What is a biblical…

Meaning: a joyful shout or resounding trumpets

This is the name of the great semi-centennial festival of the Hebrews. It is not totally clear whether it was celebrated on the 50th year (AFTER 7 cycles of Sabbatical years) or ON the 49th year.

In any case, the Jubilee lasted for a year. During this year the land was to be fallow (left unplowed and unseeded), and the Israelites were only permitted to gather the spontaneous produce of the fields (Leviticus 25:11-12).

All land property during that year reverted to its original owner (13-34; 27:16-24), and all who were slaves were set free (25:39-54), and all debts were forgiven.

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; Ezek. 7:12-13; Neh. 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 over another.
  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.”

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Article Version: September 28, 2017