From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Morrish Bible Dictionary [1]

This was the fiftieth year, coming at the end of every seventh Sabbatical year. The land was held as belonging to Jehovah, and if sold, or redeemed, the price must be reckoned according to the number of years to the next Jubilee, when all possessions returned to their former owners. Hebrew bond-servants also were set free in the year of Jubilee. If land was consecrated to Jehovah, it might be redeemed before the Jubilee, but if not redeemed by that time it became perpetually consecrated. The trumpet of the Jubilee was sounded in the tenth day of the seventh month, on the great day of atonement. It was to be a year of rest for the land, there being no sowing or reaping.

The Jubilee is clearly a type of the millennium. It follows  Leviticus 24 wherein Israel is seen

1, according to the mind of God as in the place of His light and administration — but all sustained by Aaron, that is, Christ; for

2, in its conduct, Israel actually fell under governmental judgement ( Leviticus 24:13-23 ); but

3, are ultimately rescued and blessed according to God's purposes, and on the ground of the day of atonement. Israel have sold themselves and their land to strangers; but when that glad period arrives all the promised land will return to Israel; and the bond-servants will be restored, no matter how powerful those may be who hold them.

It is a very disputed point as to what is the signification of the word Jubilee, or from what root it is derived. Except in  Leviticus 25:9 (where the Hebrew word is teruah, 'loud of sound,' as in the margin) the word is yobel, translated 'trumpet' in  Exodus 19:13; 'rams' horn' in  Joshua 6:4-6,8,13; and 'Jubilee' in  Leviticus 25:10-15,28-54;  Leviticus 27:17-24;  Numbers 36:4 . Fürst traces the word from yabal, 'strong': hence 'a he-goat, ram,' and then 'a ram's horn,' and hence 'a cry of joy, a joyful noise,' a designation of the great Jubilee feast.

There is difference of judgement as to when the year of Jubilee commenced. With this must be considered the Sabbatical Year which occurred every seven years. "Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for Jehovah: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard."  Leviticus 25:3,4 . These tables represent the last seven years before the Jubilee.

A |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest. B |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest.

| 1st year | Ingathering. | 1st year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 2nd year | Ingathering. | 2nd year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 3rd year | Ingathering. | 3rd year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 4th year | Ingathering. | 4th year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 5th year | Ingathering. | 5th year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 6th year | Ingathering. | 6th year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest.

| Sabbatical | No ingathering. | Sabbatical |

| | No sowing. | ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ | } Jubilee.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| }

| Jubilee | No ingathering. | ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ | Ingathering.

| | No sowing. | 1st year | Sowing.

|¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| No harvest. |¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯| Harvest.

| 1st year | Ingathering. | 2nd year | Ingathering.

| | Sowing. | | Sowing.

¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

The above passage speaks of six years of sowing, and six years of pruning the vineyard and gathering in the fruit thereof, but does not speak of six years of harvest. In the above tables it will be seen there would have been but five harvests in the seven years. Then the question arises, Did the Jubilee commence at the end of the seventh Sabbatical year, as in table A ? If so there would be then three years without any harvest. If this was what God intended, He would have provided for His obedient people. Some however judge that the Jubilee year was really half of the seventh Sabbatical year, and half of the first year of the following seven, as in table B. This seems confirmed by the trumpet being sounded on the 10th day of the seventh month. Still it is called the fiftieth year.  Leviticus 25:8-11 .

There is no record of the Sabbatical year and the year of Jubilee ever being kept.  Leviticus 26:34,35 predicts what would happen if the Israelites did not let the land keep the sabbaths. It reads almost like a prophecy: the land should lie desolate "because it did not rest in your sabbaths." In  Jeremiah 25:11,12;  Jeremiah 29:10;  Daniel 9:2 the actual desolation is said to be seventy years. And as the land was to have rested one year in every seven, it follows that the 70 answering to 70 × 7 = 490 years. Now the kingdom began B.C. 1095, and Jerusalem was taken in 606, which is just 490 years, and seems to confirm the silence in the history of Israel as to their giving the land the prescribed sabbaths. Apparently in this, as in everything else, they failed to obey; but the Jubilee will be made good to them in grace when they own their Messiah.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(See Year ; SABBATICAL.) The 50th Jubilee, after seven weeks of years, when alienated lands returned to the original owners and Hebrew bondservants were freed ( Leviticus 25:8-16;  Leviticus 25:23-55;  Leviticus 27:16-25;  Numbers 36:4). At the close of the great day of atonement the blast of the Jubilee curved trumpets proclaimed throughout the land liberty, after guilt had been removed through the typically atoning blood of victims. It is referred to as antitypically fulfilled in "the acceptable year of the Lord," this limited period of gospel grace in which deliverance from sin and death, and the restoration of man's lost inheritance, are proclaimed through Christ ( Isaiah 61:1-2;  Luke 4:19). Literally, hereafter ( Ezekiel 7:12-13;  Ezekiel 46:17) to be kept. Liberty to bondservants was given every seventh or sabbatical year.

The princes and people at Jerusalem first observed it, in accordance with Zedekiah's covenant made under fear of the Babylonian besiegers; afterward on Pharaoh Hophra interrupting the siege they broke their engagement and enslaved their brethren again; God in retribution gave them a fatal liberty, namely, emancipation from His blessed service, to be given up to the sword, pestilence, and famine ( Jeremiah 34:8-22;  Jeremiah 37:5-10; compare  Nehemiah 5:1-13). The Jubilee prevented the accumulation of land in the hands of a few, and raised legally at regular intervals families and individuals out of destitution to competency; thereby guarding against the lawless and dangerous outbreaks of the penniless against large possessors, to which other states are liable. It tended to foster family feeling, and to promote the preservation of genealogies, and to remind all that Jehovah was the supreme Landlord under whom their tenure was held and the Lord of the Israelites, who therefore could not become lasting servants of anyone else.

"The times of the restitution of all things" are the coming grand Jubilee ( Acts 3:21), "the regeneration" ( Matthew 19:28) ushered in by "the trump of God" ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The Spirit is meantime "the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession" ( Ephesians 1:13-14;  Romans 8:19-23). As in sabbatical years, there was to be no tillage, but the natural produce was to be left open to all. If a Hebrew in poverty disposed of his land the price was regulated by the number of years to run until Jubilee, the sabbatical seventh years not being counted. The "original proprietor" or "the nearest of kin" ( Goel ) could redeem the land at any time. Houses in walled cities were excepted; the owner might buy them back within a year, otherwise they became absolutely the purchaser's own. But houses in villages went with the lands. Levites too could buy back their houses at any time, which always reverted to them at Jubilee; their lands were not affected by the law of Jubilee. If a man sanctified his land to Jehovah it could be redeemed before the Jubilee on paying the worth of the crops and a fifth.

If not redeemed before Jubilee it remained sanctified for ever. Even a bondman who bound himself to willing service by boring his ears was freed at Jubilee ( Exodus 21:6). No legislator would have enacted such an institution, and no people would have long submitted to it, unless both had believed that a divine authority had dictated it and a special providence would facilitate its execution. Nothing could have produced this conviction but the experience of miraculous interposition such as the Pentateuch describes. The very existence of this law is a standing monument that when it was given the Mosaic miracles were fully believed; moreover this law, in the Pentateuch which the Jews always have received as written by Moses, is coeval with the witnesses of the miracles: therefore the reality of the Mosaic miracles is undeniable (Graves, Pentateuch, 6). The root of "Jubilee" is Yabal , "to flow," a rich stream of sound ( Exodus 19:13, where Jubilee is translated " trumpet," margin "cornet"; compare  Joshua 6:5, compare  Psalms 89:15).

It was in the 50th year, so that, the 49th also being a sabbath year, two sabbatical years came together, just as Pentecost came the 50th Jubilee at the end of the seven weeks (49 days) closing with the sabbath. It stood between the two series of sabbatical years in the century. See  Isaiah 37:30, where the reference to Jubilee is not at all certain; also  Isaiah 5:7-10, those who by covetousness prevented the operation of the law of Jubilee. Remission of debts was on each sabbatical seventh year; the bondage for debt was all that Jubilee delivered from. The Jubilee is the crowning of the sabbatical system. The weekly and the monthly sabbaths secured rest for each spiritually; the sabbatical year secured rest for the land. The Jubilee secured rest and restoration for the body politic, to recover that general equality which Joshua's original settlement contemplated; hence no religious observances were prescribed, simply the trumpets sounded the glad note of restoration. The leisure of the Jubilee year was perhaps devoted to school and instruction of the people, the reading of the law and such services (Ewald).

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

among the Jews, denotes every fiftieth year; being that following the revolution of seven weeks of years; at which time all the slaves were made free, and all lands reverted to their ancient owners. The jubilees were not regarded after the Babylonish captivity. The political design of the law of the jubilee was to prevent the too great oppression of the poor, as well as their being liable to perpetual slavery. By this means the rich were prevented from accumulating lands for perpetuity, and a kind of equality was preserved through all the families of Israel. The distinction of tribes was also preserved: in respect both to their families and possessions; that they might be able, when there was occasion, on the jubilee year, to prove their right to the inheritance of their ancestors. Thus, also, it would be known with certainty of what tribe or family the Messiah sprung. It served, also, like the Olympiads of the Greeks, and the Lustra of the Romans, for the readier computation of time. The jubilee has also been supposed to be typical of the Gospel state and dispensation, described by  Isaiah 61:1-2 , in reference to this period, as "the acceptable year of the Lord."

The word jubilee, in a more modern sense, denotes a grand church solemnity or ceremony celebrated at Rome, in which the pope grants a plenary indulgence to all sinners; at least, to as many as visit the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome. The jubilee was first established by Boniface VII, in 1300, which was only to return every hundred years; but the first celebration brought in such store of wealth, that Clement VI, in 1343, reduced it to the period of fifty years. Urban VI, in 1389, appointed it to be held every thirty-five years, that being the age of our Saviour; and Paul II, and Sixtus IV, in 1475, brought it down to every twenty-five, that every person might have the benefit of it once in his life. Boniface IX granted the privilege of holding jubilees to several princes and monasteries; for instance, to the monks of Canterbury, who had a jubilee every fifty years; when people flocked from all parts to visit the tomb of Thomas a Becket. Afterward, jubilees became more frequent; there is generally one at the inauguration of a new pope; and he grants them as often as the church or himself have occasion for them. To be entitled to the privileges of the jubilee, the bull enjoins fasting, alms, and prayers. It gives the priests a full power to absolve in all cases even those otherwise reserved to the pope; to make commutations of vows, &c; in which it differs from a plenary indulgence. During the time of jubilee, all other indulgences are suspended.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

-Or Jobel more properly, which signifies a ram's horn. The day of Jubilee was a high feast in the Jewish church, and appointed by the Lord for the great year of release, every forty-ninth year, or seven times seven. In the twenty-fifth of Leviticus, we have the whole account of the appointment. Some have taken for granted, that the name itself was taken from Jubal, or Jobel, the son of Lamech, because he was the father or inventor of music; but others, more probably, derived it from the verb Hebiel, to bring back; because it was the year of general restoration, or bringing back. The imagination cannot conceive the effect of the morning of the day which commenced the Jubilee, which must have been wrought upon the different orders, of the people among the Jews. It began we are told on the first day of the month Tizri, the first month of the year, and the seventh of the ecclesiastical year, and corresponded to our month of September; and on the ninth day of Tizri, when the trumpets sounded, at that instant, every poor captive among the Jews was freed; and every mortgaged inheritance returned to its original owner. I leave the reader to his own reflections, what feelings must have been wrought on the different minds of all concerned; both of the master and of the servant, both of the man with whom was vested bonded land, and the one who received back his mortgaged inheritance. But while I pass over the Jewish camp on these particulars, I cannot help observing how infinitely surpassing must be the effect of the Jobel trumpet in the Christian church; when the captive sinner, and the poor soul who hath mortgaged his; inherited, inheritance, first hears the joyful sound of redemption by the blood of Christ, and is brought "to walk in the light of the Lord's countenance." ( Psalms 89:15) And this is not limited, to every forty-ninth year, but is every year and every day, yea, every hour of the day since Christ wrought salvation for his people, and the type of the Jubilee trumpet done away by the thing signified being come. Concerning this blessed event the Lord hath said, "the year of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." ( Isaiah 63:4) See Feasts. It is said, that after the Jews returned from Babylon the Jubileee was discontinued, but they observed the Sabbatical year.

See Sabbatical.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [5]

A public festivity.

Among the Jews it was held every 49th or 50th year. It was proclaimed with the sound of rams' horns: no servile work was done on it; the land lay untilled; what grew of itself belonged to the poor and needy; whatever debts the Hebrews owed to one another were wholly remitted; hired as well as bond-servants of the Hebrew race obtained their liberty; inheritances reverted to their original proprietors.

See 25th chap. Leviticus. Jubilee, in a more modern sense, denotes a grand church solemnity or ceremony, celebrated at Rome, wherein the pope grants a plenary indulgence to all sinners; at least to as many as visit the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, at Rome. The jubilee was first established by Boniface VII. in 1300, which was only to return every hundred years; but the first celebration brought in such store of wealth, that Clement VI. in 1343, reduced it to the period of fifty years. Urban VI. in 1389, appointed it to be held every thirty-five years, that being the age of our Saviour; and Paul II. and Sixtus IV. in 1475, brought it down to every twenty-five, that every person might have the benefit of it once in his life. Boniface IX. granted the privilege of holding jubilees to several princes and monasteries; for instance, to the monks of Canterbury, who had a jubilee every fifty years, when people flocked from all parts to visit the tomb of Thomas-a-Becket.

Afterwards jubilees became more frequent: there is generally one at the inauguration of a new pope; and the pope grants them as often as the church or himself have occasion for them. To be entitled to the privileges of the jubilee, the bull enjoins fasting, alms, and prayers. It gives the priests a full power to absolve in all cases, even those otherwise reserved to the pope; to make commutations of vows, &c. in which it differs from a plenary indulgence. During the time of jubilee, all other indulgences are suspended. One of our kings, viz. Edward III. caused his birth-day to be observed in the manner of a jubilee, when he became fifty years of age in 1362, but never before nor after. This he did by releasing prisoners, pardoning all offences, except treason, making good laws, and granting many privileges to the people. In 1640, the Jesuits celebrated a solemn jubilee at Rome, that being the centenary, or hundredth year from their institution; and the same ceremony was observed in all their houses throughout the world.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A Hebrew festival, celebrated in every fiftieth year, which of course occurred after seven weeks of years, or seven times seven years,  Leviticus 25:10 . Its name Jubilee, sounding or flowing, was significant of the joyful trumpet-peals that announced its arrival. During this year no one sowed or reaped; but all were satisfied with what the earth and the trees produced spontaneously. Each resumed possession of his inheritance, whether it were sold, mortgaged, or otherwise alienated; and Hebrew servants of every description were set free, with their wives an children,  Leviticus 25:1-55 . The first nine days were spent in festivities, during which no one worked, and every one wore a crown on his head. On the tenth day, which was the day of solemn expiation, the Sanhedrin ordered the trumpets to sound, and instantly the slaves were declared free, and the lands returned to their hereditary owners. This law was mercifully designed to prevent the rich from oppressing the poor, and getting possession of all the lands by purchase, mortgage, or usurpation; to cause that debts should not be multiplied too much, and that slaves should not continue, with their wives and children, in perpetual bondage. It served to maintain a degree of equality among the Hebrew families; to perpetuate the division of lands and households according to the original tribes, and secure a careful registry of the genealogy of every family. They were also thus reminded that Jehovah was the great Proprietor and Disposer of all things, and they but his tenants. "The land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me,"  Leviticus 25:23 . And this memento met them constantly and pointedly; for every transfer of land was valuable in proportion to the number of years remaining before the jubilee. Isaiah clearly refers to this peculiar and important festival, as foreshadowing the glorious dispensation of gospel grace,  Isaiah 61:1,2   Luke 4:17-21 .

See also the notice of a similar institution under Sabbatical Year .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Jubilee.  Leviticus 25:1-55. A festal year prescribed by the Hebrew law. It recurred every fiftieth year, After seven Sabbaths of years—not being, as some have supposed, the seventh sabbatical year—marking off a great cycle of time, so that at each half century the Israelitish polity began, as it were, afresh; a new morning of holy gratulation and recovered strength dawning on the land. All Hebrew servants were set free, pledges of lands, personal property rights alienated for any reason, were restored, there being only one exception—that of houses built in walled towns.  Leviticus 25:29-31. All were to be put back, as far as possible, into the position in which they began the 50 years. The account of this institution, which had its type in the weekly Sabbath, is carefully given in the law.  Leviticus 25:8-16;  Leviticus 25:23-55. The jubilee commenced on the tenth day of the seventh month, and was proclaimed through the whole country. It was to be a year when, as in the sabbatical year, the land lay untitled; nor was there any formal gathering of its spontaneous produce, which was to be absolutely free to all comers. It has been disputed whether the law of the jubilee ever came into full operation. Little is directly recorded: but there are several allusions to it.  Numbers 36:4;  Isaiah 61:1-2;  Ezekiel 7:12-13;  Ezekiel 46:16-18. No doubt, like other commandments of the law, it was neglected in days of declension and apostasy. It must have pointed forward also to that future state of glorious spiritual freedom, where the inheritance of each redeemed one is his forever, no forfeiture of his high privileges to be dreaded in God's eternal kingdom.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [8]

Israelites counted their years in groups of seven. Every seventh year was called the sabbatical year (or rest year), because in that year all farmland was rested from normal agricultural activity (see Sabbatical Year ). After seven lots of seven years there was an additional sabbath year called the Jubilee, or Year of Restoration (GNB). In that year all land that had changed ownership during the previous forty-nine years returned to its original owner. This ensured the preservation of the just and fair distribution of land that had been made after Joshua’s conquest. People who became poor could not lose their property for ever, and the rich could not gain control of the country through buying most of the land ( Leviticus 25:8-12).

Since all land returned to the original owners in the fiftieth year, the sale price of land had to be reduced from its original value so that it was proportionate to the number of years that remained to the fiftieth year ( Leviticus 25:13-17). If people needed money they could sell their land, but as soon as possible either they or their close relatives had to buy it back ( Leviticus 25:25-28).

Laws for the return of land in the year of Jubilee applied only to farming and pastoral land, not to land in walled cities. This was because city land was not used for cultivation and therefore had nothing to do with the agricultural ‘rest’ years ( Leviticus 25:29-34).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Leviticus 25:11,12

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;  Ezekiel 7:12,13;  Nehemiah 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."

Webster's Dictionary [10]

(1): ( n.) A season of general joy.

(2): ( n.) The joyful commemoration held on the fiftieth anniversary of any event; as, the jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign; the jubilee of the American Board of Missions.

(3): ( n.) A church solemnity or ceremony celebrated at Rome, at stated intervals, originally of one hundred years, but latterly of twenty-five; a plenary and extraordinary indulgence grated by the sovereign pontiff to the universal church. One invariable condition of granting this indulgence is the confession of sins and receiving of the eucharist.

(4): ( n.) A state of joy or exultation.

(5): ( n.) Every fiftieth year, being the year following the completion of each seventh sabbath of years, at which time all the slaves of Hebrew blood were liberated, and all lands which had been alienated during the whole period reverted to their former owners.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [11]

JUBILEE. See Sabbatical Year.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Heb. Yobel', יוֹבֵל or וֹבֵל , a joyful Shout or Clangor of trumpets; once in the Author. Vers. for תְּרוּעָה ,  Leviticus 25:9, which is elsewhere rendered "a shout," etc.), usually in the connection Year Of Jubilee ( שְׁנִת הִיּוֹבֵל , or merely יובֵל , as in  Leviticus 25:28; Septuag. usually translates Ἔτος Τῆς Ἀφἐσεως , or simply Ἄφεσις ; but Graecizes Ι᾿Ωβήλ in  Joshua 6:8;  Joshua 6:13; Josephus Graecizes Ι᾿Ώβηλος , Ant. 3 , 12, 3; Vulgate annus jubilee, orjubilceus, but buccina in  Exodus 19:13); also galled the " Year Of Liberty " ( שְׁנִת דְּרוֹר .  Ezekiel 46:17), the great semi- centennial epoch of the Hebrews, constituting a festival, and marked by striking public and domestic changes. The relation in which it stood to the sabbatical year, and the general directions for its observance, are given  Leviticus 25:8-16;  Leviticus 25:23-55. Its bearing on lands dedicated to Jehovah is stated  Leviticus 27:16-25. There is no mention of the jubilee in the book of Deuteronomy, and the only other reference to it in the Pentateuch is in the appeal of the tribe of Manasseh, on account of the daughters of Zelophehad ( Numbers 36:4). It is rarely mentioned in the prophetical books, but is very frequently referred to by Talmudical writers. (See Festival).

I. Signification Of The Name . According to pseudo-Jonathan (Targum on  Joshua 6:5-9), the Talmud ( Rosh Ha - Shana, 26, a), Rashi, Aben- Ezra (on  Exodus 19:3), Kimchi (on  Joshua 5:6), and other Jewish authorities, the meaning Ram, which יובֵל seems at times to bear (see F Ü Rst., Lexicon, s.v.; but Gesenius utterly denies this sense), is the primary one; hence metonymically a Ram ' S Horn (comp.  Exodus 19:13 with  Joshua 6:5); and so the Sound of a ram's horn, like the Latin Buccina. According to another ancient interpretation, the Heb. word is from a root יָבִל , to Liberate (parallel with דרור , A Freed Captive; comp. Hitzig on  Jeremiah 34:8); an etymology which is somewhat sanctioned by  Leviticus 25:10, and the usual rendering of the Sept. (also Josephus, Ἐλευθερίανδὲ Σημαίνει Τοὔνομα , Ant. 3 , 12, 3; and by St. Jerome, Jobel Est Demittens Aut Mittens, Comment. ad loc.). Others, again, regard the root יבל as onomatopoetic, like the Latin Jubilare, denoting To Bejubilant (Gesenius, etc.). Most modern critics, however; derive יובל from the better known root יבל , To Flow Impetuously ( Genesis 6:17), and hence assign to It the meaning of The Loud or Impetuous Sound ( Genesis 4:21) streaming forth from the trumpet, and proclaiming this festival. The other notions respecting the word may be found in Fuller ( Misc. Sac. p. 1026 sq.; Critici Sacri, vol. 9), in Carpzov (p. 448 sq.), and, most completely given, in Kranold (p. 11 sq.).

II. Laws Connected With This Festival . These embrace the following three main points:

1 . Rest For The Soi l. This enactment, which is comprised in  Leviticus 25:11-12, enjoins that, as on the Sabbatical year, the land should lie fallow, and that there should be no tillage nor harvest during the jubilee year. The Israelites, however, were permitted to fetch the spontaneous produce of the field for their immediate wants ( טן השדה תאבלו את תבואתה ), but not to lay it up in their storehouses.

2. Reversion Of Landed Property . This provision is comprised in  Leviticus 25:13-34;  Leviticus 27:16-24. The Mosaic law enacted that the Promised Land should be divided by lot, in equal parts, among the Israelites, and that the plot which should thus come into the possession of each family was to be absolutely inalienable, and forever continue to be the property of the descendants of the original possessor. (See Land).

When a proprietor, therefore, being pressed by poverty, had to dispose of a field, no one could buy it of him for a longer period than up to the time of the next jubilee, when it reverted to the original possessor, or to his family. Hence the sale, properly speaking, was not of the land, but of the produce of so many years, and the price was fixed according to the number of years ( שני תבואת ) up to the next jubilee, so as to prevent any injustice being done to those who were compelled by circumstances to part temporarily with their land ( Leviticus 25:15-16). The lessee, however, according to Josephus, in case he had made great outlays on the field just before he was required by the law of jubilee to return it to its owner, could claim compensation for these ( Ant. 3 , 12, 3). But even before the jubilee year the original proprietor could recover his field, if either his own circumstances improved, or if his next of kin, (See Goel) could redeem it for him by paying back according to the same price which regulated the purchase ( Leviticus 25:26-27). In the interests of the purchaser, however, the Rabbinical law enacted that this redemption should not take place before he had the benefit of the field for two productive years (so the Rabbins understood שני תבואת ), exclusive of a sabbatical year, a year of barrenness, and of the first harvest, if he happened to buy the plot of land shortly before the seventh month, i.e. with the ripe fruit ( Erachin, 9, 1; Maimonides, Jobel, 11, 10-13). As poverty is the only reason which the law supposes might lead one to part with his field, the Rabbins enacted that it was not allowable for any one to sell his patrimony on speculation (comp. Maimonides, Jobel, 11, 3). Though nothing is here said about fields which were given away by the proprietors, yet there can be no doubt, as Maimonides says (ibid. 11, 10), that the same law is intended to apply to gifts (comp.  Ezekiel 46:17), but not to those plots of land which came into a man's possession through marriage with an heiress ( Numbers 36:4-9; compare Mishna, Berachoth, 8, 10). Neither did this law apply to a house in a walled city. Still, the seller had the privilege of redeeming it at any time within a full year from the day of the sale. After the year it became the absolute property of the purchaser ( Leviticus 25:29-30, Keri). As this law required a more minute definition for practical purposes, the Rabbins determined that this right of redemption might be exercised from the very first day of the sale to the last day which made up the year. Moreover, as the purchaser sometimes concealed himself towards the end of the year, in order to prevent the seller from redeeming his house, it was enacted that when the purchaser could not be found, the original proprietor should hand over the redemption money to the powers that be, break open the doors, and take possession of the house; and if the purchaser died during the year, the original proprietor could redeem it from the heir (comp. Mishna, Erachin, 9, 3,4; Maimonides, Jobel, 12, 1-7).

Open places, however, which are not surrounded by walls, belong to landed property, and, like the cultivated land on which they stand, are subject to the law of jubilee, and must revert to their original proprietors ( Leviticus 25:31). But, although houses in open places are thus treated like fields; yet, according to the Rabbinic definition, the reverse is not to be the case; i.e. fields or other places not built upon in walled cities are not to be treated as cities, but come under the jubilee law of fields (comp. Erachin, 9, 5). The houses of the Levites, in the forty-eight cities given to them ( Numbers 35:1-8), were exempt from this general law of house property. Having the. same value to the Levites as landed property had to the other tribes, these houses were subject to the jubilee law for fields, and could at any time be redeemed ( Leviticus 25:32; comp. Erachin, 9, 8), so that, even if a Levite redeemed the house which his brother Levite was obliged to sell through poverty, the general law of house property is not to obtain, even among the Levites themselves, but they are obliged to treat each other according to the law of landed property. Thus, for instance, the house of A, which he, out of poverty, was obliged to sell to the non-Levite B, and was redeemed from him by a Levite C, reverts in the jubilee year from C to the original Levitical proprietor A. This seems to be the most probable meaning of the enactment contained in  Leviticus 25:33, and it does not necessitate us to insert into the text the negative particle לא before יגאל , as is done by the Vulgate, Houbigant, Ewald ( Alterth Ü Mer, p.421), Knobel, etc., nor need we, with Rashi, Aben-Ezra, etc., take גאל in the unnatural sense Of Buying. The lands in the suburbs of their cities the Levites were not permitted to part with under any condition, and therefore these did not come under the law of jubilee ( Leviticus 25:34). The only exception to this general law were the houses and the fields consecrated to the Lord, or to the support of the sanctuary. If these were not redeemed before the ensuing jubilee, instead of reverting to their original proprietors, they at the jubilee became forever the property of the priests ( Leviticus 27:20-21). The conditions, however, on which consecrated property could be redeemed were as follows: A house thus devoted to the Lord was valued by the priest, and the donor who wished to redeem it had to pay one fifth in addition to this fixed value ( Leviticus 27:14-15). A field was valued according to the number of homers of barley which could be sown thereon, at the rate of fifty silver shekels of the sanctuary for each homer for the whole fifty years, deducting from it a proportionate amount for the lapse of each year ( Leviticus 27:16-18). According to the Talmud the fiftieth year was not counted. Hence, if any one wished to redeem his field, he had to pay one fifth in addition to the regular rate of a Sela (shekel), and a Pundium (=1-48th Sela ) per annum for every homer, the surplus Pundium being intended for the forty-ninth year. No one was therefore allowed to sanctify his field during the year which immediately preceded the jubilee, for he would then have to pay for the whole forty-nine years, because months could not be deducted from the sanctuary, and the jubilee year itself was not counted (Mishna, Erachin, 7, 1). If one sanctified a field which he had purchased, i.e. not freehold property, it reverted to the original proprietor in the year of jubilee ( Leviticus 27:22-24).

3 . Manumission Of Those Israelites Who Had Become Slaves . This enactment is comprised in  Leviticus 25:39-54. All Israelites who through poverty had sold themselves as slaves to their fellow Israelites or to the foreigners resident among them, and who, up to the time of the jubilee, had neither completed their six years of servitude, nor redeemed themselves, nor been redeemed by their relatives, were to be set free in the jubilee, to return with their children to their family and to the patrimony of their fathers. Great difficulty has been experienced in reconciling the injunction here, that in the jubilee all slaves are to regain their freedom, with  Exodus 25:6, where it is enacted that those bondmen who refuse their liberty at the expiration of the appointed six years' servitude, and submit to the boring of their ears, are to be Slaves Forever ( ועבדו לעלם ). Josephus ( Ant. 4, 8, 28), the Mishna ( Kidushin, 1 , 3) and Talmud ( Ibid. 14, 15), Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Maimonides ( Hilchoth Abadim, 3 , 6), and most Jewish interpreters, who are followed by Ainsworth, Bp. Patrick, and other Christian commentators, take, לעל to denote Till The Jubilee, maintaining that the slaves who submitted to have their ears bored are included in this general manumission, And thus try to escape the difficulty.

But against this is to be urged, that, 1. The phrase, עבד לעל is used in  Leviticus 25:46 for Perpetual servitude, which is unaffected by the year of jubilee. 2. The declaration of the slave that he will not have his freedom, in  Exodus 21:5, unquestionably shows that perpetual slavery is meant. 3. Servitude till the year of jubilee is not at all spoken of in  Leviticus 25:40-42 as something contemptible, and therefore could not be The Punishment Designed for him who refused his freedom, especially if the year of jubilee happened to occur Two or Three years after refusing his freedom; and that it is bondage beyond that time which is characterized as real slavery; and, 4. The jubilee, without any indication whatever from the lawgiver, is here, according to this explanation, made to give the slave the right to take with him the maid and the children who are the property of the master the very right which had previously been denied to him. Ewald, therefore ( Alterth Ü Mer, p. 421), and others, conclude that the two enactments belong to different periods, the manumission of slaves in the year of jubilee having been instituted when the law enjoining the liberation of slaves at the expiration of six years had become obsolete; while Knobel (on  Exodus 21:6) regards this jubilee law and the enactments in  Exodus 21:5-6 as representing one of the many contradictions which exist between the Jehovistic and Elohistic portions of the Pentateuch. All the difficulties. however, disappear when the jubilee manumission enactment is regarded as designed to supplement the law in  Exodus 21:2-6. In the latter case The Regular Period Of Servitude Is Fixed, at the expiration of which the bondman is ordinarily to become free, While  Leviticus 25:39-54 institutes an additional and Extraordinary period, when those slaves who had not as yet completed their appointed six years of servitude at the time of jubilee, or had not forfeited their right of free citizenship by spontaneously submitting to the yoke of bondage, and becoming slaves forever ( עבד עלם ), are once in every fifty years to obtain their freedom. The one enactment refers to The Freedom Of Each Individual at different days, weeks, months, and years, inasmuch as hardly any twenty of them entered on their servitude at exactly the same time, while the other legislates for a general manumission, which is to take place at exactly the same time. The enactment in  Leviticus 25:39-54, therefore, takes for granted the law in  Exodus 21:2-6, and begins where the latter ends, and does not mention it because it simply treats on the influence of jubilee upon slavery.

4. That there must also have been a perfect remission of debts in the year of jubilee is self evident, for it is implied in the fact that all persons who were in bondage for debt, as well as all the landed property of debtors, were freely returned. Whether debts generally, for which there were no such pledges, were remitted, is a matter of dispute. Josephus positively declares. that they were ( Ant. 13, 2,3), while Maimonides ( Jobel, 10, 16) as positively denies it.

III. Time When The Jubilee Was Celebrated . According to  Leviticus 25:8-11, it is evident that forty-nine years are to be counted, and that at the end thereof the fiftieth year is to be celebrated as the jubilee. Hence the jubilee is to follow immediately upon the sabbatical year, so that there are to be two successive fallow vears. This is also corroborated by  Leviticus 25:21, where it is promised that the produce of the sixth year shall suffice for three years, i.e. forty-nine, fifty, and fifty-one, or the two former years, which are the sabbatical year and the jubilee, and the immediately following year, in which the ordinary produce of the preceding year would be wanting. Moreover, from the remark in  Leviticus 25:22, it would appear that the sabbatical year, like the jubilee, began in the autumn, or the month of Tisri, which commenced the civil year, when it was customary to begin sowing for the ensuing year. At all events,  Leviticus 25:9 distinctly says that the jubilee is to be proclaimed by the blast of the trumpet," on the tenth of the seventh month, on the day of atonement," which is Tisri. (See Day Of Atonement).

The opinion that the sabbatical year and the jubilee were distinct, or that there were Two Fallow Years, is also entertained by the Talmud ( Rosh Ha - Shana, 8 b, 9 a), Philo ( On The Decalogue, 30), Josephus (1 .C. ) , and many other ancient writers. It must, however, be borne in mind that, though there was to be no sowing, nor any regular harvest, during these two years, yet the Israelites were allowed to fetch from the fields whatever they wanted ( Leviticus 25:12). That the fields did yield a crop in their second fallow year is most unquestionably presupposed by the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 37:30). Palestine was, at all events, not less fruitful than Albania, in which Strabo tells us (lib. 11, c. 4, sec. 3), "The ground that has been sowed once produces in many places two or three crops, the fruit of which is even fifty-fold."

It must, however, be remarked, that many, from a very early period down to the present day, have taken the jubilee year to be identical with the seventh sabbatical year. Thus the "Book of Jubilees," which dates prior to the Christian era, (See Book Of Jubilees), divides the Biblical history from the creation to the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan into fifty jubilees of Forty-Nine years each, which shows that this view of the jubilee must have been pretty general in those days. Some Rabbins in the Talmud ( Erachin, 12 b, with 33 a), as well as many Christian writers (Scaliger, Petavius, Usher, Cunaeus, Calvitius, Gatterer, Frank, Schr Ö der, Hug, Rosenm Ü ller), support the same view. As to the remark, "Ye shall hallow The Fiftieth Year " ( Leviticus 25:10), " A jubilee shall that Fiftieth year be unto you" ( Leviticus 25:11), it is urged that this is in accordance with a mode of speech which is common to all languages and ages. Thus we call a week Eight Days, including both Sundays, and the best classical writers called an Olympiad by the name of quinquennium, though it only contained four entire years. Moreover, the sacred number seven, or the sabbatic idea. which underlies all the festivals, and connects them all into one chain, the last link of which is the jubilee, corroborates this view, inasmuch as we have,

1. A Sabbath of days;

2. A Sabbath of weeks ( The Seventh Week after the Passover being the Sabbath week, as the first day of it is the festival of weeks);

3. A Sabbath of months (inasmuch as The Seventh Month has both a festival and a fast, and with its first day begins the civil year);

4. A Sabbath of years (the seventh year is the sabbatical year); and,

5. A Sabbath of Sabbaths, inasmuch as The Seventh Sabbatical Year is the jubilee. (See Sabbath).

IV. Mode Of Celebration . As the observance of the jubilee, like that of the sabbatical year, was only to become obligatory when the Israelites had taken possession of the promised land, and cultivated the land for that period of years, at the conclusion of which the festival was to be celebrated, the ancient tradition preserved in the Talmud seems to be correct, that the first sabbatical year was in the one-and-twentieth, and the first jubilee in the sixty-fourth year after the Jews came into Canaan, for it took them seven years to conquer it, and seven years more to distribute it ( Erachin, 12, 6; Maimonides, Jobels 10:2). The Bible says nothing about the manner in which the jubilee is to be celebrated, except that it should be proclaimed by the blast of a trumpeter (See Trumpeter).

As in many other cases, the lawgiver leaves the practical application of this law, and the necessarily complicated arrangements connected therewith, to the elders of Israel. Now tradition tells us that the trumpets used on this occasion, like those of the feast of trumpets, or new year, were of rams' horns, straight, and had their mouth piece covered with gold (Mishna, Rosh Ha-Shana, 3, 2; Maimonides, Jobel, 10, 11); that every Israelite blew nine blasts, so as to make the trumpet literally "sound throughout the land" ( Leviticus 25:9); and that "from the feast of trumpets, or new year (i.e. Tisri 1), till the day of atonement (i.e. Tisri 10), the slaves were neither manumitted to return to their homes nor made use of by their masters, but ate, drank, and rejoiced, and wore garlands on their heads; and when the day of atonement came the judges blew the trumpet, the slaves were manumitted to go to their homes, and the fields were set free" ( Rosh Ha - Shana, 8 b; Maimonides, Jobel, 10, 14). Though the Jews, from the nature of the case, cannot now celebrate the jubilee, yet on the evening of the day of atonement the conclusion of the fast is announced in all the synagogues to the present day by the blast of the Shophar or horn, which, according to the Rabbins, is intended to commemorate the ancient jubilee proclamation ( Orach Chajim, cap. 623, sec. 6, note).

Because the Bible does not record any particular instance of the public celebration of this festival, Michaelis, Winer, etc., have questioned whether the law of jubilee ever came into actual operation; while Kranold, Hupfeld, etc., have positively denied it. The following considerations, however, speak for its actual observance: 1. All the other Mosaic festivals have been observed, and it is therefore surpassing strange to suppose that the jubilee which is so organically connected with them, and is the climax of all of them, is the only one that never was observed.

2. The law about the inalienability of landed property, which was to be the result of the jubilee, actually obtained among the Jews, thus showing that this festival must have been observed. Hence it was with a view to observing the jubilee law that the right of an heiress to marry was restricted ( Numbers 36:4;  Numbers 36:6-7); and it was the observance of this law, forbidding the sale of land in such a manner as to prevent its reversion to the original owner or his heir in the year of jubilee, that made Naboth refuse to part with his vineyard on the solicitation of king Ahab ( 1 Kings 21:1-4).

3. From  Ezekiel 46:17, where even the king is reminded that if he made a present of his landed property to any of his servants it could only be to the jubilee year, when it must revert to him, it is evident that the jubilee was observed. Allusions to the jubilee are also to be found in  Nehemiah 5:1-19;  Isaiah 5:7-10;  Isaiah 61:1-2;  Ezekiel 7:12-13 ( Isaiah 37:30 is less clear). Ewald contends that the institution is eminently practical in the character of its details, and that the accidental circumstance of no particular instance of its observance having been recorded in the Jewish history proves nothing. Besides the passages to which reference has been made, he applies several others to the jubilee. He conceives that "the year of visitation" mentioned in  Jeremiah 11:23;  Jeremiah 23:12;  Jeremiah 48:44, denotes the punishment of those who, in the jubilee, withheld by tyranny or fraud the possessions or the liberty of the poor. From  Jeremiah 32:6-12, he infers that the law was restored to operation in the reign of Josiah ( Alterth Ü Mer, p. 424, note 1). It is likely, however, that in the general declension of religious observances under the later monarchs of Judah this institution yielded to the avarice and worldliness of landed proprietors, especially as mortgaged property and servants would thereby be released (see  Jeremiah 34:8-11; comp. Nehemiah 5). Indeed, it is intimated that the Babylonian captivity should be of such a duration as to compensate for the years (sabbatical and jubilee together) of which Jehovah had thus been defrauded ( 2 Chronicles 36:21).

4. The general observance of the jubilee is attested by the unanimous voice of Jewish tradition. This unanimity of opinion, however, only extends to the observance of the jubilee prior to the Babylonian captivity, for many of the later Rabbins affirm that it was not kept after the captivity. But in the Seder Olam (cap. 30), the author of which lived shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem, we are positively assured that it was observed. Josephus, too (Ant. 3, 12, 3), speaks of it as being permanently observed. This is, moreover, confirmed by Diodorus Siculus (lib. 40), who tells us that the Jews cannot dispose of their own patrimony ( Ἰδιους Κλήρους Πωλεῖν ) , As well as by the fact that we have distinct records of the law respecting the redemption of houses in cities without walls, which forms an integral part of the jubilee law, being strictly observed to a very late period (Erachin, 31 b; Baba Kama, 82 b).

V. Origin, Design, And Importance Of The Jubilee. The foundation of the law of jubilee appears to be so essentially connected with the children of Israel that it seems strange that Michaelis should have confidently affirmed its Egyptian origin, while yet he acknowledges that he can produce no specific evidence on the subject ( Mos. Law, art. 73). The only well proved instance of anything like it in other nations appears to be that of the Dalmatians, mentioned by Strabo, lib. 7 (p. 315, edit. Casaubon). He says that they redistributed their land every eight years. Ewald, following the statement of Plutarch, refers to the institution of Lycurgus; but Mr. Grote has given another view of the matter (History of Greece, 2, 530).

The object of this institution was that those of the people of God who, through poverty or other adverse circumstances, had forfeited their personal liberty or property to their fellow citizens, should have their debts forgiven by their coreligionists every half century, on the great day of atonement, and be restored to their families and inheritance as freely and fully as God on that very day forgave the debts of his people and restored them to perfect fellowship with himself, so that the whole community, having forgiven each other and being forgiven of God, might return to the original order which had been disturbed in the lapse of time, and, being freed from the bondage of one another, might unreservedly be the servants of him who is their redeemer. The aim of the jubilee, therefore, is to preserve unimpaired the essential character of the theocracy, to the end that there be no poor among the people of God ( Deuteronomy 15:4). Hence God, who redeemed Israel from the bondage of Egypt to be his peculiar people, and allotted to them the promised land, will not suffer any one to usurp his title as Lord over those whom he owns as his own. It is the idea of grace for all the suffering children of man, bringing freedom to the captive and rest to the weary as well as to the earth, which made the year of jubilee the symbol of the Messianic year of grace ( Isaiah 61:2), when all the conflicts in the universe should be restored to their original harmony, and when not only we, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, but the whole creation, which groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, may be restored into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (comp.  Isaiah 61:1-3,  Luke 4:21;  Romans 8:18-23 :  Hebrews 4:9).

The importance of this institution will be apparent if it is considered what moral and social advantages would accrue to the community from the sacred observance of it.

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.

VI. Literature . The Mishna ( Erachin, ch. 8, 9) gives very important enactments of a very ancient date respecting the jubilee. In Maimonides ( Jod Ha - Chezaka, especially the tract so often above referred to as Hilchoth Shemita Ve - Jobel, ch. 10-13) an epitome will be found of the Jewish information on this subject which is scattered through the Talmud and Midrashim. Of the modern productions are to be mentioned the valuable treatises of Cunaeus, De Rep. Hebr. chap. 2, sec. 4 (in the Critici Sacri, 9:278 sq.), and Meyer, De Tempor. Et Diebus Hebroeorum (in Ugolini Thesaurus, 1 , 703, 1755), p. 341-360; Michaelis, Commentaries On The Laws Of Moses (Engl. version, Lond. 1814), vol. 1, art. 83, p. 376 sq.; Ideler, Handbuch Der Chronologie (Berl. 1825), 1, 502 sq; the excellent prize essays of Kranold, De Anno Hebr. Jubiloeo (G Ö tting. 1837), and Wolde, De anno Hebr. Jubiloeo (G Ö ttingen, 1837); Bhhr, Symbolik des Mosaischen Cultus (Heidelberg, 1839), 1, 572 sq.; Ewald, Die Alterth Ü mer des Folkes Israel (G Ö tting. 1854), p. 415 sq.; Saalschitz, Das Mosaische Recht (Berlin, 1853), 1, 141, etc.; and Archaologie der Hebraer (Konigsb. 1856), 2, 224, etc.; Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (Nordhausen, 1855), 1, 463, etc.; Keil, Handbuch der Biblischen Arch Ä ologie (Frankf. a. M. 1858), 1, 374, etc. Hupfeld (Commentatio de Hebroeorum Festis, part 3, 1852) has lately dealt with it in a willful and reckless style of criticism. Vitringa notices the prophetical bearing of the jubilee in lib. 4, c. 4 of the Observationes Sacroe. Lightfoot (Harm. Evang. in Luke 4, 19) pursues the subject in a fanciful manner, and makes out that Christ suffered in a jubilee year. For further details, see Wagenseil, De anno Jubiloeo Hebr. (Altdorf, 1700); J.C. Buck, De anno Hebroeor. jubiloeo (Viteb. 1700); Carpzov, De annojubiloeo (Lips. 1730; also in his Apparat. crit. p. 447): Ode, De anno Heb. jubilate (Traj. a. K. 1736; also in Oelrich's Collectio, 2, 421-508); Laurich, Legislatio Mosaica de anno semiseculari (Altenb. 1794); also Marck, Syllog. dissert. 302; Bauer, Gottesd. Verfass. 2, 277; Hullmann, Urgesch. des Staats, 73; Van der Hardt, Dejubil. Mosis (Helmstadt, 1728); Jochanan Salomo, De jubil. Hebr. (Danz. 1679); Meier, De mysterii Jobelcei (Brem. 1700), Reineccius, De origine Jubiloeorum (Weissenfels, 1730); Stemler, De anno Jobeleo (Lips. 1730); Van Poorteren, Jubilcus Hebroeorum (Cob. 1730); Walther, De Jubiloeo Judoeorum (Sodin. 1762). Other monographs, relating, however, rather to later times, are cited by Volbeding, Index, p. 128, 162. (See Sabbatical Year).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Jubilee, according to some a period of fifty years, according to others, though less probably, of forty-nine years, the termination of which led to certain great changes in the condition of the Hebrews, all of which seem to have been designed and fitted to bring about from time to time a restoration of the original social state instituted by Moses, and so to sustain in its unimpaired integrity the constitution of which he was the author.

Intimately connected with the Jubilee was another singular Mosaic institution, namely, the Sabbatical year. On this account we shall speak briefly of the latter, as preparatory to a right understanding of the former.

While yet wandering in the wilderness, and therefore, before they had entered 'the land of promise,' the children of Israel received from the lips of their great legislator the following law—'six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest; that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid and the stranger may be refreshed' ( sq.). This injunction is repeated in , where it stands as proceeding immediately from the Lord. The land is to keep 'a sabbath for the Lord.' Then in immediate sequence follows the law relating to the Jubilee . 'And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years, forty and nine years; then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound in the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; and ye shall return every man unto his; possession and unto his family,' etc. etc. . Land might be redeemed by a kinsman or by the party who sold it; but in the Jubilee year it must return to its original proprietor. Dwelling-houses within a walled city might be redeemed within the first year; if not redeemed within the space of a full year they became the freehold of the purchaser. The houses of villages were to be counted as the fields of the country. The cities and houses of the Levites were redeemable at any time, and could never be held longer than the ensuing Jubilee: the field of the suburbs of their cities might not be sold . Israelites who were hired servants (Israelitish bond-servants were not allowed) might serve till the year of Jubilee, when they returned to their possessions. A Hebrew sold as a slave to a foreigner resident in Palestine was redeemable by himself or relatives at any time, by making payment according to the number of years to elapse before the next Jubilee; but at the Jubilee such bondsman was, under all circumstances, to be set at liberty . The only exception to this system of general restitution was in the case of property set apart and devoted to the Divine service—'Every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord; none devoted shall be redeemed' .

With these scriptural details the account given by Josephus (Antiq. iii. 12. 3) substantially agrees; and it is worthy of notice that the Jewish historian speaks of the law as a reality, as a present reality, as something in actual operation.

The time required by the Sabbatical year and by the Jubilee to be rescued from the labors of the field, was very considerable. Strictly interpreted the language we have cited would take out of the ordinary course of things every sixth, seventh, and eighth year, during each successive septenary, till the circle of fifty years was in each period completed. Nay more, the old store, produced in the sixth year, was to last until the ninth year, for the sixth year was to bring forth fruits for three years.

The reader has now before him the whole of this extraordinary piece of legislation, which, viewed in all its bearings—in its effects on human labor, on character, on religious institutions and observances, as well as on the general condition of society, no less than on the productiveness of the land, and the means of sustenance to its inhabitants—is wholly unparalleled by any event in the history of the world. It is, however, in strict harmony with the Mosaic economy.

The recurring periods of seven years are in keeping with the institution of the seventh day as a Sabbath for man and beast. The aim in both is similar—needful repose. The leading idea involved in the Jubilee—namely, restitution—also harmonizes with the fundamental principles of the Mosaic system. The land was God's, and was entrusted for use to the chosen people in such a way that every individual had his portion. A power of perpetual alienation would have been a virtual denial of God's sovereign rights, while the law of Jubilee was one continued recognition of them. The conception is purely theocratical in its whole character and tendencies. The theocracy was of such a nature as to disallow all subordinate 'thrones, principalities, and powers;' and consequently, to demand entire equality on the part of the people. But the power of perpetual alienation in regard to land would have soon given rise to the greatest inequalities of social condition, presenting splendid affluence on one side and sordid pauperism on the other. A passage in Deuteronomy , when rightly understood, as in the marginal translation—'to the end that there be no poor among you'—seems expressly to declare that the aim in view, at least, of the Sabbatical release, was to prevent the rise of any great inequality of social condition, and thus to preserve unimpaired the essential character of the theocracy. Equally benevolent in its aim and tendency does this institution thus appear, showing how thoroughly the great Hebrew legislator cared and provided for individuals, instead of favoring classes. Beginning with a narrow cycle of seven days, he went on to a wider one of as many years, embracing at last seven times seven annual revolutions, seeking in all his arrangements rest for man and beast, and, by a happy personification, rest even for the brute earth; and in the rest which he required for human beings, providing for that more needful rest of mind which the sharp competitions and eager rivalries of modern society deny to ten thousand times ten thousand. As being of a benign character and tendency, the law of the Sabbatical and Jubilee year is in accordance with the general spirit of the Mosaic legislation, and appears not unworthy of its divine origin.

Warburton adduced this law in order to show that Moses was in truth sent and sustained by God, since nothing but a divine power could have given the necessary supplies of food in the sixth year; and no unprejudiced person can deny the force of the argument.

Now these laws either emanated from Moses, or they did not. If they did not, they arose after the settlement in Canaan, and are of such a nature as to convict their fabricator of imposture, if, indeed, any one could have been found so daring as to bring forth laws implying institutions which did not exist, and which under ordinary circumstances could not find permanence, even if they could ever be carried into operation at all. But if these laws emanated from Moses, is it credible that he would have given utterance to commands which convict themselves of impossibility? or caused the rise of institutions, which, if unsupported of heaven, must come to a speedy termination, and in so doing act to his own discredit as a professed divine messenger?

But it may be asked, Could the land sustain the people? On this point we find the following important passage in Palfrey's Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures, Boston, 1841, vol. 1 p. 303: 'I find no difficulty arising from any inadequacy of the produce of six years to afford sustenance to the people for seven. To say that this was intended would merely be to say that the design was that the consumption of each year should only amount on an average to six-sevenths of its produce. In such an arrangement it cannot be thought that there was anything impracticable. There are states of this Union which export yearly more than half their produce, and subsist substantially on the remainder, their imports consisting mostly of luxuries. Again, in England nearly three quarters of the families are engaged in commerce, manufactures, professions, and unproductive pursuits; but in Judea every man was a producer of food, with the advantage of a fine climate and a rich soil.'

In spite of all these arguments, some rationalistic writers have hazarded the surprising assertion that these laws were not executed before the Babylonish exile. But in addition to the proofs already mentioned, we have the positive evidence of the Roman historian Tacitus (Hist. v. 4), of Josephus (Antiq. xiv. 10, 6), of Ezekiel , and of Isaiah , to the observance of the Sabbatical year at least. And since the essential element of this system of law, namely, the Sabbatical year, was an established institution in the days of Tacitus, Josephus, the Maccabees, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, we think the fair and legitimate inference is in favor of those laws having been long previously observed, probably from the early periods of the Hebrew republic. Their existence in a declining state of the commonwealth cannot be explained without seeking their origin nearer the fountain-head of those pure, living waters, which, with the force of all primitive enthusiasm, easily effected great social wonders, especially when divinely guided and divinely sustained.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

A festival among the Jews every fiftieth year in celebration of their emancipation from Egypt.