Chapter 25

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1 And the Lord spake vnto Moses in Mount Sinai, saying,

2 Speake vnto the children of Israel, and say vnto them: when yee come into the land which I giue you, then shall the land keepe a Sabbath vnto the Lord.

3 Sixe yeeres thou shalt sow thy field, and sixe yeeres thou shalt prune thy Uineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof.

4 But in the seuenth yeere shalbe a Sabbath of rest vnto the land, a Sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy Uineyard.

5 That which groweth of it owne accord of thy haruest, thou shalt not reape, neither gather the grapes of thy Uine vndressed: for it is a yeere of rest vnto the land.

6 And the Sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy seruant, and for thy mayd, and for thy hired seruant, and for the stranger that soiourneth with thee,

7 And for thy cattel, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the encrease thereof be meat.

8 And thou shalt number seuen Sabbaths of yeeres vnto thee, seuen times seuen yeeres, and the space of the seuen Sabbaths of yeeres, shall be vnto thee fourtie and nine yeeres.

9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Iubile to sound, on the tenth day of the seuenth moneth; in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth yeere, and proclaime libertie throughout all the land, vnto al the inhabitants thereof: It shalbe a Iubile vnto you, and ye shall returne euery man vnto his possession, and ye shall returne euery man vnto his family.

11 A Iubile shall that fiftieth yeere be vnto you: Ye shall not sow, neither reape that which groweth of it selfe in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy Uine vndressed.

12 For it is the Iubile, it shall be holy vnto you: ye shall eate the encrease thereof out of the field.

13 In the yeere of this Iubile yee shall returne euery man vnto his possession.

14 And if thou sell ought vnto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbours hand, ye shall not oppresse one another.

15 According to the number of yeres after the Iubile, thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according vnto the number of yeeres of the fruits, he shall sell vnto thee.

16 According to the multitude of yeeres, thou shalt encrease the price thereof, and according to the fewnesse of yeeres, thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the yeeres of the fruites doeth hee sell vnto thee.

17 Yee shall not therefore oppresse one another; but thou shalt feare thy God: For I am the Lord your God.

18 Wherefore ye shall do my Statutes, and keepe my Iudgements, and doe them, and ye shall dwell in the land in safetie.

19 And the land shall yeeld her fruit, and ye shal eat your fill, and dwell therin in safetie.

20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eate the seuenth yeere? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:

21 Then I will command my blessing vpon you in the sixt yeere, and it shall bring forth fruit for three yeeres.

22 And ye shall sow the eight yeere, and eat yet of old fruit, vntill the ninth yeere: vntill her fruits come in, ye shall eate of the old store.

23 The land shall not be sold for euer: for the land is mine, for ye were strangers and soiourners with me.

24 And in all the land of your possession, ye shall grant a redemption for the land.

25 If thy brother be waxen poore, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kinne come to redeeme it, then shall hee redeeme that which his brother sold.

26 And if the man haue none to redeeme it, and himselfe bee able to redeeme it:

27 Then let him count the yeeres of the sale therof, and restore the ouerplus vnto the man, to whom he sold it, that he may returne vnto his possession.

28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold, shall remaine in the hand of him that hath bought it, vntill the yeere of Iubile: and in the Iubile it shall goe out, and he shall returne vnto his possession.

29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled citie, then he may redeeme it within a whole yeere after it is solde: within a full yeere may he redeeme it.

30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full yeere, then the house that is in the walled citie, shall be stablished for euer to him that bought it, throughout his generations: it shall not goe out in the Iubile.

31 But the houses of the villages which haue no walles round about them, shall bee counted as the fields of the countrey: they may ee redeemed, and they shall goe out in the Iubile.

32 Notwithstanding, the cities of the Leuites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Leuites redeeme at any time.

33 And if a man purchase of the Leuites, then the house that was sold, and the citie of his possession shall goe out in the yeere of Iubile: for the houses of the cities of the Leuites are their possession among the children of Israel.

34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold, for it is their perpetuall possession.

35 And if thy brother bee waxen poore, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieue him, yea though he be a stranger, or a soiourner, that hee may liue with thee.

36 Take thou no vsurie of him, or increase: but feare thy God, that thy brother may liue with thee.

37 Thou shalt not giue him thy money vpon vsurie, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.

38 I am the Lord your God, which brought you foorth out of the land of Egypt, to giue you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.

39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poore, and be sold vnto thee, thou shalt not compell him to serue as a bond seruant.

40 But as an hired seruant, and as a soiourner he shall be with thee, and shall serue thee vnto the yere of Iubile.

41 And then shall hee depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall returne vnto his owne familie, and vnto the possession of his fathers shall he returne.

42 For they are my seruants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bond men.

43 Thou shalt not rule ouer him with rigour, but shalt feare thy God.

44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt haue, shall be of the Heathen, that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

45 Moreouer, of the children of the strangers that do soiourne among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shalbe your possession.

46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherite them for a possession, they shal bee your bondmen for euer: but ouer your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one ouer another with rigour.

47 And if a soiourner or stranger waxe rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him waxe poore, and sell himselfe vnto the stranger or soiourner by thee, or to the stocke of the strangers family:

48 After that he is sold, hee may be redeemed againe: one of his brethren may redeeme him.

49 Either his vncle, or his vncles sonne may redeeme him, or any that is nigh of kinne vnto him, of his family, may redeeme him: or if he be able, hee may redeeme himselfe.

50 And he shall reckon with him that bought him, from the yeere that he was sold to him, vnto the yeere of Iubile, and the price of his sale shalbe according vnto the number of yeeres, according to the time of an hired seruant shall it be with him.

51 If there be yet many yeeres behinde, according vnto them hee shall giue againe the price of his redemption, out of the money that hee was bought for.

52 And if there remaine but few yeeres vnto the yeere of Iubile, then he shall count with him, and according vnto his yeeres shall he giue him againe the price of his redemption.

53 And as a yeerely hired seruant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour ouer him in thy sight.

54 And if hee be not redeemed in these yeeres, then he shall goe out in the yeere of Iubile, both he, and his children with him.

55 For vnto me the children of Israel are seruants, they are my seruants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

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Commentary for Leviticus 25

The sabbath of rest for the land in the seventh year. (1-7) The jubilee of the fiftieth year, Oppression forbidden. (8-22) Redemption of the land and houses. (23-34) Compassion towards the poor. (35-38) Laws respecting bondmen, Oppression forbidden. (39-55)1-7 All labour was to cease in the seventh year, as much as daily labour on the seventh day. These statues tell us to beware of covetousness, for a man's life consists not in the abundance of his possessions. We are to exercise willing dependence on God's providence for our support; to consider ourselves the Lord's tenants or stewards, and to use our possessions accordingly. This year of rest typified the spiritual rest which all believers enter into through Christ. Through Him we are eased of the burden of wordly care and labour, both being sanctified and sweetened to us; and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith.

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.

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.

35-38 Poverty and decay are great grievances, and very common; the poor ye have always with you. Thou shalt relieve him; by sympathy, pitying the poor; by service, doing for them; and by supply, giving to them according to their necessity, and thine ability. Poor debtors must not be oppressed. Observe the arguments here used against extortion: "Fear thy God." Relieve the poor, "that they may live with thee;" for they may be serviceable to thee. The rich can as ill spare the poor, as the poor can the rich. It becomes those that have received mercy to show mercy.

39-55 A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, #Col 4:1|. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, #Joh 8:32|. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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