Regulated value of land is vital to a stable economy. How does this work under the Law of the Jubilee?
[Darris McNeely] We’ve been going through a series on BT Daily about the law of the Jubilee , a little known, little understood, but very important law that is found in the book of Leviticus chapter 25. Last time I discussed the all-important seven year cycle of the land rests , and the debts, and forgiveness that the first few verses of Leviticus 25 talk about.
What I’d like to do in this episode is begin in verse 8 and talk about what is covered between verses 8 and 17 in this all-important law of the Jubilee, a fifty year cycle that deals with the land, the people, and all the products of the land as God gave to Israel, but it has a very important connection to any modern economy in more ways than we would probably realize. But if we look just at what we’re told here we have a tremendous amount of understanding. Let’s look at verse 8. It says that, "You shall count seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years" (Leviticus 25:8 Leviticus 25:8And you shall number seven sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty and nine years.
American King James Version×). Alright so this is talking here about seven years times seven years, which brings us to 49 years in this entire cycle of the Jubilee. Seven times seven, seven years of land rests times seven cycles brings us to 49 years.
And in verse 9 it says that, "You shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month on the Day of Atonement," one of God’s Holy Days. "And you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all of your land and consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all of the land to its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you and each of you shall return to your possessions" (Leviticus 25:9-12 Leviticus 25:9-12 9 Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.
11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed.
12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
American King James Version×). So what happens then, at the beginning of the 50th year we have the trumpet blown on the first day - or the tenth day of the seventh month, which is the Day of Atonement. And we have another year that is added to this, which brings us to 50 years. And so what you have here in the 49th year of this cycle is a land rest. The land would lay fallow. No crops would be grown, and then you would go into the 50th year and the law goes on to show that the 50th year is also a land - a time of rest for the land, return of people to their possessions. So what you’re going to wind up with is a minimum of two years where there are not going to be any crops grown in the land. There’s going to be a land redistribution throughout all of this as people return to their possessions.
What that means is it’s a topic we’ll have to go into a little bit later in more detail in terms of that going back to the land. But it would not be until into the 51st year that you would have another crop that would be available for people to eat from. Now this would give a very major test of faith and reliance upon God for people to let land go without growing crops on it and cultivation for over two years. And that’s a part of what it’s dealing with here at this particular time.
But when we come down to verses 15 and 16 in this section of the law (Leviticus 25:15-16 Leviticus 25:15-16 15 According to the number of years after the jubilee you shall buy of your neighbor, and according to the number of years of the fruits he shall sell to you:
16 According to the multitude of years you shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years you shall diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits does he sell to you.
American King James Version×), there’s another interesting factor that we should note because in this we see how the land is valued and we also see a very important principle when it comes to the regulation of an economy over a 50 year period that keeps land values at a measured, understood value, which helps to regulate the economy. And therein lies the importance to any modern economy because one of the major problems that we have today that at times gets us into recession and depressions is values of land and property declining, nobody knowing what it is worth. Verse 15 it says, "According to the number of years after the Jubilee you’ll buy from your neighbor and according to the number of years of crops he will sell to you. According to the multitude of years you will increase its price and according to the fewer number of years you will diminish its price."
What you have here is essentially this, after the Jubilee ends you begin a new cycle where you know that you’re going to have anywhere from one to 50 years in a cycle. If you have a piece of land and you’re going to lease that or sell that - in reality the land was only leased for up to a 50 year period of time before it was redistributed. If you had 49, 47, 46 years to go in that, the land is going to be worth more because one has the use of that land over that period of time and the crops, the productive labor that could be extracted from that. If there’s only five years to the next Jubilee, then the land is worth less in value. But what you have here is a regulated value that allows people to make and plan accordingly, and they are going to understand how the economy can function based upon the value of the land. That’s one of the important features of the Jubilee year and the value of the land.
This part we’ve read today shows how important it is to have that regulation and also how important land and its value happens to be to the regulated economy of the land. We’ll go into this in a bit more detail and show exactly how this impacts the people who draw their living off of the land and redistribute this within this cycle.
That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.