|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:8-22 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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour,.... Any estate or possession, house or land, at any time before the year of jubilee:
or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand; of movable goods, as the Targum of Jonathan interprets it; and so other Jewish writers (z) restrain this to goods which are bought by hand, and delivered from hand to hand; and so they think that fields, and servants, which they say are like to fields, are excluded hereby; but it seems to refer to anything saleable, and chiefly to fields and vineyards, as the following verses show; wherefore Diodorus Siculus, as quoted by Grotius, must be mistaken, when he says, it was not counted lawful by the Jews to sell their inheritance, unless he means for ever, so indeed they could not:
ye shall not oppress one another; the buyer giving too little, or the seller requiring too much; no advantage was to be taken, either of the necessity of the one, or the ignorance of the other, but a fair bargain was to be made, and the full value given, neither too much nor too little. The Jews by "neighbour" understand an Israelite, and not a Gentile (a); not that there might be no buying and selling at all between Jews and Gentiles, or that the former might oppress and defraud the latter, though not an Israelite; but lands and inheritances might not be sold at all to Gentiles, only to Israelites.
(z) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Bava Metziah, c. 4. sect. 9. (a) Jarchi in loc.
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