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In token of his peculiar right to the land of Canaan,
God in this chapter appoints,
- That every seventh year should be a year of rest, ver. 1 - 7.
- That every fiftieth year should be a year of jubilee, ver. 8 - 17.
A peculiar blessing annext, ver. 18 - 22.
The land sold may be redeemed: if not, it shall revert at the
year of jubilee, only with some exceptions, ver. 23 - 34.
Usury forbidden, ver. 35 - 38.
Jewish servants to be released at the jubilee, ver. 39.
but heathens might be retained, ver. 40 - 46.
Of an Israelite that sold himself to a stranger, ver. 47 - 55.
1: In mount Sinai - That is, near mount Sinai. So the Hebrew
particle beth is sometimes used. So there is no need to disturb the
history in this place.
2: When ye come into the land - So as to be settled in it; for the
time of the wars was not to be accounted, nor the time before Joshua's
distribution of the land among them. Keep a sabbath - That is, enjoy rest
and freedom from plowing, and tilling. Unto the Lord - In obedience and
unto the honour of God. This was instituted,
- For the assertion of God's sovereign right to the land, in which
the Israelites were but tenants at God's will.
- For the trial of their obedience.
- For the demonstration of his providence as well in general towards men,
as especially towards his own people.
- To wean them from inordinate love, and pursuit of worldly advantages, and
to inure them to depend upon God alone, and upon God's blessing for their
- To put them in mind of that blessed and eternal rest provided for all
4: A sabbath of rest to the land - They were neither to do any work
about it, nor expect any harvest from it. All yearly labours were to be
intermitted in the seventh year, as much as daily labours on the seventh
5: Of its own accord - From the grains that fell out of the ears the
last reaping time. Thou shalt not reap - That is, as thy own peculiarly,
but only so as others may reap it with thee, for present food.
Undressed - Not cut off by thee, but suffered to grow for the use of the
6: The sabbath of the land - That is, the growth of the sabbath, or
that fruit which groweth in the sabbatical year. For thy servant - For
all promiscuously, to take food from thence as they need it.
9: The jubilee - Signified the true liberty from our spiritual debts
and slaveries to be purchased by Christ, and to be published to the world
by the sound of the gospel. The seventh month - Which was the first month
of the year for civil affairs; the jubilee therefore began in that month;
and, as it seems, upon this very tenth day, when the trumpet sounded, as
other feasts generally began when the trumpet sounded. In the day of
atonement - A very fit time, that when they fasted and prayed for God's
mercy to them in the pardon of their sins, then they might exercise
their charity to men in forgiving their debts; and to teach us, that the
foundation of all solid comfort must be laid in repentance and atonement
for our sins through Christ.
10: The fiftieth year - The year of jubilee was not the forty and
ninth year, as some learned men think, but precisely the fiftieth. The old
weekly sabbath is called the seventh day, because it truly was so, being
next after the six days of the week and distinct from them all: and the year
of release is called the seventh year, (Le 25:4), as immediately
following the six years, (Le 25:3), and distinct from them all.
And in like manner the jubilee is called the fiftieth year, because it
comes next after seven tines seven or forty - nine years, (Le 25:8),
and is distinct from them all. Unto all the inhabitants - Understand
such as were Israelites; principally to all servants, even to such as
would not and did not go out at the seventh year, and to the poor, who now
were acquitted from all their debts, and restored to their possessions.
Jubilee - So called either from the Hebrew word Jobel which signifies
first a ram, and then a ram's horn, by the sound whereof it was
proclaimed; or from Jubal the inventor of musical instruments,(Ge 4:21), because it was celebrated with music and all expressions of
joy. Unto his possession - Which had been sold or otherwise alienated
from him. This law was not at all unjust, because all buyers and sellers
had an eye to this condition in their bargains; but it was expedient in many
- To mind them that God alone was the Lord and proprietor both of them
and of their lands, and they only his tenants; a point which they were
very apt to forget.
- That hereby inheritances, families, and tribes, might be kept entire
and clear until the coming of the Messiah, who was to be known as by
other things, so by the tribe and family out of which he was to come.
And this accordingly was done by the singular providence of God until the
Lord Jesus did come. Since which time those characters are miserably
confounded: which is no small argument that the Messiah is come.
- To set bounds both to the insatiable avarice of some, and the foolish
prodigality of others, that the former might not wholly and finally
swallow up the inheritances of their brethren, and the latter might not
be able to undo themselves and their posterity for ever, which was a
singular privilege of this law and people.
His family - From whom he was gone, being sold to some other family either
by himself or by his father.
12: It shall be holy - So it was, because it was sequestered in great
part from worldly employments and dedicated to God, and to the exercise of
holy joy and thankfulness; and because it was a type of that holy and happy
jubilee which they were to expect and enjoy under the Messiah. The
increase thereof - Such things as it produced of itself. Out of the
field - Whence they in common with others might take it as they needed it;
but must not put it into barns, See (Le 25:5,Ex 23:11).
14: Ye shall not oppress - Neither the seller by requiring more, nor
the buyer by taking the advantage from his brother's necessities to give
him less than the worth of it.
15: Years of fruits - Or, fruitful years; for there were some
unfruitful years; those wherein they were not allowed to sow or reap.
16: Years of fruits - Or, For the number of the fruits. The
meaning is, he selleth not the land, but only the fruits thereof, and that
for a certain time.
21: For three years - Not compleatly, but in great part, namely, for
that part of the 6th year which was between the beginning of harvest and
the beginning of the 7th year, for the whole 7th year, and for that part
of the 8th year which was before the harvest, which reached almost until
the beginning of the ninth year. This is added to shew the equity of this
command. As God would hereby try their faith and obedience, so he gave them
an eminent proof of his own exact providence and tender care over them in
making provisions suitable to their necessities.
22: Old fruit - Of the sixth year principally, if not solely.
23: For ever - So as to be for ever alienated from the family of him
that sells it. Or, absolutely and properly, so as to become the
property of the buyer: Or, to the extermination or utter cutting
off, namely, of the seller, from all hopes and possibility of
redemption. The land is mine - Procured for you by my power, given to
you by my grace and bounty, and the right of propriety reserved by me.
With me - That is, in my land or houses: thus he is said to sojourn with
another that dwells in his house. Howsoever in your own or other mens
opinions you pass for lords and proprietors, yet in truth, ye are but
strangers and sojourners, not to possess the land for ever, but only for
a season, and to leave it to such as I have appointed for it.
24: A redemption - A right of redemption in the time and manner
25: If any of his kin come - Or, If the redeemer come, being
near akin to him, who in this was an eminent type of Christ, who was
made near akin to us by taking our flesh, that he might perform the work
of redemption for us.
27: The years of the sale - That is, from the time of the sale
to the jubilee. See above, (Le 25:15,16).
The overplus - That is, a convenient price for the years from this
redemption to the jubilee.
28: Go out - That is, out of the buyer's hand, without any
30: It shall not go out - The reasons before alledged for lands do
not hold in such houses; there was no danger of confusion in tribes or
families by the alienation of houses. The seller also had a greater
propriety in houses than in lands, as being commonly built by the owner's
cost and diligence, and therefore had a fuller power to dispose of them.
Besides, God would hereby encourage persons to buy and possess houses in
such places, as frequency and fulness of inhabitants in cities, was a great
strength, honour and advantage to the whole land.
31: In the villages - Because they belonged to and were necessary
for the management of the lands.
34: May not be sold - Not sold at all, partly, because it was of
absolute necessity for them for the keeping of their cattle, and partly
because these were no enclosures, but common fields, in which all the
Levites that lived in such a city had an interest, and therefore no
particular Levite could dispose of his part in it.
35: A sojourner - Understand it of proselytes only, for of other
strangers they were permitted to take usury, (De 23:20).
36: Of him - That is, of thy brother, whether he be Israelite, or
proselyte. Or increase - All kinds of usury are in this case forbidden,
whether of money, or of victuals, or of any thing that is
commonly lent by one man to another upon usury, or upon condition
of receiving the thing lent with advantage and overplus. If one borrow in
his necessity, there can be no doubt but this law is binding still. But it
cannot be thought to bind, where money is borrowed for purchase of lands,
trade, or other improvements. For there it is reasonable, that the lender
share with the borrower in the profit.
39: As a bond - man - Neither for the time, for ever, nor for the
manner, with the hardest and vilest kinds of service, rigorously and
41: Then shall he depart - Thou shalt not suffer him or his to
abide longer in thy service, as thou mightest do in the year of release,(Ex 21:2,6).
42: They are my servants - They, no less than you, are members of my
church and people; such as I have chosen out of all the world to serve me
here, and to enjoy me hereafter, and therefore are not to be oppressed,
neither are you absolute lords over them to deal with them as you please.
43: Fear thy God - Though thou dost not fear them who are in thy
power, and unable to right themselves, yet fear that God who hath commanded
thee to use them kindly, and who can and will avenge their cause, if thou
47: The flock - Heb. root, that is, one of the root or flock.
So the word root is elsewhere used for the branch or progeny growing
from it. He seems to note one of a foreign race and country, transplanted
into the land of Israel, and there having taken root amongst the people
of God, yet even such an one, though he hath some privilege by it, shall
not have power to keep an Hebrew servant from the benefit of redemption.
50: According to the time of an hired servant - Allowance shall be
made for the time wherein he hath served, proportionable to that which is
given to an hired servant for so long service, because his condition is in
this like theirs; it is not properly his person, but his work and labour
that was sold.
53: In thy sight - Thou shalt not suffer this to be done, but whethe
thou art a magistrate, or a private person, thou shalt take care according
to thy capacity to get it remedied.