“But if the prince
Makes a gift,
Out of his inheritance,
To one of his servants,
It shall be his
Until the year of liberty.
Then it shall revert
To the prince.
Only his sons
May keep a gift
From his inheritance.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, pointed out that the prince could give gifts to his servants out of his own inheritance. However, it would not be a permanent gift, since it would have to be returned in the year of liberty or the Jubilee year. Every 50 years was a Jubilee year, so that debts were forgiven then. In this case, the gift given to a servant had to be returned, because only the sons of the prince could keep inheritance gifts on a permanent basis.
“If a person consecrates to Yahweh any inherited landholding, its assessment shall be in accordance with its seed requirements. Fifty shekels of silver to a homer of barley seed. If the person consecrates the field as in the year of jubilee, that assessment shall stand. But if the field is consecrated after the jubilee, then the priest shall compute the price for it according to the years that remain until the year of jubilee, and the assessment shall be reduced. If the one who consecrates the field wishes to redeem it, then one- fifth shall be added to its assessed value. It shall revert to the original owner. But if the field is not redeemed, or it has been sold to someone else, it shall no longer be redeemable. But when the field is released in the jubilee, it shall be holy to Yahweh as a devoted field. It becomes the priest’s holding. If someone consecrates to Yahweh a field that has been purchased, which is not a part of the inherited landholding, the priest shall compute for the proportionate assessment up to the year of jubilee. The assessment shall be paid as of that day, a sacred donation to Yahweh. In the year of jubilee the field shall return to the one from whom it was bought, whose holding the land is. All assessments shall be made by the sanctuary shekel. Twenty gerahs shall make a shekel.”
There was even an assessment of inherited lands based on how much seed was used. For barley it was 50 shekels to a homer of barley seed. A “homer” is 10% of a bushel, which sounds expensive. The priests were aware of the financial effects of the Jubilee Year, because the priest computed the price according to the years remain until the year of jubilee. He then reduced the assessment. If you wanted to take back a consecrated land then 20% was added to the assessed value. Once a field was sold, it was not redeemable. When a field is released in the jubilee, it becomes the priest’s holding. In the year of jubilee the field shall return to the original owner. All assessments shall be made by the sanctuary shekel. Here the priest is also a real estate agent.
“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.