Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Leviticus 25:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years - This seems to state that the jubilee was to be celebrated on the forty-ninth year; but in Leviticus 25:10; and Leviticus 25:11; it is said, Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and, A jubilee shall this fiftieth year be. Probably in this verse Moses either includes the preceding jubilee, and thus with the forty-ninth makes up the number fifty; or he speaks of proclaiming the jubilee on the forty-ninth, and celebrating it on the fiftieth year current. Some think it was celebrated on the forty-ninth year, as is stated in Leviticus 25:8; and this prevented the Sabbatical year, or seventh year of rest, from being confounded with the jubilee, which it must otherwise have been, had the celebration of this great solemnity taken place on the fiftieth year; but it is most likely that the fiftieth was the real jubilee.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 8-13

The land was to be divided by lot among the families of the Israelites when the possession of it was obtained. Numbers 26:52-56; Numbers 33:54, etc. At the end of every seventh sabbatical cycle of years, in the year of Jubilee, each field or estate that might have been alienated was to be restored to the family to which it had been originally allotted.

Leviticus 25:8

Seven sabbaths of years - seven weeks of years.

Leviticus 25:9

Cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound - Rather, cause the sound of the cornet to go through (the land). The word jubile does not occur in this verse in the Hebrew. The trumpet is the shofar שׁפר shôphār i. e. the cornet (rendered “shawm” in the Prayer-Book version of Psalm 98:7), either the horn of some animal or a tube of metal shaped like one. As the sound of the cornet (see Leviticus 25:10 note) was the signal of the descent of Yahweh when He came down upon Sinai to take Israel into covenant with Himself Exodus 19:13, Exodus 19:16, Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:18, so the same sound announced, at the close of the great day of atonement, after the Evening sacrifice, the year which restored each Israelite to the freedom and the blessings of the covenant.

Leviticus 25:10

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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 533

None need fear that their liberality would bring them to want. Obedience to God's commandments would surely result in prosperity. “Thou shalt lend unto many nations,” He said, “but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.” Deuteronomy 15:6. PP 533.1

After “seven sabbaths of years,” “seven times seven years,” came that great year of release—the jubilee. “Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound ... throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” Leviticus 25:9, 10. PP 533.2

“On the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement,” the trumpet of the jubilee was sounded. Throughout the land, wherever the Jewish people dwelt, the sound was heard, calling upon all the children of Jacob to welcome the year of release. On the great Day of Atonement satisfaction was made for the sins of Israel, and with gladness of heart the people would welcome the jubilee. PP 533.3

As in the sabbatical year, the land was not to be sown or reaped, and all that it produced was to be regarded as the rightful property of the poor. Certain classes of Hebrew slaves—all who did not receive their liberty in the sabbatical year—were now set free. But that which especially distinguished the year of jubilee was the reversion of all landed property to the family of the original possessor. By the special direction of God the land had been divided by lot. After the division was made no one was at liberty to trade his estate. Neither was he to sell his land unless poverty compelled him to do so, and then, whenever he or any of his kindred might desire to redeem it, the purchaser must not refuse to sell it; and if unredeemed, it would revert to its first possessor or his heirs in the year of jubilee. PP 533.4

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Ellen G. White
Education, 43

By the devout in Israel, fully a month of every year was occupied in this way. It was a period free from care and labor, and almost wholly devoted, in the truest sense, to purposes of education. Ed 43.1

In apportioning the inheritance of His people, it was God's purpose to teach them, and through them the people of after generations, correct principles concerning the ownership of the land. The land of Canaan was divided among the whole people, the Levites only, as ministers of the sanctuary, being excepted. Though one might for a season dispose of his possession, he could not barter away the inheritance of his children. When able to do so, he was at liberty at any time to redeem it; debts were remitted every seventh year, and in the fiftieth, or year of jubilee, all landed property reverted to the original owner. Thus every family was secured in its possession, and a safeguard was afforded against the extremes either of wealth or of poverty. Ed 43.2

By the distribution of the land among the people, God provided for them, as for the dwellers in Eden, the occupation most favorable to development—the care of plants and animals. A further provision for education was the suspension of agricultural labor every seventh year, the land lying fallow, and its spontaneous products being left to the poor. Thus was given opportunity for more extended study, for social intercourse and worship, and for the exercise of benevolence, so often crowded out by life's cares and labors. Ed 43.3

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