For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2005 James Melough

25:1.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,”


25:2.  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come in to the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.


This continues God’s pronouncements relative to the requirements of His law, and their being made in mount Sinai, which means my thorns, is the reminder that it was Adam’s disobedience that had brought man under Divine condemnation, the perpetual reminder of that condemnation being the earth’s production of thorns and thistles, see Genesis 3:18.


It is instructive to note that the first thing said about the land Israel was to inherit was connected with rest, for the sabbath is synonymous with rest, and Israel’s entering into rest in Canaan is the typological picture of the believer’s experience the moment he trusts Christ as his Savior and Lord, His promise to believers being, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.  Faith in Christ delivers man from the wearying hopeless toil of trying to fit himself for heaven, and brings him into the enjoyment of a rest which is but the foretaste of the eternal rest to be enjoyed in heaven.


The sabbath is the perpetual reminder of the fact that it is only by faith in Christ, not by works, that man enters into the enjoyment of eternal rest.


25:3.  “Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;”


Those six years represent the productive life of the average man, but God’s command to the Israelite to sow his field, and prune his vineyard is invested with a spiritual significance that transcends the literal: it is His command to believers to sow the good seed of the Gospel in the “field,” symbol of the world, see Matthew 13:38 “The field is the world....” 


The vineyard, on the other hand, represents a man’s personal life, pruning portraying the cutting out of the life all that is displeasing to God, and therefore profitless to the man himself. As the pruned vineyard enriched its owner, so does the spiritually “pruned” life yield eternal profit to the man who cuts out of it everything that doesn’t promote God’s glory.


“... and gather in the fruit thereof.”  The pruning resulted in correspondingly greater production of fruit; and so will it be also in the spiritual realm.  There will be greater glory for God, and increased spiritual enrichment for the individual, not only here on earth, but also in heaven, Paul having written, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building,” 1 Corinthians 3:8-9.


25:4.  “But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.”


Since seven is the number of completeness or perfection, the seventh year, in the present context, represents the eternal state, in which the believer will rest from his labors, and enter into the enjoyment of his eternal rest, as it is written in Revelation 14:13, “... Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”


25:5.  “That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.”


Whatever grew in that seventh year, whether grain or grape, was not to be gathered, this being the tacit acknowledgement of the fact that what God had given in the preceding six years was ample to meet the peoples’ needs in the seventh.  This OT ordinance points symbolically to the principle that is to govern the life of the believer during this present dispensation of grace, as declared by the Lord Himself, “... take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.... Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself,” Matthew 6:34.


In a broader context, this emphasizes the truth that he who knows Christ as his Savior need have no anxious care as to what follows death.  That man will be at home in heaven with the Lord.


25:6.  “And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,”


This verse is also translated, “The sabbath of the land will itself feed you and your servants, men and women, your hired laborer, your guest, and all who live with you,” The Jerusalem Bible; “While the land has its sabbath, all its produce will be food equally for you yourself and for your male and female slaves, for your hired help and the tenants who live with you,” The New American Bible; “Any crops that do grow that year shall be free to all - for you, your servants, your slaves, and any foreigners living among you,” Taylor.


His willingness to allow the land to lie fallow each seventh year testified to the reality of the Israelite’s faith, his obedience demonstrating that he trusted God to provide for all his needs. 


The ordinance of the sabbatic year has no application to this present age of grace, except to teach the truth that we can confidently trust in God to provide for all our needs, as long as we walk in obedience before Him.  But the command to rest from work on the first day of each week does apply today, for it was enjoined at the beginning of creation, and has never been abrogated; but today’s blatant disobedience relative to keeping it as a day of rest bears eloquent testimony to humanity’s rebellion, and refusal to trust in God.  It is also the glaring demonstration of man’s avarice.


25:7.  “And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.”


God’s care extended also to Israel’s livestock, and to the wild animals on their land, reminding us of the Lord’s assurance to us as recorded in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”


25:8.  “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.”


Because seven is the scriptural number of perfection or completeness, Israel was to keep careful record of the passing years, and to celebrate by a special festival the completion of forty-nine years - the number of multiplied perfection of God’s faithful protection, and abundant provision for all their needs. We too should never forget His same care for us, our gratitude being expressed in obedient lives, for it is written, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” 1 Samuel 15:22.


25:9.  “Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.”


The day of atonement was the one day on which the sacrificial blood was carried into the Most Holy Place, this being the typological acknowledgement that all the blood shed throughout the past year had been ineffective to make full atonement for the people’s sin.  The uniqueness of that blood points to the fact that only the precious blood of Christ could atone for sin, the NT assurance of that fact being conveyed in the words, “The blood of Jesus Christ his (God’s) Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7.


The trumpet “of jubilee” was the sounding forth of an acclamation of joy.  The people were to unite in the glad proclamation of their thanksgiving to God for His unfailing protection, and abundant provision during the past forty-nine years


The sounding of the trumpet throughout all the land ought to remind us of the need to also return Him thanks for His similar watchful care, and faithful provision for our every need; no small part of that grateful acknowledgement being our trumpeting forth the good news of the Gospel, as the Lord Himself has commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15.


25:10.  “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”


Hallow as used here means to make cleanFifty, the factors of which are 5 x 10; 2 x 5 x 5, speaks first of man’s responsibility - of which five is the biblical number - under the government of God, of which ten is the number; and also of the witness, of which two is the number, to man’s double responsibility, as signified by 5 x 5, before God and man, to be obedient to that government.


The proclamation of liberty during that fiftieth year reminds us that true liberty can be enjoyed only by those who obey God, for obedience brings blessing; but disobedience, chastisement and loss.


“... unto all the inhabitants,” i.e., God’s people.  This teaches the lesson that only His own, i.e., believers, have the ability to do His will, for every unbeliever is the bondslave of Satan who compels his minions to do his will, which is to defy God, and thus accomplish their own destruction.


That fiftieth year also represents the moment when the sinner trusts Christ, and thus delivers himself from Satan’s bondage.  The Israelite’s “possession,” i.e., his God-allotted portion of the land of Canaan, answers to what God desires every man to have: a place in heaven eternally.


The man was also enabled to return to his family, from which his indebtedness had caused him to be separated by the bondage into which debt had brought him.  The believer enjoys the equivalent restoration: he is restored to God’s family, and to the certain enjoyment of an eternal inheritance in heaven.


25:11.  “A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.”


They were not to sow in that fiftieth year, nor were they to reap what had grown from the previous year’s sowing; nor were they to gather the grapes produced by their vines on that year of jubilee.  Their leaving in their fields and vineyards all that had grown of itself that year was their symbolic grateful acknowledgement of the fact that God was the Giver of everything which the land brought forth.  Apart from Him they would have had nothing.


Since we are indebted to Him, not only for temporal blessings, but for those which are spiritual and of transcendent worth, it is surely incumbent upon us to express our gratitude in the manner which affords Him the greatest pleasure: the presentation of obedient lives, see again 1 Samuel 15:22.


25:12.  “For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.”


Taylor has rendered this verse, “That year your food shall be the volunteer crops that grow wild in the fields.”


25:13.  “In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.”


Adverse circumstances might have required a man to sell his land, but the sale was not to be permanent.  In the year of jubilee possession reverted to the original owner


25:14.  “And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another:”


25:15.  “According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:”


25:16.  “According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.”


25:17.  “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God.”


The value of land increased or decreased in relation to the number of years remaining between the year of sale and the year of jubilee when possession reverted to the original owner.  A purchaser buying land on the first year after jubilee would pay a higher price than one buying it in the year just before jubilee, because he would have a longer time in which to enjoy its produce, and vice versa.


25:18.  “Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.”


Israel’s obedience to God’s government would ensure their safe dwelling in the land.


25:19.  “And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.”


Their obedience would also secure an abundant supply to satisfy all their needs, and ensure their safety in the land.


25:20.  “And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:”


It was only natural that they should ask such questions, for what God was promising was completely contrary to all the laws of nature with which they were familiar.  They had to learn that He isn’t limited by the laws of nature.  He is the God of the supernatural.


25:21.  “Then will I command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.”


Six is the number of man, weakness, and sin; but three is the number of resurrection, and Jehovah is the God of resurrection.  Only when man is willing to admit that there is associated with him all the weakness and evil connected with the number six, can God come in and “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” Ephesians 3:20.  When we confess ourselves to be condemned sinners, and trust in Christ as our Savior and Lord, then God pardons all our sin, lifts us up out of spiritual death, imparts His gift of eternal life, and blesses us “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (things) in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3.


This is the truth being declared symbolically in God’s promise to give in the sixth year what would be sufficient for three years.


25:22.  “And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of the old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.”


The produce of the sixth year would furnish food for that year, and for the seventh and eighth, and at the same time leave enough also for sowing in the eighth year, and until the harvest of the ninth year was ready for gathering.


It is instructive to note that for 490 years Israel disobeyed God’s command relative to observance of the sabbatic year, their punishment being that He had them carried out of the land into a seventy-year captivity in Babylon, during which time the land did enjoy her sabbaths, the seventy years of captivity being the exact number of sabbatic years of which greedy Israel had robbed the land of its God-appointed rest.  He who attempts to rob God robs himself.


25:23.  “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.”


The prohibition against selling the land in perpetuity was the reminder that it belonged to God, the people being merely granted the use of it as each generation died, and was replaced by a new one, the only One who was permanent, being God Himself, the eternally existing One.


Men have largely forgotten this fact as they fight and scrabble for this world’s wealth, and in the process bankrupt themselves relative to eternal riches, the Lord’s warning being, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:19-21.


25:24.  “And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.”


This is also translated, “... you shall allow land which has been sold to be redeemed; in every contract of sale there must be a stipulation that the land can be redeemed at any time by the seller.”  This was more than the guarantee that his land, his inheritance, would never pass out of the hereditary possession of the man to whom it had first been given: it is also the typological assurance of the fact that the believer can never lose his salvation.


25:25.  “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.”


The Berkeley translation renders this “When you brother is impoverished and sells some of his property, then his nearest relative shall come and buy back what he has sold.”  Boaz’ redemption of the property of the deceased Elimelech, as recorded in the book of Ruth, is an example of such a redemptive purchase, that transaction, like every other, being a beautiful type of the Lord’s redemption of this world and of men’s souls, see the present author’s commentary on the book of Ruth, also available on this web site.


25:26.  “And if the man has none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;”


25:27.  “Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.”


This declares the procedure to be followed when one became sufficiently wealthy to buy back property which poverty had earlier compelled him to sell.  The New American Bible translates this, “... he shall make a deduction from the price in proportion to the number of years since the sale, and then pay back the balance to the one to whom he sold it, so that he may thus regain his own property.”


25:28.  “But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it unto the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.”


In the event that the man whom poverty had compelled to sell his land, never became rich enough to buy it back, it remained in the possession of the purchaser, but only until the year of jubilee, at which time it reverted to the original owner.  Keeping in mind that the purchaser had benefited by his having the use of the land in the time between his purchase of it and the year of jubilee, he was being fairly treated, for what he had paid for the use of it was proportionate to the produce it would yield in those remaining years.


25:29.  “And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it.”


25:30.  “And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubilee.”


The difference between a piece of land outside the city, and a dwelling house within it, was that the land had been given by God, but the house was the work of man’s hand.  The land yielded food for man and beast perpetually, but the house provided nothing except shelter.  The land possessed outside the city represents the eternal life given by God in response to faith; the house in the city represents the works by which the unbelieving man expects to merit entrance to heaven, only to learn too late the worthlessness of that upon which he had built his hopes for eternity.


Its not going out in the jubilee, i.e., not returning to the possession of the man, or his heirs, to whom God had originally given it, declares the truth that the good works which it represents, have no eternal worth.  Its not being redeemed within a full year, but remaining perpetually in the possession of the man who purchased it, is the symbolic warning that he who refuses to be redeemed in God’s way and in His time, but who expects to purchase entry to heaven by good works, will remain for ever unredeemed, i.e., damnation will be his eternal inheritance.


In the present context the man-made wall around the city is the symbolic declaration of man’s faith in his own works, and his lack of faith in God.  The walled city, in fact, represents the great harlot system centered in Rome: Roman Catholicism.  Its teaching is inimical to everything that is of God, for it is a system of works, and not faith.  For God’s specific condemnation of this iniquitous system see Revelation 17-18, and the present author’s book on Revelation relative to these two chapters, also available on this web site.


25:31.  “But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee.”


The unwalled villages, on the other hand, represent those small scripturally ordered local churches, composed of true believers, i.e., those whose faith rests in the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice to make complete atonement for all their sins, and which assures them of entry into heaven at the end of life’s journey.


The absence of walls is the symbolic declaration of their complete faith in Christ and His finished work, and not in any works they themselves might do, see Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,” and again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” Titus 3:5-6.


Its being said of these village dwellers that “they may be redeemed,” is the OT typological way of saying that true believers are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; and the further assurance that “they shall go out in the jubilee,” is the symbolic guarantee that at the end of life’s journey every believer will go out to enjoy eternal bliss with Christ in heaven.


25:32.  “Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time.”


Levi, the tribe chosen by God to be His priests, means joined, that meaning undoubtedly having reference to their unique priestly relationship to Jehovah.  There was no time limit imposed on them relative to the redemption of property.  Unlike other Israelites who must redeem a mortgaged house within a year, the Levites could exercise the right of redemption at any time,

this provision being the virtual guarantee of perpetual possession.  It is the OT foreshadowing of the NT truth that the believer can never lose the certainty of having his “house” in heaven eternally.


25:33.  “And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.”


Unlike the man mentioned in verse 30, a Levite unable to redeem his mortgaged house within a year, didn’t lose it: in the year of jubilee he or his heir regained ownership.  This continues to declare the truth that the believer can never loose his salvation.


25:34.  “But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.”


While a Levite’s house might become the legal possession of his creditor until the year of jubilee, the fields belonging to the Levitical cities were never to be sold.  God had given them to the Levites in perpetuity as pasture land for their animals.


As discussed above, the Levites represent Church-age believers as a royal kingdom of priests, some of whom God has gifted to serve as evangelists, pastors (elders), or teachers, see 1 Corinthians 4:11. The apostles and prophets were only for the early apostolic age, but the evangelists, elders, and teachers are to continue until the rapture of the Church.  The evangelist or teacher is almost invariably called to a fulltime ministry, thus precluding the possibility of his engaging in “secular” work, his material needs being met by the gifts of those to whom he ministers.


Since the nature of the work done by the pastors (elders) very rarely makes it impossible for them to continue also in “secular” work, there is rarely any need for them to receive financial support from their brethren.  The Levites were the OT counterparts of the NT elders, and the fields given them in perpetuity by God for the production of crops, were symbolic of the fact that elders, with very rare exceptions, are to be self-supporting.


25:35.  “And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.”


“... waxen poor” means to become poverty-stricken; and “fallen in decay” in the present context is usually understood to mean “to become weak and infirm by reason of age.”  It didn’t matter whether the victim of these circumstances were a resident Gentile, or an Israelite, he was to be treated with compassion.


While this same attitude is to govern us literally in our dealings with others, the same principle is to govern us in our conduct towards the unconverted relative to their spiritual need, for literal destitution is a figure or type of the corresponding spiritual state.


25:36.  “Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that they brother may live with thee.”


The debtor was not to be charged interest, either in money or goods, the exhortation to “fear thy God” being the warning that that same God would visit with retribution every breach of this command.


25:37.  “Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.”


This repeated command not to lend money at interest, or to give food on the condition that it be repaid with an additional amount added on as a charge for the loan of it, is to emphasize the importance of this ordinance.  Surely no spiritual mind will fail to see in this the annunciation of a principle that is to govern us in our dealings with others.  The Lord’s words to the disciples in Matthew 10:8, apply also to us, “... freely ye have received, freely give.”


This however, is not to be understood as teaching that we are to be prodigal with the money which God has entrusted to us, but rather that we are not to refuse to minister to genuine need.


25:38.  “I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.”


This sets God before us as the perfect Giver.  When Israel was destitute, and enslaved to the Egyptians, He delivered them, providing for all their needs for forty years in the wilderness, and then bringing them into the enjoyment of Canaan’s milk and honey.


Their deliverance is the typological picture of our deliverance from Satan’s bondage; and their enrichment, the type of ours, as it is written, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (things) in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3.


“... and to be your God.”  As such, He was to be honored and obeyed, for obedience to Him is the truest expression of love for Him, He Himself having declared, “If ye love me, keep my commandments .... He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” John 14:15-21.


25:39.  “And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:”


25:40.  “But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee;”


This envisages the case of an Israelite who was compelled by poverty to sell himself to another Israelite.  The buyer was forbidden to treat the bankrupt as a bondslave, but as an employee.  In the present context a sojourner was a temporary resident, a hired hand, who would be restored to his own inheritance in the year of jubilee.  No matter to what straits poverty might have reduced him, an Israelite was never to be compelled to become a bondservant, this being the typological assurance that those who trust Christ as Savior and Lord have been made free, with no possibility of their ever being brought again into Satan’s bondage, as it is written, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” John 8:36.


25:41.  “And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.”


This return in the year of jubilee may well be a typological picture of the rapture of the Church, and also of the entrance of the believing remnant of Israel into enjoyment of the millennial kingdom at the end of the Great Tribulation.


25:42.  “For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.”


The truth presented here typologically is explicitly stated in 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”  And relative to our service to Christ, it is to be, “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,” Ephesians 6:6-7.


Their having been “brought forth out of the land of Egypt,” has also its spiritual lesson, for Egypt represents the world of business and pleasure, where unbelieving men, the unwitting bondslaves of Satan and sin, live in defiant independence of God. It is from our bondage to that same evil world that we have been delivered by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Its being said of the redeemed Israelites that “they shall not be sold as bondmen,” is the assurance that believers are no longer the bondslaves of sin: when they sin, it is by an act of their own free will, not, as formerly, by the compulsion of their corrupt Adamic nature, which they were powerless to resist.


25:43.  “Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor; but shalt fear thy God.”


“... rigor” is also translated severity; ruthless severity.


This enjoined principle continues to emphasize the gentleness of Christ’s lordship over His own, as declared in His own words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.


25:44.  “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.”


The complete emancipation of the believer, in stark contrast with the bondage of the unbeliever, is symbolically declared here, for in the context of this verse the bondmen and bondmaids represent unbelievers, their subjugation being also a metaphoric picture of the subjection of the millennial nations to Israel.


25:45.  “Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall be buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.”


Israel was permitted to buy as bondslaves not only the Gentiles living in the surrounding countries, but also those living with them in the land of Canaan; and though at first the symbolic message may be less apparent, closer examination reveals its clarity.  Those Gentiles represent the unbelievers who occupy a place in the professing local churches, but who are not members of the true Church which is comprised of genuine believers only. They are in fact still the bondslaves of sin and Satan.


25:46.  “And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.”


In this perpetual subjugation of the bondslaves, God would have us see the eternal duration of the misery of all who die without having trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord; but in the continued supremacy of the Israelites we are being shown the everlasting continuance of the believers’ reign with Christ, “they shall reign for ever and ever,” Revelation 22:5.


25:47.  “And if a sojourner or a stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock (descendant) of the stranger’s family:”


Implicit in the enrichment of the sojourner or stranger is the assurance that earthly riches are never the criterion by which to measure God’s favor.  Many of God’s choicest saints possess little of this world’s wealth.


25:48.  “After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:”


It isn’t difficult to see in the nameless man who would fill the role of kinsman-redeemer, a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was for the very purpose of redeeming men’s souls that He became man, so that He could “give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45, for as God He could not die. 


25:49.  “Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.”


Male kinship was a prerequisite of those who would play the part of kinsman-redeemer.  This confutes Roman Catholicism’s idolatrous worship of Mary, and their tacit relegation of the Lord Jesus Christ to an inferior place. 


Relative to a man’s redeeming himself, it was possible when the redemption involved only deliverance from bondage to man, but it is an utter impossibility when it comes to redemption from the terrible and eternal consequences of sin, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)", Psalm 49:8.  None but Christ could redeem men’s souls.


25:50.  “And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of Jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him.”


This verse is variously rendered as follows: “With his purchaser he shall compute the years from the sale to the jubilee, distributing the sale price over these years as though he had been hired as a day laborer” - The New American Bible; “With his buyer he shall count from the year when he was sold to him until the coming year of jubilee and the price of his release shall be according to the number of years, rating his time as that of a hired hand” - Berkeley Version; “In doing so, he will reckon up the number of years from the time of his sale to the next jubilee, and divide the price he was sold for by the number of years, as if he was a hireling paid yearly wages” - Knox.


25:51.  “If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption of the money that he was bought for.”


The New American Bible translates this verse, “The more such years there are, the more of the sale price he shall pay back as ransom.”


25:52.  “And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption.”


Taylor renders this, “If the years have passed and only a few remain until the jubilee, then he will repay only a small part of the amount he received when he sold himself.”


25:53.  “And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigor over him in thy sight.”


This continues God’s directions to the elders of Israel: they were responsible to ensure that the impoverished Israelite who had sold himself as a bondservant was treated humanely by his purchaser, the comments on verse 43 applying here also.


25:54.  “And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, both he, and his children with him.”


The comments already made on verse 43 apply here also.


25:55.  “For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”


The comments on verse 42 apply here also.

[Leviticus 26]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough