Jubilee: A joyful shout or clangour of trumpets, the name of the great
semi-centennial festival of the Hebrews. It lasted for a year. During
this year the land was to be fallow, and the Israelites were only
permitted to gather the spontaneous produce of the fields
(Leviticus 25:11,12) All landed property during that year reverted to its
(Leviticus 25:13-34; 27:16-24) and all who were slaves were set
(Leviticus 25:39-54) and all debts were remitted. The return of the
jubilee year was proclaimed by a blast of trumpets which sounded
throughout the land. There is no record in Scripture of the actual
observance of this festival, but there are numerous allusions
(Isaiah 5:7,8,9,10; 61:1,2; Ezekiel 7:12,13; Nehemiah 5:1-19; 2 Chronicles 36:21) which place
it beyond a doubt that it was observed. The advantages of this
institution were manifold:
1. It would prevent the accumulation of land on the part of a few
to the detriment of the community at large.
2. It would render it impossible for any one to be born to
absolute poverty, since every one had his hereditary land.
3. It would preclude those inequalities which are produced by
extremes of riches and poverty, and which make one man domineer
4. It would utterly do away with slavery.
5. It would afford a fresh opportunity to those who were reduced by
adverse circumstances to begin again their career of industry in
the patrimony which they had temporarily forfeited.
6. It would periodically rectify the disorders which crept into the
state in the course of time, preclude the division of the people
into nobles and plebeians, and preserve the theocracy inviolate."