The Portion of Behar

Leviticus 25:1-26:2

Our portion this week deals with the laws of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years as they pertain both to the land and the people. The Sabbatical occurs every seven years, with the Jubilee taking place after every seventh seven, or once in fifty years. During both the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, the Children of Israel may not work the land, but God promises they will never go hungry if they follow His statutes. Land that has been sold reverts to its previous owner, and Hebrew slaves are freed. Finally, God reminds the people that they must not serve idols. Rather, He says, they should keep his Sabbaths and revere His sanctuary.

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  • Rachel

    Last comment regarding Leviyim working at Mishbayach with no shoes. Very interesting. Since,
    I have read from a natural doctor
    That when a person contacts the Earth,
    The Earth’s forces negate the microwaves in his body and heal.
    It’s called “grounding “.

  • David Spain

    The Mosaic land tenure system prevented private amassing of land, speculation in land price and the dominance of a landowning class. It ensured that rural folk (most at that time) had independence. This paradigm could be adopted in modern times, despite the loss of Ephraim & diaspora, by collecting the annual rental-value of cadastral sites in lieu of all taxation.

    • Kumar Soysa

      If we just accept the fact that we own nothing! We came naked and we go naked. If we can only abide within His law, we will always have adequate (Jehovah Jireh), no litigations nor wars.

      • Laurie

        Yes. It truly is simple.

  • Herman Arentsen

    In this passage the keyvers is Waj.25:23 "the land is Mine".
    It is about landsales and house sales.
    Land might be owned at the condition of the Landowner: keep My Shabbats and celebrate the Year of Jubilee. Landsales include also the houses in unwalled places: the beit ha-chatser in a more agricultural environment. They should be given back in the Jubilee Year. So the owner knows it is only for a loan. "The land is HIS".
    House sales have different rules esp. when they are situated in walled places: the beit moshav. They are considered belonging to the artisans and merchants. Within a year they should be redeemed by the owner otherwise he cannot claim to have the right to redeem. Exception are the houses of the Levites. As the Levites are properties of G-d , so their houses also are G-ds , never to be estranged from these owners.
    G-d is in controle even when things are not going so well. He can overrule natural laws by His chukim so that the produce of the land "suddenly" can be for 3 succeeding years. HIS rules can redeem us !

  • Phyllis Pearson

    Why the difference between a walled City residence and an un-walled residence?

  • Sheila

    Ken, so well thought out. It seemed like a math’s equation too me and your explanation set things out in a very clear way. thank you.

    • Phyllis Pearson

      For me too, Sheila and I agree with your comments before as well. For the Land is indeed His and he alone has the authority to give as He wills, His covenant, His Land and His People!

  • Sheila

    As mentioned the land is a heritage from God. The year of Jubilee reminds both buyer and seller that the land belonged to Jehovah and was not to be sold. V23 — for THE LAND IS MINE — so therefore Jehovah could not give up the land to anyone but gave it to His people by an everlasting covenant. The land was to become a permanent family heritage but couldbe sold in difficult times. Ultimately the land was to revert to the original family at the year of Jubilee — every 50th year. These inheritance laws sought to ensure that property remained within the family or tribe. According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary — the Jubilee Year had a levelling effect on Israel’s culture; it gave everyone a chance to start over economically and socially. It also stands as a witness to God’s desire for justice on earth. One may also see God’s provision for the land’s conservation inthe call for the land to rest.

  • Ken

    Regarding “The order of subtopics in this passage, and indeed, in the entire portion, seems haphazard”
    .
    It seems somewhat orderly to me if we consider certain aspects. 1 -the aspect of perpetual possession. God’s possessions are the Land (v23), the Levites (Nu 3:12) and the Nation (v55) – all in perpetuity. The Levites can have their city, home and land in perpetuity (v32). The people can have their land in perpetuity – IF they observe his Torah (v13, V18-19 is the key to possession – keep God’s statutes).
    .
    But the reality of sin intervenes within this environment and they begin to lose possession (God’s permits chastisement for disobedience) and others may improperly impose their actions (interest & rigor) upon their neighbor.
    .
    2 – The aspect of Redemption is given to recover from dispossession. Man is given opportunity to redeem his brother, yet he is unable to fully redeem his brother and God provides the ultimate or full redemption & restitution of possessions with forgiveness in the Jubilee. (compare Psalm 47: 7-15)
    .
    3 – The aspect of interest and rigor. These are forbidden for these cause other issues. It adds to the burden already imposed upon one who is suffering and if one does this, the imposer has not remembered or appreciated the bondage and burdens of Egypt when Egypt kept adding to their burden. It also seems to indicate a level of punishment imposed by man on top of the chastisement already imposed by God. Only God can chastise or punish fairly as God knows the facts and the heart of the sinner.

    • Diana Brown

      I like the way you summarized this. God is just and righteous! We can trust Him to create a world and teach us how to serve Him in the world.

  • Diana Brown

    Torah was the Law of the Land as we Americans like to say. It was also the Words or Instructions to keep His Covenant People in the Land. Adom connected to Adamah. HaShem wanted His People connected physically to the Land, hence the Priests were barefoot while carrying out their priestly duties. Sidewalks and cities are not connecting us to the ground which causes us to connect to our Maker.
    The Priests and Scribes wrote instructions to keep the Torah in their social order, moral order so the people could know HaShem wanted each one of His Called Out People to ketubah with Him.
    If you won’t keep Shemitah Laws and Jubilee Laws, you will be a faithless wife to Him. The Land is HaShem’s and only those who love and obey Him will inhabit it. Also, how their brother was treated in respect to the Land was evidence of how well the Torah was loved.
    For more details, I went to this site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_and_customs_of_the_Land_of_Israel_in_Judaism

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