Tag Archives: Leviticus 24-25

February 10, 2018 Bible Study — The Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 24-25.

    Today’s passage contains a commandment for something called the Sabbath Year, which is the basis for the modern sabbaticals that many academics and others take. While the idea for a sabbatical (usually year) is based on this passage, it is not really connected with the idea presented here. The Sabbath Year presented here is to allow the land to lay fallow every seventh year. The purpose it serves is similar to what modern agriculture accomplishes with crop rotation. The Sabbath Year allows for the restoration of nutrients in the soil which are used by the crops grown. Modern agriculture is much more intense than the agriculture practiced by the ancient Israelites so that a Sabbath Year would be insufficient to renew the nutrients.

    Every seventh year, the people of Israel were to practice a Sabbath Year. And every seventh Sabbath Year they were to practice a Year of Jubilee. I have my questions about how a Year of Jubilee as described in this passage could be made to work, but the concept has merit. The Year of Jubilee was designed to prevent the poor from becoming a permanent underclass. Every 49 years the economic deck got reshuffled and the “cards” redistributed equitably. Since real estate was the primary basis of wealth in ancient Israel, the Year of Jubilee prevented a limited number of people from locking everyone else out by gaining control of all of the land over time. The result of the Year of Jubilee would have been that my children would not have been stuck in a poor economic position just because I had made some bad decisions. The Year of Jubilee could be seen as intended to minimize income inequality. However, its main purposes appears to be to keep the poor from being stuck as poor, rather than to limit the wealth of the rich.

February 10, 2017 Bible Study –Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 24-25.

    Today’s passage speaks of the Sabbath Year and the Year of Jubilee. The Sabbath Year encourages the people to allow the land to lie fallow every seventh year. This practice keeps farmers from draining all of the nutrients out of the soil, although there is more to it than just good land management. It is from this that we get the idea of the sabbatical, where certain types of professionals are encouraged to take a year off to “recharge” every seven years.

    The Year of Jubilee lays out a rule for maintaining social justice in a society. The biblical record suggests that the Israelites never truly implemented this law and I am not sure how you could do so in an established society. Nevertheless these rules lay out a principle of allowing people to recover from their economic mistakes over time. Slavery was not permanent (I am aware that these laws only applied to those who were Israelites to begin with). Selling your land was not permanent. In the Year of Jubilee, land would return to its original owners, or their heirs, and slaves would be freed. In between the Years of Jubilee, those who sold their land would have the right to buy it back at any time if they could raise the funds, relatives would have the right to buy the freedom of those who had become enslaved. In addition, there were instructions to the people of Israel to aid their brethren who had fallen into poverty and could not care for themselves. Those of us with the means should provide what we can to our fellow believers in need.

February 10, 2016 Bible Study — An Eye For An Eye

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I had been using One Year Bible Online, but it was time for a change.

DSCN0108

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 24-25.

    Today’s passage gives a list of punishments to be given for various offenses. In particular, this is the passage where the concept of “an eye for an eye” is laid out. I want to point out two things about that. The first thing is that “an eye for an eye” defines the line between just punishment and unjust revenge: the punishment for the crime should not exceed the crime. The second is that as Christians our standard is not “an eye for an eye”, our standard is “seventy times seven” (the number of times Jesus tells us to forgive those who sin against us). However, the most important point made in this list of punishments is the statement that the same standard applies to everyone. You should not hold those who “grew up around here” to a different standard than the standard to which you hold “outsiders” (or vice versa).