The Jubilee Year represented a certain perfection of the
Sabbath Year legislation. It provided for a double portion of rest every 50th year.
Each 49th year would be a Sabbath Year, followed by a Jubilee Year in the 50th, so that
for two consecutive years the people would be bound to restore the land, personal and
economic freedom and to depend on God.
you shall neither sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor gather the grapes from the
undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you
shall eat what it yields out of the field. 13 In this year of jubilee
each of you shall return to his property.
8 And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven
years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9
Then you shall send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month;
on the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. [the
Day of Atonement - 10th day of Tishri - was the day on which sin was expiated] 10 And
you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its
inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his
property and each of you shall return to his family. 11 A jubilee shall that
fiftieth year be to you;
We can also gain some insight into the idea of the Jubilee from the name itself. It
seems to be named after the sound produced by the trumpets announcing a feast day, in this
case the Day of Atonement on which the Jubilee Year began. Such horns were used to
announce the presence of a great personage and to call an assembly. The most common name
for such a trumpet was shopar (rams horn). Less commonly, it was called yobel.
This perhaps refers to the joyfulness of the sound (what in literature is called
"onomatopoeia" - a word which mimics the sound it represents). Similar words
exist in other languages, such as the German yodel (a crying out).
In summary, the Jubilee Year was intended to be a joyful celebration of Gods
sovereignty in which for His People there was:
1) Emancipation: Redeemed by God, no Israelite can forever remain a slave. The Jubilee
was meant to restore equality among the Israelites
2) Social Justice: Equality meant raising up, as well, those who were in need.
Gods Providence is for all, so the goods of the earth are the common property are