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March 7

Leviticus 24:10-23, Mark 10:32-52

Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:

The laws connected with the jubilee.—These embrace three points:

1. Rest for the soil. Lev. 25:11, 12. The land was to lie fallow, and there was to be no tillage as on the ordinary sabbatic year. The land was not to be sown, nor the vineyards and oliveyards dressed; and neither the spontaneous fruits of the soil nor the produce of the vine and olive was to be gathered, but all was to be left for the poor, the slave, the stranger, and the cattle. Ex. 23:10, 11.… But the people were not debarred from other sources of subsistence, nor was the year to be spent in idleness. They could fish and hunt, take care of their bees and flocks, repair their buildings and furniture, and manufacture their clothing.

2. Reversion of landed property. “The Israelites had a portion of land divided to each family by lot. This portion of the promised land they held of God, and were not to dispose of it as their property in fee-simple. Hence no Israelite could part with his landed estate but for a term of years only. When the jubilee arrived, it again reverted to the original owners.”—Bush.

3. The manumission of those Israelites who had become slaves. “Apparently this periodic emancipation applied to every class of Hebrew servants—to him who had sold himself because he had become too poor to provide for his family, to him who had been taken and sold for debt, and to him who had been sold into servitude for crime. This latter case, however, is doubtful. Noticeably, this law provides for the family rights of the servant.”—Cowles’ Hebrew History.

William Smith; rev. and edited by F. N. and M. A. Peloubet, Smith’s Bible Dictionary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997

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