In the year of this jubilee you shall return every man to his possession.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ye shall return every man unto his possession.—In the year of jubile every man is to be restored to his landed property, whether he had disposed of it by sale or by gift.
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.
ye shall return every man unto his possession; which is repeated from Leviticus 25:10; the reason of which, the Jews say, is to include gifts, and which, according to them, are like sales, and returned in the year of "jubilee"; that is, if a man gave his estate in possession to another, he returned to it, in the year of jubilee, equally as if he had sold it; and therefore they observe the same phrase is twice used by Moses, to include gifts (y): but perhaps the truer reason is, because this was a special business done at this time, and of great importance; the word "return" being so often used, may serve to confirm the sense of the word "jubilee", given previously; see Gill on Leviticus 25:9.In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. See introd. note.Verses 13-17. - The Israelites were only tenants of God. They might regard themselves as owners for fifty years, but at the end of every fifty years the land was to come back to him to whom the Lord had assigned it, or to his representative. It might be bought and sold on that understanding, the value of the purchase being four. d by reckoning the price of the harvests up to the next jubilee day; but in this period only "the years of the fruits" were to be counted, that is, the sabbatical years, in which there would be no harvests, were to be deducted. Ye shall not therefore oppress (or overreach) one another by demanding more for the hind than would be its just value under the limitation of the jubilee law. Leviticus 25:12). The produce arising without tilling or sowing was to be a common good for man and beast. According to Exodus 23:11, it was to belong to the poor and needy; but the owner was not forbidden to partake of it also, so that there can be no discrepancy discovered between this passage and the verse before us. The produce referred to would be by no means inconsiderable, particularly if there had not been a careful gleaning after the harvest, or the corn had become over-ripe. In the fertile portions of Palestine, especially in the plain of Jezreel and on the table-land of Galilee, as well as in other parts, large quantities of wheat and other cereals are still self-sown from the ripe ears, the over-flowing of which is not gathered by any of the inhabitants of the land. Strabo gives a similar account of Albania, viz., that in many parts a field once sown will bear fruit twice and even three times, the first yield being as much as fifty-fold. The intention of his law was not so much to secure the physical recreation of both the land and people, however useful and necessary this might be for men, animals, and land in this sublunary world; but the land was to keep Sabbath to the Lord in the seventh year. In the sabbatical year the land, which the Lord had given to His people, was to observe a period of holy rest and refreshment to its Lord and God, just as the congregation did on the Sabbath-day; and the hand of man was to be withheld from the fields and fruit-gardens from working them, that they might yield their produce for his use. The earth was to be saved from the hand of man exhausting its power for earthly purposes as his own property, and to enjoy the holy rest with which God had blessed the earth and all its productions after the creation. From this, Israel, as the nation of God, was to learn, on the one hand, that although the earth was created for man, it was not merely created for him to draw out its powers for his own use, but also to be holy to the Lord, and participate in His blessed rest; and on the other hand, that the great purpose for which the congregation of the Lord existed, did not consist in the uninterrupted tilling of the earth, connected with bitter labour in the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:17, Genesis 3:19), but in the peaceful enjoyment of the fruits of the earth, which the Lord their God had given them, and would give them still without the labour of their hands, if they strove to keep His covenant and satisfy themselves with His grace. This intention of the sabbatical year comes out still more plainly in the year of jubilee, in which the idea of the sanctification of the whole land as the Lord's property is still more strongly expressed, and whose inward connection with the sabbatical year is indicated by the fact that the time for observing it was regulated by the sabbatical years (Leviticus 25:8).
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