Summary of passage: Every 50th year is to be a Jubilee year for Israel where all the people return to their family property and clan and do not sow the land and freedom for all. Do not take advantage of people when selling the land and fear your Lord. God will provide in the sixth year all the people need for the seventh and eighth year until the crop comes in. The land is God’s.
People are to sell their property to relatives and property will be returned to the original owners in the year of the Jubilee. Houses sold are not to be returned in the year of the Jubilee except for the Levites who can redeem their houses in Levitical towns. They are not to sell their pastureland.
5a) All the slaves are to be freed. All the land is to return to the original owners. The land is to remain fallow.
b) The idea that servants are to gain freedom.
6a) To ensure that the land remains in the hands of all the people and not just a wealthy few who bought up others’ land.
b) The people are to follow God’s decrees and obey His laws and then they will live safely in the land, which will bear fruit. God will bless the Israelites in the 6th year to provide for the fallow year of the 7th and into the 8th as they await the harvest.
c) Personal Question. My answer: No. The sheer magnitude of managing the number of people in the world today and the number of individual properties would render the task impossible. Plus, at least in the US, people hold the idea that they own land very close. They would not be willing to agree to give up land to original owners and descendants. It goes against all of the ideals the US holds dear: hard work and you will succeed in anything in this life.
7a) The nearest relative is to come and buy the land from the poor man in effect giving him a loan until the man could buy it back. An example would be Boaz who bought Naomi’s husband’s land and married Ruth so the land would stay in the name of the dead (Ruth 4).
b) Jesus redeems us from sin and purchases our freedom from the guilt of sin so that we can “receive the full rights of sons”, which is eternal life with God. Ultimately, God reclaims the land which is His as He reclaims us.
Conclusions: The neatest part of this for me is how Ruth popped in my brain immediately. Normally, I’d have to google that. That shows me just how much I am learning through BSF. And I immediately saw Jesus. Again, we see God providing for His people.
End Notes: Since Jesus quoted Isaiah 61, scholars say Jesus may have come in the year of a Jubilee although at the time the practice of land redemption had fallen out of favor especially since the Romans were in control of the land.
Basically, the whole point of the land in the year of the Jubilee was that it returned to the original owners so they would always have God’s Promised Land. Land in effect could never be sold, only leased. The intent was to ensure against people becoming poor. However, the extent to which this was observed is difficult to say. Some scholars say this was never observed. God wanted His people to remember their home was in heaven, not in the land.
This land rule only applied in the country where the people needed the land to earn a living. In a walled city, land could be bought and sold as it was seen as just a home and nothing more.
Fun Fact: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” is inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which is where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed.