Jubilee, Or Jubile
according property hebrew
JUBILEE, or JUBILE, THE YEAR or. In Ezek. xlvi. 16,17, there is indication of a law according to which " the prince " is at liberty to alienate in perpetuity any portion of his inheritance to his sons ; but if he give a gift of his inheritance to any other of his subjects, then the change of ownership holds good only till "the year of liberty" (7170 1W), after which the alienated property returns to its original possessor, the prince. This restriction upon the transfer of real property is applied to a greatly enlarged class of persons and cases in Lev. xxv. 8-55, which is by far the most important passage relating to this subject. It is again referred to in Lev. xxvii. 17-25, and the only other allusion to it in the Pentateuch occurs in Numb. xxxvi. 4. According to Lev. xxv. 8-12, at the completion of seven sabbaths of years, the trumpet of the jubilee (r171`1717Vr) is to be sounded "throughout the land," on the tenth day of the seventh month, i.e., on the great day of atonement. The fiftieth year thus announced is to be "hallowed," i.e., liberty (-nt is to ,be proclaimed everywhere to every one, and the people are to return "every man unto his possession and unto his family." The year in other respects is to resemble the sabbatical year ; there is to be no sowing, nor reaping that which grows of itself, nor gathering of grapes. Coming to fuller detail, - as regards real property (Lev. xxv. 13-31), the law is that if any Hebrew under pressure of necessity shall alienate his property he is to get for it a sum of money reckoned according to the number of harvests to be reaped between the date of alienation and the first jubilee year ; should he or any relation desire to redeem the property before the jubilee, this can always be done by repaying the value of the harvests between the redemption and the jubilee. The fundamental principle is that " the land shall not be sold so as to be quite cut off, for it is mine, and ye are strangers and sojourners with me." The same rule applies to dwelling-houses of unwalled villages ; the case is different, however, as regards dwelling-houses in walled cities. These may be redeemed within a year after transfer, but if not redeemed within that period they continue permanently in possession of the purchaser. An exception to this last rule is made for the houses of the Levites in the Levitical cities. As regards property in slaves (Lev.•xxv. 35-55), the Hebrew whom necessity has compelled to sell himself into the service of his brother Hebrew is to be treated as a hired servant and a sojourner, and to be released absolutely at the jubilee ; non-Hebrew bondmen on the other hand are to be bondmen for ever. But the Hebrew who has sold himself to a stranger or sojourner is entitled to freedom at the year of jubilee, and further is at any time redeemable by any of his kindred,the redemption price being regulated by the number of years to run between the redemption and the jubilee, according to the ordinary wage of hired servants. So much for the Levitical law ; as regards its observance, the evidence of history is not voluminous, but Jer. xxxiv. 11 seems to show conclusively that in his time at least the law acknowledged by the prophets was that described in Dent. xv., according to which the rights of Hebrew slave-holders over their compatriots were invariably to cease seven years after they had been acquired. After the exile the law of Lev. xxv. was also certainly disregarded ; the Talmudists and Rabbins are unanimous that although the jubilee years were " reckoned " they were not observed.
As regards the meaning of the name "jubilee" (511ri rqt?, or simply /yozai-2)5. &pierEcos or ti(pETIS, amens jubilaci or jubiheus), authorities are not agreed. According to Josephrts (Ant., iii. 12, 3), it means A.Eufiepta ; but the use of the word in Exod. xix. 13, Josh. vi. 5, makes it probable that the name is derived from the trumpet sound with which the jubilee was to be proclaimed ; and it is not impossible that the old Jewish traditional view is right which states 2Z4 to mean a ram - for which there is a probable confirmation in Phcenician--and then, by abbreviation for In+ flp, a trumpet of ram's horn. See Dillmaun on Exod. xix. 13. If the law of the jubilee is posterior to the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and was not enforced after the exile, the practical difficulties of the institution, especially in its connexion with the sabbatical year, call for no remark. Older theologians, by whom all the Pentateuehal laws were regarded as homogeneous parts of a single practical scheme, spent much ingenuity on the explanation of the year of jubilee. Thus Sealiger and many others sought to identify it with the seventh sabbatical year, and so to avoid a succession of two years in which agriculture was suspended. The most ingenious form of this attempt is the theory of Franke (Nov. Syst. Citron,. Fund., 1778), revived by Klostermann (Stud. u. brit., 1880, p. 720 sq.), which compares the jubilee period with the Egyptian twenty-five year period, and connects it with the intercalation necessary to re-establish the correspondence of the lunar and solar years.