Leviticus 25:10
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year.—Because it is here said “Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year,” the authorities during the second Temple inferred that the good work of the jubile is to begin with the first day of Tishri, which is the beginning of the year, and which ought to be hallowed. Hence as new year was with the Hebrews the preparation for the Day of Atonement, so it also became the prelude to the acts of mercy which finally came into operation on the Day of Atonement. They therefore began counting the cycle of the jubile from the first of Tishri, or new year, though they proclaimed it on the tenth, or on the close of the Day of Atonement. In accordance with this the authorities during the second Temple record that “from the Feast of Trumpets [i.e., Tishri 1] till the Day of Atonement [i.e., Tishri 10], the slaves were neither manumitted to return to their homes, nor were made use of by their masters, but ate, drank, rejoiced, and wore garlands; and when the Day of Atonement came the judges blew the cornet, the slaves were manumitted to return to their homes, and the fields were set free.”

And proclaim liberty . . . unto all the inhabitants—That is, to all the Israelites, who are the true possessors of the land. Hence the ancient authorities conclude that the law of jubile was only in force as long as the whole Jewish nation dwelt in the land, but not after the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, were carried into captivity by Pul and Tilgath-Pilneser kings of Assyria (1Chronicles 5:26), because “all the inhabitants” of the land dwelt no longer in it. It is from this declaration to proclaim liberty that the year of jubile is also called “the year of freedom” (Ezekiel 46:17).

It shall be a jubile.—This is an abbreviation of the fuller form, “a year of jubile,” used in the other passages of this chapter (see Leviticus 25:13; Leviticus 25:28; Leviticus 25:40; Leviticus 25:50; Leviticus 25:52; Leviticus 25:54), and denotes “a year proclaimed by the blast of the horn,” since the word yôbel signifies both ram’s horn and the sound emitted from it.

And ye shall return every man.—See Leviticus 25:14-16; Leviticus 25:23-28.

Every man unto his family.—See Leviticus 25:39-40.

Leviticus 25:10. The fiftieth year — The year of jubilee was not the forty and ninth year, as some learned men have erroneously thought, but precisely the fiftieth. The old weekly sabbath is called the seventh day, because it truly was so, being next after the six days of the week, and distinct from them all: and the year of release is called the seventh year, (Leviticus 25:4,) as immediately following the six years, (Leviticus 25:3,) and distinct from them all. And in like manner the jubilee is called the fiftieth year, because it comes next after seven times seven or forty-nine years, (Leviticus 25:8,) and is distinct from them all. Unto all the inhabitants — Understand such as were Israelites; principally to all servants, even to such as would not and did not go out at the seventh year, and to the poor, who now were acquitted from all their debts, and restored to their possessions, which had been sold or otherwise alienated from them. This law was not at all unjust, because all buyers and sellers had an eye to this condition in their bargains; but it was expedient in many regards, as, 1st, To put them in mind that God alone was the Lord and proprietor both of them and of their lands, and that they were only his tenants; a point which they were apt to forget. 2d, That hereby inheritances, families, and tribes, might be kept entire and clear until the coming of the Messiah, who was to be known as by other things, so by the tribe and family out of which he was to come. And this accordingly was done by the singular providence of God until the Lord Jesus did come. Since which time those characters are miserably confounded: which is no small argument that the Messiah is come. 3d, To set bounds both to the insatiable avarice of some, and the foolish prodigality of others, that the former might not wholly and finally swallow up the inheritances of their brethren, and the latter might not be able to undo themselves and their posterity for ever, which was a singular privilege of this law and people.

His family — From whom he was gone, being sold to some other family either by himself or by his father.

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.The fiftieth year - The Jubilee probably coincided with each seventh sabbatical year, and was called the fiftieth, as being the last of a series of which the first was the preceding Jubilee.

A jubile - Commonly spelled jubilee. The original word first occurs in Exodus 19:13, where it is rendered "trumpet," margin "cornet." It most probably denotes the sound of the cornet, not the cornet itself, and is derived from a root, signifying to flow abundantly, which by a familiar metaphor might be applied to sound.

10. ye shall hallow the fiftieth year—Much difference of opinion exists as to whether the jubilee was observed on the forty-ninth, or, in round numbers, it is called the fiftieth. The prevailing opinion, both in ancient and modern times, has been in favor of the latter. By which it seems most probable that the year of jubilee was not the forty and ninth year, as some learned men think, but precisely the fiftieth year; which may appear,

1. Because the Jews account it so, which is confessed by the adversaries of this opinion, who say that the Jews err in the computation of the jubilee, as they do in Christ, the great end and antitype of the jubilee. But it is not probable that the Jews should universally err in a matter of constant practice among themselves, especially when there was nothing of interest or prejudice in the case, as there was in reference to Christ.

2. Because it is expressly called the fiftieth year here, and Leviticus 25:11, that fiftieth year, which was not true if it was but the nine and fortieth year. It is said it is called so popularly, and it was so if you take in the foregoing jubilee. But it must be remembered, that there was not yet any foregoing jubilee, but the very first of the kind is expressly called the fiftieth year, which in truth it was not if the jubilee was ended ere the fiftieth year began.

3. From the common course of computation. The old weekly sabbath is called the seventh day, because it truly was so, being next after the six days of the week, and distinct from them all; and the year of release is called the seventh year, Leviticus 25:4, as immediately following the six years, Leviticus 25:3, and distinct from them all. And therefore, in like manner, the jubilee must needs be called the fiftieth year, because it comes next after seven times seven, or forty-nine years, Leviticus 25:8, and is distinct from them all.

4. From Leviticus 25:11,12, where it is said, ye shall not sow, nor reap, &c; for it is the jubilee, &c.; which looks like a vain and useless repetition, if this year were but one of the seven years, for this very command was given concerning every seventh year, Leviticus 25:4; but if this year of jubilee was, as indeed it was, a year distinct from and coming after the seven sevens of years, then this repetition and application of that command to it was highly necessary, because otherwise it might seem hard and unreasonable that they should forbear sowing and reaping two years together, which hereby they are commanded to do. Two things are objected against this:

1. That the jubilee was only a revolution of forty-nine years. But that seems a great mistake, for it is most expressly distinguished from them all, and by way of distinction called the fiftieth year, therefore surely none of the forty-nine.

2. The difficulty propounded Leviticus 25:20 concerns only the seventh year, whereas it had been a greater difficulty if it had been extended to the jubilee, and the jubilee had been another vacant year coming next after the seventh year. But though the difficulty was greater for the jubilee, yet it was more frequent for the seventh year; and the resolution of the one made the way plan for the satisfaction of the other. For as God promised so to bless every sixth year, that it should bring forth fruit for three years, Leviticus 25:21; so when the case was extraordinary, as in the jubilee, it was but reasonable to expect an extraordinary blessing from God upon that sixth year which went next before the last of the seventh years, or the forty-ninth year, that it should then bring forth fruit for four years.

All the inhabitants thereof: understand such as were Israelites; principally to all servants, even to such as would not and did not go out at the seventh year, and to the poor, who now were acquitted from all their debts, and restored to their possessions. A jubilee; so called, either from the Hebrew word jobel, which signifies first a ram, and then a ram’s horn, by the sound whereof it was proclaimed; or from Jubal, the inventor of musical instruments, Genesis 4:21, because it was celebrated with music and all expressions of joy. Every man unto his possession, which had been sold, or otherwise alienated from him. This law was not at all unjust, because all buyers and sellers had an eye to this condition in their bargains; but it was necessary and expedient in many regards; as,

1. To mind them that God alone was the Lord and Owner and Proprietor both of them and of their lands, and they only his tenants and farmers; a point which they were very apt to forget.

2. That hereby inheritances, families, and tribes might be kept entire and clear until the coming of the Messias, who was to be known, as by other things, so by the tribe and family out of which he was to come. And this accordingly was done by the singular providence of God until the Lord Jesus did come. Since which time those characters are miserably confounded; which is no small argument that the Messias is come.

3. To set bounds both to the insatiable avarice of some, and the foolish prodigality of others, that the former might not wholly and finally swallow up the inheritances of their brethren, and the latter might not be able to undo themselves and their posterity for ever, which was a singular privilege of this law and people. Every man unto his family, from whom he was gone, being sold to some other family, either by himself or by his father.

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year,.... The year following the seven sabbaths of years, or forty nine years; and which they were to sanctify by separating it from all others, and devoting it to the uses it was to be put to, and the services done on it, and by abstaining from the tillage of the land, sowing or reaping, and from the cultivation of vines, olives, &c.

and proclaim liberty throughout all the land; to servants, both to those whose ears were bored, and were to serve for ever, even unto the year of jubilee, and then be released; and to those whose six years were not ended, from the time that they were bought; for the jubilee year put an end to their servitude, let the time they had served be what it would; for this year was a general release of servants, excepting bondmen and bondmaids, who were never discharged; hence called the "year of liberty", Ezekiel 46:17; and Josephus (w) says, the word "jobel" or "jubilee" signifies "liberty":

unto all the inhabitants thereof; that were in servitude or poverty, excepting the above mentioned; from hence the Jews gather, than when the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, went into captivity, the jubilees ceased (x), since all the inhabitants were not then in it; but that is a mistake, for the jubilees were continued unto the coming of the Messiah, and perhaps never omitted but once, in the time of the Babylonish captivity:

it shall be a jubilee unto you; to the Israelites, and to them only, as Aben Ezra observes; it was a time of joy and gladness to them, especially to servants, who were now free, and to the poor, who enjoyed their estates again:

and ye shall return every man unto his possession; which had been sold or mortgaged to another, but now reverted to its original owner:

and ye shall return every man unto his family; who through poverty had sold himself for a servant, and had lived in another family. The general design of this law was to preserve the rights of freeborn Israelites, as to person and property, to prevent perpetual servitude, and perpetual alienation of their estates; to continue families and estates as they were originally, that some might not become too rich, and others too poor; nor be blended, but the tribes and families might be kept distinct until the coming of the Messiah, to whom the jubilee had a particular respect, and in whom it ceased. The liberty proclaimed on this day was typical of that liberty from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, which Christ is the author of, and is proclaimed by him in the Gospel, Galatians 5:1; a liberty of grace and glory, or the glorious liberty of the children of God: returning to possessions and inheritances may be an emblem of the enjoyment of the heavenly inheritance by the saints; though man by sin lost an earthly paradise, and came short of the glory of God, yet through Christ his people are restored to a better inheritance, an incorruptible one; to which they are begotten by his Spirit, have a right to it through his righteousness, and a meetness for it by his grace, and of which the Holy Spirit is the earnest and pledge, and into which Christ himself will introduce them. And the returning of them to their families may signify the return of God's elect through Christ to the family that is named of him; these were secretly of the family of God from all eternity, being taken into it in the covenant of grace, as well as predestinated to the adoption of children: but by the fall, and through a state of nature by it, they became children of wrath, even as others; yet through redemption by Christ, and faith in him, they receive the adoption of children, and openly appear to be of the family of God, 2 Corinthians 6:18; and all this is proclaimed by the sound of the Gospel trumpet, which being a sound of liberty, peace, pardon, righteousness, salvation, and eternal life by Christ, is a joyful one, Psalm 89:15; where the allusion seems to be to the jubilee trumpet.

(w) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 12. sect. 3.((x) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Eracin, c. 8. sect. 1.

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the {f} inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his {g} possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

(f) Which were in bondage.

(g) Because the tribes should neither have their possessions diminished nor confounded.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. a jubile] lit. ‘a ram’s horn’ (blowing). Doubtless the year had originally the name year of the ram’s horn, and afterwards the first part of this title was dropped in current speech, thus leaving the Heb. word yôbçl, which, through the Vulg. Jubilaeus, has been adopted into English as jubile.

Verse 10. - This verse contains a short statement of the two purposes of the jubilee:

(1) to proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof;

(2) ye shall return every man unto his possession. Leviticus 25:10The words, "Ye shall proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," are more closely defined by the two clauses commencing with היא יובל in Leviticus 25:10 and Leviticus 25:11. "A trumpet-blast shall it be to you, that ye return every one to his own possession, and every one to his family:" a still further explanation is given in Leviticus 25:23-34 and 39-55. This was to be the fruit or effect of the blast, i.e., of the year commencing with the blast, and hence the year was called "the year of liberty," or free year, in Ezekiel 46:17. יובל, from יבל to flow with a rushing noise, does not mean jubilation or the time of jubilation (Ges., Kn., and others); but wherever it is not applied to the year of jubilee, it signifies only the loud blast of a trumpet (Exodus 19:13; Joshua 6:5). This meaning also applies here in Leviticus 25:10, Leviticus 25:11 and Leviticus 25:12; whilst in Leviticus 25:15, Leviticus 25:28, Leviticus 25:30, Leviticus 25:31, Leviticus 25:33, Leviticus 27:18, and Numbers 36:4, it is used as an abbreviated expression for יובל שׁנת, the year of the trumpet-blast.
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