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heathen that are round about you; of them l 50 And he shall reckon with him that shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. bought him from the year that he was sold
45 Moreover of the children of the stran- | to him unto the year of jubile: and the gers that do sojourn among you, of them price of his sale shall be according unto the shall ye buy, and of their families that are number of years, according to the time of an with you, which they begat in your land: hired servant shall it be with him. and they shall be your possession.
51 If there be yet many years behind, ac46 And ye shall take them as an inherit-cording unto them he shall give again the ance for your children after you, to inherit price of his redemption out of the money them for a possession ; they shall be your that he was bought for. bondmen for ever : but over your brethren | 52 And if there remain but few years the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one unto the year of jubile, then he shall count over another with rigour.
with him, and according unto his years shall 47 9 And if a sojourner or stranger swax | he give him again the price of his redemprich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth tion. by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the | 53 And as a yearly hired servant shall he stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock be with him: and the other shall not rule of the stranger's family:
with rigour over him in thy sight. 48 After that he is sold he may be re- 54 And if he be not redeemed in these deemed again; one of his brethren may years, then he shall go out in the year of redeem him :
jubile, both he, and his children with him. 49 Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, 55 For unto me the children of Israel are may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kinservants; they are my servants whom I unto him of his family may redeem him; or brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I if he be able, he may redeem himself. am the Lord your God.
17 Heb. ye shall serve yourselves with them. 18 Heb. his hand obtain, &c. 19 Or, by these means.
- Verse 4. " A sabbath of rest unto the land.”This year of rest to the land is a very prominent feature of the sabbatic system which formed so remarkable and distinguishing a part of the Hebrew polity. First there was the seventh day, now the seventh year, and then a year at the end of the seventh septennial period- all founded on analogous principles, but each possessing its own distinguishing details. The prominent circumstances which distinguished the sabbatic year from common years may thus be enumerated :-). All agricultural processes were to be intermitted, and the land was to lie fallow. The whole country must, in fact, have been thrown into one vast common, free to the poor and the stranger, to the domestic cattle and the game; for the proprietor of land not only ceased to cultivate it, but had no exclusive right to its spontaneous produce, although he might share in it. 2. Every Hebrew slave had the option of being released this year from his servitude. At least, this is inferred from Exod. xxi. 2 ; but it is doubtful whether that passage does not require the interpretation that the seventh year, on which such a person was to be released, was rather the seventh year of his actual servitude than the sabbatic year. It is there said, that he should serve six years, and be free on the seventh; and no mention is there made of the sabbatic year. It is obvious, that unless a man's period of servitude commenced immediately after the completion of the previous sabbatic year, he could not have served six years when the next arrived. The best authorities therefore differ on this point, which must be allowed to be doubtful. 3. Debts due from one Israelite to another were to be remitted ; but not those due by foreigners to Israelites. On this point, see Deut. xv. I, where the note will notice the doubt which is entertained as to whether debts were then wholly cancelled, or the claim only for that year intermitted. 4. When all Israel assembled in this year (as they did in other years) at the Feast of Tabernacles, the whole law was directed to be read publicly to them (Deut. xxxi. 10, 11). The various objects which seem to have been combined in the institution of the sabbatic year-religious, economical, civil, and political-would lead too much into detail to be stated in this place.
9. “ Cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound.” — The derivation of the word “jubile” 521, jobel) is very doubtful. Some think that it comes from the verb 52', jubal, which in hiphil is 5297, hobil, and signifies to recal, restore, bring back; because this year restored liberty to the slaves, and brought back alienated estates to their original possessors. This would seem to be the view which the Septuagint takes of the word by rendering it apois, a remission, and also Josephus, who renders it sasu. Ispices, liberty. In Syriac the same word (jabul) means “to succeed," and hence jubil, “succession," and might be applicable because every one succeeded to the lands of his fathers. But the majority of interpreters consider that the word denotes the musical instrument or the sound of the instrument employed in proclaiming the jubilee. With this we are disposed to agree, though not without some doubt. The Rabbins generally speak definitely, and say that the word points out ram's horns, which they agree to have been employed on this occasion. Buchart and others, however, doubt whether “ram's horns" were ever employed as trumpets, but think that the “ horns," "cornets," &c. of the Scripture were either the horns of oxen, or brazen trumpets in the form of ram's horns. We however believe that the horns both of oxen and rams were in use as instruments of sound; but would not undertake to say that the latter were exclusively used to proclaim the jubilee. We the rather incline to this opinion, because it is generally believed that at the proper time trumpets were sounded through all the land, whereas only two silver trumpets were made for the use of the priests (Num. x.) to blow for purposes of direction or proclamation ; and although these may have been adequate for collective and local purposes, they could not have been solely available for the general uses of this season, even if we do not go quite so far as the Rabbins, who believe that every private man was obliged to blow nine times with a trumpet on this great occasion.
The jubilee began on the first day of the month Tisri, that is, the civil new year's day. The real object of the institution was not developed till the tenth day, which was the great day of atonement. But the previous nine days were spent in great festivity and joy, resembling in some respects the Roman Saturnalia. The slaves did no work for their masters, but crowned themselves with garlands, and ate, drank, and made merry. On the tenth day, the proper authorities directed the trumpets to be sounded ; and at that instant of time, the bondmen became free, and lands reverted to their original owners.
10. “ Hallow the fiftieth year."-Opinions differ as much about the time of the jubilee as they do even about the meaning of the name. The question mooted is whether the jubilee year was the seventh sabbatical year, that is, the forty-ninth year, celebrated with more peculiar solemnity than the other six sabbatical years; or whether it was the fiftieth year, that is, another year of rest added to the forty-ninth, or seventh sabbatical year. The principal reasons for the forty-ninth year are its greater probability as a part of, rather than a supplement to, the institution of sabbatic years; and because, if it were the fiftieth, the land must then have had two consecutive sabbaths, or must have lain fallow two years together, since all cultivation was forbidden as well on the jubilee as on the sabbatical year. In this case, and in order to prevent a dearth, it seems that an additional miracle, which is not promised, would have been necessary. If this had been the intention of the law, it would seem that as produce sufficient for three years was promised on the sixth year to compensate for the cessation of agriculture on the seventh year, so produce sufficient for four years would have been promised on the forty-eighth year to compensate for the neglect of cultivation on the forty-ninth and fiftieth years. But, instead of this, the promise concerning the sixth year immediately follows the cornmand for the jubilee, in such a manner as to seem to show that the jubilee year required the same extraordinary abundance in the sixth year, but no more, as was in the other case provided. Such considerations have led many eminent theologians to conceive that the year of jubilee was the forty-ninth year. But others, at least equal in number and authority-including generally the Jews themselves - believe it to have been the fiftieth year, the directions of Moses on the subject being in their opinion too clear to be taken in any other sense. Some however attempt to reconcile the two opinions. Thus Calmet supposes the possibility that Moses uses “ fiftieth” as a round number for "forty-ninth.” This is certainly a very common practice in the Hebrew Scriptures, and is exemplified by a similar usage among ourselves; as, for instance, we say “a ceátury” or a “hundred years," when the period may be actually two or three years less. The authors of the Universal History also attempt to reconcile the conflicting hypotheses, by observing that, as the jubilee year commenced in the first month of the civil year and the seventh of the ecclesiastical year, it would be either in the forty-ninth or fiftieth year according to the computation which was followed.
21. “ The sixth year.... shall bring forth fruit for three years.”—The distribution of these thiee years depends upon the disputed question whether the sabbatical year began with the ecclesiastical year, in the spring, or with the civil year, in the autumn. Those who prefer the latter alternative, are obliged to explain that the “three years” in the text do not mean three whole years, but only one whole year and two parts of years. We, however, prefer the former account, because it gives a complete three years, and because it makes the account reach into the ninth year, as the text expressly states, whereas the other makes it cease in the eighth year. It is agreed that the period to which the promise extends, comprehends the remainder of the sixth year after the harvest, the whole seventh year, and the period till the harvest from the seed sown in the eighth year. This makes exactly three years, and reaches into the ninth year, if the sabbatical year began in March ; but it makes scarcely more than two years, and does not extend beyond the eighth year if the account began in September. We are quite aware that the part of a year is frequently stated for the whole in Hebrew; but mention of the ninth year, when considered with reference to the season of harvest in Palestine, seems to us to render the reference of the sabbatical year to the sacred rather than to the civil account perfeetly definite and lucid. To render this evident, the following comparison may be useful, as offering considerations which have not hitherto been brought to bear on the subject. We assume an arbitrary number in the form of a date, according to our own computation of a year, in order to render the distinction more intelligible. SACRED YEAR.
CIVIL YEAR Part of Sixth year.- From May (harvest-month) in 3820 Part of Sixth year.-From May (harvest-month) in 3320 to March in 3321.
to September in 3820. Seventh year.-From March, 3821, to March, 3822. Seventh yeur.- From September, 3820, to September, 3321. Eighth year.–Beginning in March, 3822.
Part of Eighth year.-Beginning in September, 3821. May, no harvest.
Two complete years, ending in the eighth year; agreeing with the text.
in neither point agreeing with the text. From the promise in the text, that the sixth year should produce sufficient returns to last for three years, Warburton, and, after him, Faber and others, deduce an important evidence for the truth of the Mosaic narrative. The people are required to rely for their subsistence on a miracle which the Lord pledged himself to work in their favour: and it is asked whether any lawgiver would have ventured to propose such a law, unless he had the most perfect reliance that the promised miracle would be accomplished; and whether any people would have given such a law the least attention unless they had the fullest conviction that it had been dictated by One, greater than Moses, of whose power to give it full effect they were quite assured ? Hence there was the most perfect confidence on both sides, and that confidence manifests the Divine authority under which the Hebrew legislator acted. In the present instance, we do think this argument for the Divine mission of Moses deserves much attention, although it must be confessed that arguments of this class are not generally applicable, and cannot always be used without danger.
23, 24. “ The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, &c."--In this passage we have the principles of those laws of property which were to be established in the Promised Land: and a short general statement on the subject will tend to the better understanding of this and other passages which refer to it. The principle of the law is, that the land to be conquered should be distributed by lot, and in equal portions, among the Israelites, and then become absolutely inalienable, continuing for ever the property of the descendants of the original possessor. In order to render this perpetual inalienability of lands the more secure and inviolable, the principle was, in the first instance, adopted of that law which Joseph had introduced into Egypt, and to which the Israelites had been accustomed from their youth (see Gen. xlvii. 20—25). By this law all the land belonged to the king; and the husbandmen were not the proprietors of the grounds they cultivated, but only farmers or tenants, who had to pay to the king one-fifth of the produce in the way of rent. In like manner, God, who had condescended to become the Sovereign of Israel, was declared sole proprietor of the soil in that country wherein he was about to fix them by his most special Providence, while the people were to be merely his tenants, without any right to alienate in perpetuity the domains which they held under him. In like manner, also, they were, as the Egyptians did, to pay one-fifth of the produce in the form of two tithes; one of which went to the Levites, in compensation for their having no lands of their own, and for the many important services which it became their duty to perform. This alone can be called a tax; and it was a very fair one, considering the various capacities of useful service in which the Levites acted, and considering also that the other tribes had the more land because the Levites did not participate in the division. The other tithe was not paid to any persons, and was scarcely a tax, the amount being to be consumed by the parties themselves in making entertainments during the great festivals. The principle of the law being thus established, its operation did not preclude a person who fell into distress from selling his land for a term of years, the price he received being regulated according to the distance or nearness of the jubilee year (v. 15), when the property thus sold must revert again to the seller or to his heirs. In the meantime he had a right to recover his land, on returning to the purchaser a sum proportionate to the number of years which remained unexpired: it was also within the power of a near relative of the seller to exercise the same right if he had the means. The houses that were on the lands, and also the houses in the Levitical cities, were placed on the same footing with the lands themselves: the latter because they formed the sole inheritance of the Levites; and the former because they belonged to the lands on which they were built. But houses in other than Levitical cities, being less connected with land, could only be redeemed within the year after sale; and if not redeemed, did not, like land, revert at the jubilee to the person who had sold them (v. 29–31). Hence, of course, foreigners might purchase, and hold in perpetuity, houses in towns, though they could not permanently hold land. We confess, however, that we do not, with some, view this law as intended to encourage strangers to settle in the country which seems to have been far from an object of the Mosaical policy--but rather to enable proselytes to acquire fixed property, which they could not otherwise do, unless they married heiresses, or brought under culture the waste lands beyond Jordan. .
47. “ Sell himself unto the stranger."'_ It will be well, in reference to the laws concerning slavery in this chapter, to recollect that Moses is not originating laws to give a sanction to slavery, but is interposing, under the Divine command, to regulate for the better a system already in operation. We discover the existence of slavery in the book of Genesis, and are aware of its early prevalence in all countries. Those who are acquainted with the condition of slaves in ancient nations will not fail to recognise the wisdom and mercy of the various regulations on the subject which are given here and elsewhere, and which, when carefully considered, will be found in all instances to have an obvious tendency to protect a bondman, and to ameliorate his condition, whether a native or a foreiguer. The law of the present chapter is so clearly announced as to require no particular exposition. On the above-cited verse we may however observe, that foreigners among the Jews seem to have been in a much more privileged condition than they are at present in the same or any Mohammedan country. We see that a resident foreigner is allowed to purchase any Hebrew whose distressed circumstances make him wish to sell his liberty. At present no Christian or Jew in a Mohammedan country is allowed to have as a slave, we will not say any native, but any Mohammedan of any country-nor, indeed, any other than Mohammedans, except negroes--who are the only description of slaves they may possess,
you ternat shall
16 I also will do this unto you; I will 1 of idolatry. 2 Religiousness. 3 A blessing to even appoint "over you terror, consumption,
them that keep the commandments. 14 A curse and the burning ague, that shall consume to those that break them. 40 God promiseth to the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye remember them that repent.
shall sow your seed in vain, for your eneYE shall make you 'no idols nor graven mies shall eat it. image, neither rear you up a 'standing 17 And I will set my face against you, image, neither shall ye set up any 3 image and ye shall be slain before your enemies : of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: they that hate you shall reign over you; for I am the LORD your God.
and 15ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and re- 18 And if ye will not yet for all this verence my sanctuary : I am the LORD. hearken unto me, then I will punish you
3 T 'If ye walk in my statutes, and keep seven times more for your sins. my commandments, and do them ;
19 And I will break the pride of your 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and the land shall yield her increase, and and your earth as brass : the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 1 20 And your strength shall be spent in
5 And your threshing shall reach unto vain: for your land shall not yield her inthe vintage, and the vintage shall reach crease, neither shall the trees of the land unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your yield their fruits.. bread to the full, and 'dwell in your land 21 | And if ye walk contrary unto me, safely.
and will not hearken unto me; I will bring 6 And I will give peace in the land, and seven times more plagues upon you accordsye shall lie down, and none shall make you ing to your sins. afraid: and I will 'rid evil beasts out of the | 22 I will also send wild beasts among land, neither shall the sword go through you, which shall rob you of your children, your land.
and destroy your cattle, and make you few 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and in number; and your high ways shall be dethey shall fall before you by the sword. solate.
& And t'five of you shall chase an hun- 23 And if ye will not be reformed by me dred, and an hundred of you shall put ten by these things, but will walk contrary unto thousand to flight: and your enemies shall me; fall before you by the sword.
24 Then will I also walk contrary unto 9 For I will have respect unto you, and you, and will punish you yet seven times for make you fruitful, and multiply you, and your sins. establish my covenant with you.
25 And I will bring a sword upon you, 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring that shall avenge the quarrel of my coveforth the old because of the new.
nant: and when ye are gathered together 11 "And I will set my tabernacle among within your cities, I will send the pestilence you: and my soul shall not abhor you. among you; and ye shall be delivered into
12 12 And I will walk among you, and will the hand of the enemy. be your God, and ye shall be my people. 26 And when I have broken the staff of
13 I am the LORD your God, which your bread, ten women shall bake your brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, bread in one oven, and they shall deliver that ye should not be their bondmen; and you your bread again by weight: and ye I have broken the bands of your yoke, and shall eat, and not be satisfied. made you go upright.
27 And if ye will not for all this hearken 14 T 18But if ye will not hearken unto unto me, but walk contrary unto me; me, and will not do all these command 28 Then I will walk contrary unto you ments;
also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, seven times for your sins. or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that 29 18 And ye shall eat the flesh of your ye will not do all my commandments, but sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall that ye break my covenant :
1 Exod. 20. 4. Deut. 5. 8, and 16. 12. Psal. 97.7. 2 Or, pillar. 8 Or, figured stone. Heb. a stone of picture. 5 Chap. 19.30.
6 Deut. 28. 1. 7 Job 11. 18. 8 Job ll. 19. 9 Heb. cause to cease. 10 Josh. 23. 10. 11 Ezek. 37. 26. 12 2 Cor. 6. 16. 18 Deut. 28. 15. Lam. 2. 17. Mal. 2. 2. 14 Heb. upon you. 15 Prov. 28. 1. 16 Or, at all adventures with me, and so verse 24. 172 Sam. 22. 21. Psal. 18. 26. 18 Deut. 28. 53.
30 And I will destroy your high places, lands; and also in the iniquities of their and cut down your images, and cast your fathers shall they pine away with them. carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and | 40 If they shall confess their iniquity, my soul shall abhor you.
and the iniquity of their fathers, with their 31 And I will make your cities waste, and trespass which they trespassed against me, bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and and that also they have walked contrary I will not smell the savour of your sweet | unto me; odours.
41 And that I also have walked contrary 32 And I will bring the land into deso- unto them, and have brought them into the lation : and your enemies which dwell therein land of their enemies; if then their uncirshall be astonished at it.
33 And I will scatter you among the accept of the punishment of their iniquity: heathen, and will draw out a sword after 42 Then will I remember my covenant you: and your land shall be desolate, and with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, your cities waste..
and also my covenant with Abraham will I 34 Then shall the land enjoy her sab remember; and I will remember the land. baths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be 43 The land also shall be left of them, in your enemies' land; even then shall the and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
desolate without them : and they shall ac35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall cept of the punishment of their iniquity: rest; because it did not rest in your sab because, even because they despised my baths, when ye dwelt upon it.
judgments, and because their soul abhorred
and on the land I will with Aunt with enant
of you I will send a faintness into their 44 And yet for all that, when they be in hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the land of their enemies, "I will not cast the sound of a 20shaken leaf shall chase them away, neither will I abhor them, to them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a destroy them utterly, and to break my cosword; and they shall fall when none venant with them: for I am the Lord their pursueth.
45 But I will for their sakes remember as it were before a sword, when none pur- the covenant of their ancestors, whom I sueth: and ye shall have no power to stand brought forth out of the land of Egypt in before your enemies.
the sight of the heathen, that I might be 38 Ånd ye shall perish among the hea- | their God: I am the LORD. then, and the land of your enemies shall eat 46 These are the statutes and judgments you up.
and laws, which the LORD made between 39 And they that are left of you shall him and the children of Israel in mount pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' Sinai by the hand of Moses.
192 Chron. 34. 7. 20 Heb. driven. 21 Deut. 4. 31. Rom. 11. 26. Verse 1. “ Image of stone” (navn 2x, eben maskit).- What this is, as distinguished from the others, it is difficult to determine. The precise sense is, 'as given by Boothroyd, " sculptured stone;" but this is indefinite, and leaves us still to conjecture what kind of sculptured stone is intended distinct from the statues (" standing image ") which precede it in the list. In Ezek. viii. 8-11, there is a description of a subterraneous vault, the walls of which were covered with images of quadrupeds and creeping things, exactly like those of Egypt which are covered with hieroglyphic figures. In the 12th verse this vault is called nowo 7777 (hadar maskit), which our translation excellently renders “chambers of imagery." Now the same word being used in two places with an analogous context, it is fair to infer, that if an hieroglyphic cave is intended in Ezekiel, an hieroglyphic stone is intended here; which is the more probable when we recollect that the Israelites were at this time fresh from Egypt, and deeply infected with the rank idolatries of that country-insomuch that whenever Moses interdicts, at this early period, a particular form of idolatry, we should invariably feel disposed to look to Egypt, in the first instance, for the example. It is well known that the Egyptian priests, in order to preserve the treasures of knowledge and their discoveries in natural science, and at the same time to render them inscrutable to any but the initiated few, made use not of common writing but of hieroglyphics, with which they inscribed obelisks, walls, and even subterraneous chambers and galleries, as well as square stones. These monuments were deified by the multitude, who worshipped in them, Thoth, the Egyptian god of learning. This was a sufficient reason for their interdiction by Moses. But had he no further reason? *As this law, if it be thus rightly understood, would operate to the exclusion of hieroglyphics, are we not at liberty to infer that Moses-or rather his Divine Instructor-thus expressed his abhorrence of a practice which locked up knowledge to the people for the purpose of enabling the privileged few, by virtue of that power which knowledge gives, to hold in entire thraldom their minds, bodies, and estates? Michaelis, whose view of this text we have followed, well observes, “ Had Moses been only a wise and benevolent impostor ; had he given himself out for a divine messenger, without being so, and merely from love to an oppressed people ; and had his miracles been nothing more than human devices; it is scarcely conceivable how he could ever have gone the length of abolishing an expedient so artfully contrived, and so