Leviticus 25:28
But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that has bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return to his possession.
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(28) Not able to restore it to him.—That is, if the vendor is unable to return to the purchaser the probable value of the crops between the contemplated redemption and the next jubile year.

Then that which is sold.—In that case the land thus sold is to continue with the purchaser till jubile, when it is to revert to the vendor without any repayment whatever. The design of this law was to secure to each family a permanent interest in the soil, and to prevent the accumulation of land on the part of the greedy few who are ever anxious to join field unto field, thus precluding the existence of landless beggars and too extensive landed proprietors. To the same effect were the laws of inheritance (Numbers 27:6-11; Numbers 36:5-13). Similar laws obtained among other nations of antiquity. Laws were enacted that the lots which were distributed among the inhabitants were neither to be sold nor bought. Solon made it a law that no one should acquire as much land as he wished; whilst Plato held that no individual person is to possess more than four times the quantity of land than the lowest owner, who had only a single lot.

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.It shall go out - i. e. it shall be set free. 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). It shall go out, i.e. out of the buyer’s hand, without any redemption money. But if he be not able to restore it to him,.... The overplus, or give him what is in proportion to the time he has had it, and yet to come:

then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that bought it until the year of the jubilee; continue in his possession, and he shall enjoy all the benefit of it till that year comes:

and in the jubilee it shall go out: out of his hands or possession; or "he shall go out" (g), the purchaser shall go out of what he has bought, and shall have no more possession of it, but it shall come into the hands of the seller, and that without money, as the Targum of Jonathan adds:

and he shall return unto his possession; the seller, and enter upon it and enjoy it as his own property, as before he sold it.

(g) "discedet emptor", Junius & Tremellius.

But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go {o} out, and he shall return unto his possession.

(o) From his hand that bought it.

Jehovah would preserve them from want, without their sowing or reaping. He would bestow His blessing upon them in the sixth year, so that it should bear the produce of three (עשׂת for עשׂתה as in Genesis 33:11); and when they sowed in the eighth year, they should eat the produce of the old year up to the ninth year, that is to say, till the harvest of that year. It is quite evident from Leviticus 25:21 and Leviticus 25:22, according to which the sixth year was to produce enough for three years, and the sowing for the ninth was to take place in the eighth, that not only the year of jubilee, but the sabbatical year also, commenced in the autumn, when they first began to sow for the coming year; so that the sowing was suspended from the autumn of the sixth year till the autumn of the seventh, and even till the autumn of the eighth, whenever the jubilee year came round, in which case both sowing and reaping were omitted for two years in succession, and consequently the produce of the sixth year, which was harvested in the seventh month of that year, must have sufficed for three years, not merely till the sowing in the autumn of the eight or fiftieth year, but till the harvest of the ninth or fifty-first year, as the Talmud and Rabbins of every age have understood the law.
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