Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Jubilee Year

Today's Reading:
  • Leviticus 24:1 - 25:46
  • Proverbs 10:20 - 21
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Leviticus 24:1 - 25:46
Today I learned about two concepts -- the Sabbath Year and the Jubilee Year.  The Lord commanded the people to let the earth completely rest every seventh year.  The was to be the Sabbath Year, and no food was to planted and no harvests were to be stored away.  The people were allowed to eat whatever the land produced on its own.  The Lord promised them that there would be an overabundance of harvest on the sixth year so that they will still have plenty of food to eat during the seventh year.

The Jubilee Year occurs after seven cycles of Sabbath Years (49 years), and therefore takes place on the 50th year.  This was to be a holy year.  In this year the land was not be harvested (same rules as Sabbath Year).

The most interesting thing about the Jubilee year to me is that it seemed to be a debt cancellation year of sorts.  Each person was allowed to return to the land of their ancestors during that year.  If a person was hard up and sold their land, it was only sold until the next Jubilee year.  Therefore the price of the land was set based upon the number of years, or harvests, until the Jubilee.

I tried to find out when the next Jubilee year is, however it appears to be greatly disputed.  One of the points of contention is that we don't know if the Jubilee year overlaps with the first day of the next seven year cycle.  Another problem is pinpointing when exactly the first Jubilee year was.

Christians started celebrating the Jubilee year in the year 1300.  That appears to be an undisputed fact, although I do not have a definitive link to give as reference.  I know only what I see from multiple references.  The first Jubilee was declared by Pope Boniface VIII.  There have been 27 Jubilee years since the first Jubilee that were declared by resigning popes.  The last Jubilee year was declared to be in 2000.

I am a bit baffled at which years were chosen, however, because the length between the Jubilees vary -- most are 25 years between, some are 27 years between, one is 40 years between and it was 50 years between the first and the second Jubilee declared by a pope.  I am not going to do a bunch of research right now to try to figure out why the popes would declare Jubilee years to be, on average, 25 years apart instead of 50. 

Proverbs 10:20 - 21
20  The words of the godly are like sterling silver; the heart of a fool is worthless.
21  The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
Lord, I pray for your words to flow through me to share with the world.  Let not my words and my heart be filled with ignorance, but instead fill my heart with your love and let my words shine unto others like a light.  Amen.

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