5
  • 16. Genesis 23:4; 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalms 39:12; Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11
  • 17. Ruth 2:20; Ruth 4:4, 6
  • 18. Leviticus 25:16
  • 19. Leviticus 25:10, 13
  • 20. Numbers 35:1-8; Joshua 21:2
  • 21. Numbers 35:2-5
  • 22. Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Deuteronomy 24:14, 15
  • 23. Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 23:19, 20
  • 24. Leviticus 11:45
  • 25. Genesis 17:7
  • 26. Exodus 21:2-6; Deuteronomy 15:12-18; 1 Kings 9:22
  • 27. Exodus 21:2
  • 28. Exodus 1:13, 14; Leviticus 25:46, 53; Ezekiel 34:4; Colossians 4:1
  • 29. Leviticus 25:43
  • 30. Leviticus 25:26, 27
  • 31. Leviticus 25:16
  • 32. Leviticus 25:43
  • 33. Lev 25:10, 13, 28

Footnotes 32

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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