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Leviticus 25:8-17

Regulations for the Jubilee Year of Release

25:8 “‘You must count off 1  seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, 2  and the days of the seven weeks of years will amount to forty-nine years. 3  25:9 You must sound loud horn blasts 4  – in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, on the Day of Atonement – you must sound the horn in your entire land. 25:10 So you must consecrate the fiftieth year, 5  and you must proclaim a release 6  in the land for all its inhabitants. That year will be your jubilee; 7  each one of you must return 8  to his property and each one of you must return to his clan. 25:11 That fiftieth year will be your jubilee; you must not sow the land, harvest its aftergrowth, or pick the grapes of its unpruned vines. 9  25:12 Because that year is a jubilee, it will be holy to you – you may eat its produce 10  from the field.

Release of Landed Property

25:13 “‘In this year of jubilee you must each return 11  to your property. 25:14 If you make a sale 12  to your fellow citizen 13  or buy 14  from your fellow citizen, no one is to wrong his brother. 15  25:15 You may buy it from your fellow citizen according to the number of years since 16  the last jubilee; he may sell it to you according to the years of produce that are left. 17  25:16 The more years there are, 18  the more you may make its purchase price, and the fewer years there are, 19  the less you must make its purchase price, because he is only selling to you a number of years of 20  produce. 25:17 No one is to oppress his fellow citizen, 21  but you must fear your God, because I am the Lord your God.

1 tn Heb “And you shall count off for yourself.”

2 tn Heb “seven years seven times.”

3 tn Heb “and they shall be for you, the days of the seven Sabbaths of years, forty-nine years.”

4 sn On the “loud horn blasts” see the note on Lev 23:24, but unlike the language there, the Hebrew term for “horn” (שׁוֹפָר, shofar) actually appears here in this verse (twice).

5 tn Heb “the year of the fifty years,” or perhaps “the year, fifty years” (GKC 435 §134.o, note 2).

6 tn Cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV “liberty”; TEV, CEV “freedom.” The characteristics of this “release” are detailed in the following verses. For substantial summaries and bibliography on the biblical and ancient Near Eastern material regarding such a “release” see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 427-34, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 270-74.

7 tn Heb “A jubilee that shall be to you.” Although there has been some significant debate about the original meaning of the Hebrew word translated “jubilee” (יוֹבֵל, yovel; see the summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 434), the term most likely means “ram” and can refer also to a “ram’s horn.” The fiftieth year would, therefore, be called the “jubilee” because of the associated sounding of the “ram’s horn” (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 172, and the literature cited there).

8 tn Heb “you [plural] shall return, a man.”

9 tn Heb “you shall not sow and you shall not…and you shall not….”

sn See v. 5 above and the notes there.

10 tn That is, the produce of the land (fem.; cf. v. 7 above).

11 tn Heb “you [plural] shall return, a man.”

12 tn Heb “sell a sale.”

13 tn Or “to one of your countrymen” (NIV); NASB “to your friend.”

14 tn The Hebrew infinitive absolute קָנֹה (qanoh, “buying”) substitutes for the finite verb here in sequence with the previous finite verb “sell” at the beginning of the verse (see GKC 345 §113.z).

15 tn Heb “do not oppress a man his brother.” Here “brother” does not refer only to a sibling, but to a fellow Israelite.

16 tn Heb “in the number of years after.”

17 tn The words “that are left” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

sn The purchaser is actually buying only the crops that the land will produce until the next jubilee, since the land will revert to the original owner at that time. The purchaser, therefore, is not actually buying the land itself.

18 tn Heb “To the mouth of the many years.”

19 tn Heb “to the mouth of the few years.”

20 tn Heb “a number of produce”; the words “years of” are implied. As an alternative this could be translated “a number of harvests” (cf. NRSV, NLT).

21 tn Heb “And you shall not oppress a man his fellow citizen.”

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