The Jubilee Year (Lev 25:8-25:19)

“You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years.   Then you shall have the trumpet sound loud.  On the ten day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement.  You shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. You shall hallow the fiftieth year.  You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.  It shall be a jubilee for you.  You shall return, every one of you, to your property.  Every one of you shall return to your family.  That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you.  You shall not sow or reap the after-growth of the harvest or the un-pruned vines.  For it is a jubilee.  It shall be holy to you. You shall eat only what the field itself produces.”

The Jubilee year comes every 50 years.  7 times 7 equal 49.  After 7 Sabbath years, you shall have the trumpet sound loud on the 10th day of the 7th month, on the Day of Atonement.  Thus the 50th year is a jubilee for you.  Everyone returns to their family and their own property, with no sowing, reaping, or harvesting.  You eat only what the field itself produces.

“In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property.  When you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not cheat one another.  When you shall buy from your neighbor, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee.  The seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop years.  If the years are more, you shall increase the price.  If the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price.  It is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you.  You shall not cheat one another.  But you shall fear your God.  I am Yahweh your God.  You shall observe my statutes, and faithfully keep my ordinances so that you may live on the land securely.  The land will yield its fruit.  You will eat your fill and live on it securely.”

What about transactions during this time?  First all you do not cheat each other.  You charge people based on how close it is to the jubilee year, since most people would know when it is coming.  The price of the property and crops are based on jubilee year.  If you fear God and observe his ordinances, you will live on the land securely.

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Sabbatical year (Lev 25:1-25:7)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.  Speak to the people of Israel, ‘when you enter into the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a Sabbath for Yahweh.  Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield.  But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land, a Sabbath for Yahweh.  You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.  You shall not reap the after-growth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your un-pruned vine.  It shall be a year of complete rest for the land.  You may eat what the land yields during its Sabbath.  You, your male and female slaves, your hired and bound laborers who live with you.  For your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.”

This time Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.  After you get to the Promised Land, you must remember that the land belongs to Yahweh.  Therefore you have to give it a rest every seven years as was mentioned in Exodus, chapter 23.  You can sow your field and prune your vines for six years, but in the seventh year there shall be a complete rest for the land, a Sabbath for Yahweh.  You can live off the land and your livestock.  This applies to all in your household, your family, your slaves, and your laborers. For six years you work hard in the field and on the seven year, you let it grow wild.

 


 

Blasphemy and the law of retaliation (Lev 24:10-24:23)

“A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel.  The Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp.  The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse.  They brought him to Moses.  Now his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.   They put him in custody until the decision of Yahweh should be made clear to them.”

What happens when there is a fight?  Here is the story of an unnamed son of Shelomith, who was the daughter of Dibri, from the tribe of Dan, whose father was Egyptian.  It is not clear whether the father was in the camp or was left behind in Egypt.  This Shelomith appears five times in the biblical writings, but there are others with the same name.  Her unnamed son got into a fight with another unnamed Israelite and Shelomith’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse.  This Name would have been Yahweh.  He blasphemed, abused or spoke irreverently about, the name of God, a very serious crime.  They brought him to Moses and put him in custody.

“Yahweh said to Moses. ‘Take the blasphemer outside the camp.  Let all who were within hearing lay their hands upon his head.  Let the whole congregation stone him.   Speak to the people of Israel, saying, that anyone who curses God shall bear the sin.  One who blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall be put to death. The whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.’” 

Moses went to Yahweh and he responded with a simple answer, anyone who curses God shall bear the sin.  One who blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall be put to death.  The whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer.  They sent him outside the camp, laid hands on his head and stoned him.  Stoning was the communal punishment, so that the evil person was removed from their community, the death penalty. Notice that this blasphemer was not a pure Israelite.  Perhaps there was some prejudice against the non-pure Israelites.  However, the same rules apply to the aliens as the citizens.

“Anyone who kills a human being shall be put to death.  Anyone who kills an animal shall make restitution for it, life for life. Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return.   Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.  The injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered.   One who kills an animal shall make restitution for it.  But one who kills a human being shall be put to death.  You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen.   I am Yahweh your God.  Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel.  They took the blasphemer outside the camp, and stoned him to death.  The people of Israel did as Yahweh had commanded Moses.”

Having solved this problem, they move on to the problem of retaliation or revenge that was also in Exodus, chapter 21.  What is the punishment for various actions?

1)      Anyone who kills a human shall be put to death;

2)      Anyone who kills an animal shall make restitution for it;

3)      A life for life;

4)      Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return;

5)      Fracture for fracture;

6)      Eye for eye.

Bread on the golden table (Lev 24:5-24:9)

“You shall take choice flour, and bake twelve loaves of it.  Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf.  You shall place them in two rows, six in a row on the table of pure gold.  You shall put pure frankincense with each row, to be a token offering for the bread as an offering by fire to Yahweh.  Every Sabbath day Aaron shall set them in order before Yahweh regularly as a commitment of the people of Israel as a covenant forever.   They shall be for Aaron and his descendents, who shall eat them in a holy place, for they are the most holy portions for him from the offerings by fire to Yahweh, a perpetual due.”

As hinted at in chapter 25 of Exodus about the bread of the presence, you shall take choice flour, and bake 12 loaves of it.  1/5 of a bushel of flour shall be in each loaf.  You shall place them in two rows, six in a row on the table of pure gold.  Once again we have the symbolism of the twelve tribes.  Each row would have frankincense.  Every Sabbath Aaron shall put them in order as a sign of the commitment of the people of Israel to their covenant with Yahweh.  Aaron and his descendents would then eat this holy bread in a holy place.

 

The perpetual flame (Lev 24:1-24:4)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  ‘Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly.  Aaron shall set it up in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain of the covenant, to burn from evening to morning before Yahweh regularly.  It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.  He shall set up the lamps on the lamp stand of pure gold before Yahweh regularly.”

The sanctuary lamp, mentioned in Exodus, chapter 27, should be kept burning perpetually or regularly. You had to bring pure oil of beaten olives for this lamp.  This was a burning light on the golden lamp stand outside the curtain of the covenant that burned from evening to morning before Yahweh

Thanksgiving festival of Yahweh (Lev 23:39-23:44)

“Now, the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of Yahweh lasting seven days.  There is a complete rest on the first day and a complete rest on the eighth day.  On the first day you shall take the fruit of the majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook.  You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God for seven days.  You shall keep it as a festival to Yahweh seven days in the year.  You shall keep it in the seventh month as a statute forever throughout your generations.  You shall live in tents or booths for seven days.  All that are citizens in Israel shall live in tents or booths, so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in tents or booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.  Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed festivals of Yahweh.”

This is really the 7 day festival of tents or booths with more details.  This is a 7 day joyful remembrance of the tent living in the desert.  There is complete rest on the 1st and the 8th days. You take the fruit of the trees, the branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and the willows of the brook, probably to build your tent.  You rejoice before Yahweh for 7 days.  You live in these tents or booths for 7 days.  Every citizen in Israel had to live in these tents or booths, so that future generations might know what it was like when the people of Israel lived in these tents or booths when they left Egypt.  Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the various festivals of Yahweh.

Conclusion of festivals (Lev 23:37-23:38)

“These are the appointed festivals of Yahweh, which you shall celebrate as times of holy convocation, for presenting to Yahweh offerings by fire, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day.  All this is apart from the Sabbath of Yahweh, and apart from your gifts, and apart from all your votive offerings, and apart from all your freewill offerings, which you give to Yahweh.”

These are the appointed festivals of Yahweh that became the Jewish high holy days, somewhat like the later Catholic holy days of obligation.  These holy convocations included burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings, each on their proper day.  These are in addition to the regular Sabbaths and the votive or free offerings.