|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:23-34 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 23, 24. - For the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. Many incidental advantages, if some difficulties, arose from the jubilee law (which will be the more appreciated if we compare the evils resulting from slavery and the accumulation of land in a few hands, found in the history of Rome or any other ancient nation); but its essential features, so far as the land was concerned, was its inculcation of the lesson of the proprietorship of the Lord. Palestine was God's land: he divided it once for all in the time of Joshua among his people, and every fifty years he required that recourse should be had to that original division, in order that in each generation the people might feel themselves to be his tenants, not independent owners, possessores, not domini.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The land shall not be sold for ever,.... That is, the land of Israel; the meaning is, any part of it, for that the whole might be sold or disposed of at once is not to be supposed, but anyone part of it, which was the property of a single man, or belonged to a family; though it might be sold in case of necessity, yet not for ever, so as never to return to the owner, or his heirs; for if it was sold for ever it returned in the year of the jubilee: the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render the word "absolutely", simply, properly; a proper absolute sale was not to be made, but a conditional one, or for so many years, or with a view to its reversion in the year of jubilee, and so the agreement to be made according to the number of years, as before directed: the word, as Aben Ezra observes, signifies "cutting off", and the sense is, that no land should be sold entirely, so as that the proprietor or his heirs should be wholly cut off from it, or that the entail of it upon the family should be cut off:
for the land is mine; as indeed the whole earth is, but the land of Canaan was peculiarly his, which he had chosen above all other lands for the inheritance of his people; out of which he drove the old inhabitants of it for their sins, and put in his own people to possess it under him; where he himself had his dwelling place, and where he was served and worshipped, and where the Messiah was to be born, and was born, and therefore called Immanuel's land; and which was a figure of the better country, or the heavenly glory and happiness, which is of God's preparing and giving, and will never be alienated from those whose right it is:
for ye are strangers and sojourners with me; as the Gentiles that lived among them were strangers and sojourners with them, so they were with the Lord; he was the original proprietor, they were but tenants at will; though it was both an honour and happiness to be with him, under any character, to board, and lodge, and dwell with him; and they might well be content to be reckoned not proprietors but strangers and sojourners, and especially such as had faith and hope in a better inheritance, of which this was only a figure; however, this being their present case, it was a reason good, why they could not for ever dispose of their lands and possessions, any more than a sojourner or inmate can of a house of which he has only a part.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23-28. The land shall not be sold for ever—or, "be quite cut off," as the Margin better renders it. The land was God's, and, in prosecution of an important design, He gave it to the people of His choice, dividing it among their tribes and families—who, however, held it of Him merely as tenants-at-will and had no right or power of disposing of it to strangers. In necessitous circumstances, individuals might effect a temporary sale. But they possessed the right of redeeming it, at any time, on payment of an adequate compensation to the present holder; and by the enactments of the Jubilee they recovered it free—so that the land was rendered inalienable. (See an exception to this law, Le 27:20).
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