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Deeper Commentary


Lev 25:1 Yahweh said to Moses in Mount Sinai-
The assumption at this point was that those hearing these words would soon be established in the promised land. God foreknew they would not, but He goes ahead with His ideal potentials with absolute enthusiasm and legitimate enthusiasm.

Lev 25:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to Yahweh-
As will be explained below, the whole purpose of the legislation was to teach Israel spiritual things. Whilst leaving land fallow is indeed a good idea, we must remember that the incredible fecundity promised was the result of Divine blessing for covenant keeping, and not of agricultural technique.

Lev 25:3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits-
The parallel here is with six days of work followed by the seventh day of rest. The seventh year was therefore to be a temporary suspension of the curse, the possibility of having a taste of the Kingdom now; just as we today can live "the eternal life", the kind of life which we will eternally live in the Kingdom. The idea of the Sabbath year was also to lead Israel away from the mentality of justification by works. And that was to involve faith in God's provision, rather than trust in our own works. We note that work is a commandment; there is no way to avoid the curse. But the Sabbath day and Sabbath year shows that even in this life, we have a foretaste of the Kingdom when the curse shall be no more.

Lev 25:4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard-
The legislation about the feasts stressed so often that Israel were not to work at these times. The weekly Sabbath likewise taught the need to trust in God rather than human works. The spirit of it all was that "There's more to life than work, put relationship with God, in the Spirit of the Sabbath rest of the Kingdom, before mad accumulation of wealth". Having hopefully learned these lessons week by week and feast by feast, the people were thus spiritually educated for the far greater test of not working for a whole year, or even three years, in the Jubilee year. There is no historical evidence that Israel ever kept this legislation as outlined here. They failed to learn the lessons and to be taken further in faith. This is why the land had to keep its Sabbath during the years of exile to compensate for how it had never been allowed to rest under the tenure of the Israelites.

Lev 25:5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land-
This was so that the poor could eat (Ex. 23:11). So through this experience, the landowners were treated as the poor and landless. They too had to live by faith in God's provision and not in their own works or ownership of assets. God works likewise with us all, helping us to identify with the poor, that we might have a heart and identity with those who lack our resources. LXX has "thou shalt not gather fully the grapes of thy dedication". The idea may be that the fruit of the vine was the best fruit, but it was to be dedicated to God. Israel were not therefore to make or drink wine in the Sabbath or Jubilee years.

Lev 25:6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your servant, for your maid, for your hired servant, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner amongst you-
Ex. 23:11 expresses the reason for this as being "that the poor of your people may eat". It’s true that often, although not always, poverty is partly due to poor decisions and mismanagement, and any aid given is often misused. And it’s true that the materially poor are partly poor [in many cases] exactly because of that. And yet the Bible teaches generosity to “the poor”. There is no attempt in the Bible teaching about “the poor” to subdivide them into the genuinely poor, and those who are poor because of their own fault or laziness, or who are asking for support when they don’t actually need it. A person who comes to you claiming need is “the poor”. Thus Israel were not to farm their land in the seventh year, “that the poor of your people may eat” (Ex. 23:11). This immediately raised the issue that all manner of people could eat the fruit which grew naturally on the land that year- but there is no legislation to try to limit who had access to it. Those who had food in their barns might eat what grew- but there was no mechanism within the law which controlled that. The point is, in our spiritual poverty we are just the same. We are in that position partly because of our human situation and other factors over which we have no control; but also partly and largely because we choose to be in it. We cry to God for the riches of His forgiveness- and we waste it, by doing the same sin over and again. Our hold on spiritual things is weak, we don’t respond with the grace and appreciation we ought to. We’re spiritually lazy. We’re no better than those who are materially poor through nothing but their own fault. Our generosity to them is a reflection of our recognition of this.

Lev 25:7 For your livestock also, and for the animals that are in your land, shall all its increase be for food-
LXX "the wild beasts". God feeds wild animals from that which grows naturally, and here He wanted the people to do the same; to experience and live out something of His generosity to all. But the acceptance that wild animals would exist is perhaps a tacit recognition that the full blessing of the covenant would not come, for the presence of wild beasts in the land was a sign of lack of blessing (Lev. 26:22). It's rather like the promise that there would be no poor in the land, and yet there is plenty of Mosaic legislation about poor Israelites. We see in this God's acceptance that His people would not live and experience as they should, and yet His legislation accounted for that- for He so thirsted for relationship with them. And He likewise is acceptant of our imperfection and failure to receive the blessings we could and should receive.

Lev 25:8 You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years-
The seventh year was also a Sabbath year, so the idea is that there would be two years when the land was not sown, which meant that there would be a bumper harvest given enough for three years (:21).

Lev 25:9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land-
This clearly established that the jubilee of abundant Divine provision and rest from works was a result of the atonement. That atonement clearly looked forward to the work of the Lord on the cross, as Hebrews makes clear. Therefore the things of the jubilee year are those of the Kingdom made possible for us through that.

Lev 25:10 You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family-
To preach [proclaim] the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:19) is parallel with “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev. 25:10). Likewise there are to be found other such allusions to the proclamation of Jubilee: “We as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive… the grace of God… a time accepted… in the day of salvation [the Jubilee] have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time” (2 Cor. 6:1,2) “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached [proclaimed, s.w. Lk. 4:19] in his name among all nations” (Lk. 24:47). This is alluded to in Lk. 4:19 where we read that Jesus proclaimed “the acceptable year of the Lord”. We are to make the same proclamation in preaching the good news to all people- “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached ["proclaimed", s.w. Lk. 4:19] in his name among all nations” (Lk. 24:47). The year of Jubilee began with the Day of Atonement, which is understood in the New Testament as foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins. We are now to live in a permanent state of Jubilee, announcing it to all people. The Hebrew word translated “jubilee” carries the idea of forgiveness, release, freedom. This is our message to all the people of the world.

Lev 25:11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines-
LXX "neither shall ye gather its dedicated fruits". The idea may be that the fruit of the vine was the best fruit, but it was to be dedicated to God. Israel were not therefore to make or drink wine in the Sabbath or Jubilee years. The confusion between 49th and 50th year is because the seventh year was a jubilee year anyway, so there were two years when the land wasn't cultivated. In the Sabbath year they could eat what grew naturally, but not in the Jubilee year. This was a massive leap of faith. Only God's law would judicially require such behaviour, in faith in His provision.

Lev 25:12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field-
The Jubilee year is presented as the land itself. They were to eat the increase of the jubilee year in that their barns were to be full of harvest. They were not to eat that which grew naturally (:11). We think of how the harvests of Egypt gave enough food for seven years, and of how the rich fool thought he had enough in his for many years. But the food which could be stored would have only been basic grain- none of the nicer things which are specifically cultivated would have kept in store for so long. So the Jubilee was a call to live a basic life, remembering their fathers sustained by the harvests of Egypt- by grace alone.

Lev 25:13 In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property-
"His property" is intentionally contrasted with the reality that "the land is Mine" (:23). The concept of ‘private property’ is indeed a myth. For we die, and leave it all behind. The Mosaic law sought to teach this- because “The land is mine”, what appeared to be a ‘sale’ of property wasn’t really a sale at all- quite simply because the land was God’s (Lev. 25:13,23). And likewise our ‘generosity’, as David observed, isn’t really that at all- for we only give God back what He has given us. In fact, when you think about it, the only ‘thing’ that Biblically a person can say is ‘theirs’ is their partner or family- even though these are also given of God. And so it’s sadly understandable that a materialistic, wealthy society always becomes one that has a low estimate of the family unit and the exclusive sanctity of marriage.

The reality was that the property returned to the owner; but we read that the owner was to return to his property. We see encouraged a mutuality between each individual and their place or inheritance in the Kingdom.

Lev 25:14 If you sell anything to your neighbour, or buy from your neighbour, you shall not wrong one another-
"Do wrong..." is the word used of how the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 22:21). The oppression would be through deceiving the buyer concerning how many years were left until the Jubilee. It would be like selling a ten year lease for the price of a forty year lease. But Israel did oppress the simple and ignorant (Ez. 22:7,29), and so were oppressed by Babylon (s.w. Jer. 50:16). 

Lev 25:15 According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbour. Relative to the number of years of the crops he shall sell to you-
The ultimate time of Jubilee will be at the return of Christ. We are to perceive the value of all things we buy relative to this. Effectively, the Jubilee was a time of release from debt. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt. 6:12) is probably another allusion to the Jubilee. We release / forgive men their debt to us, as God does to us. If we choose not to participate in this Jubilee by not releasing others, then we cannot expect to receive it ourselves.

Lev 25:16 According to the length of the years you shall increase its price, and according to the shortness of the years you shall diminish its price; for he is selling the number of the crops to you-
The idea seems to be, the number of harvests expected until the Jubilee year. But the number of harvests depended upon Israel's blessings for obedience. If they were disobedient, then there would be no harvests. If they were obedient, then every year they would not harvest the land before the time for sowing had come (Lev. 26:5; Am. 9:13). So there was built in to this law an opportunity to reflect upon the potentials possible if they were obedient. God's ideal was that there would be a continual harvest; but His legislation in Lev. 25:16 accepts the reality that this would not happen. His awareness of our failure to reach our potential height of blessing is seen throughout His word. See on :7.

Lev 25:17 You shall not wrong one another; but you shall fear your God; for I am Yahweh your God-
An awareness that Yahweh is intensely watching our treatment of our brethren should have an abiding effect upon us. All forms of harshness, dishonesty and unkind division from them are thereby forbidden to any who truly fear God. For "wrong one another", see on :14 (s.w.).

Lev 25:18 Therefore you shall do My statutes, and keep My ordinances and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety-
The Hebrew mishpat, "ordinances", has a wide range of meaning. The idea is of judgment, as if God and His Angels gave these laws as their considered judgment after considering the human condition, and Israel were to abide by them. But the word also the idea of a right or privilege; and that is how we should see God's laws. They are only felt as a burden because of human hardness of neck towards God's ways. His laws are not of themselves burdensome, but rather a privilege and blessing. The law was indeed "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12), designed to inculcate a holy, just and good life (Tit. 1:8), a way in which a man should "walk" in daily life (Lev. 18:4), a culture of kindness and grace to others which reflected God's grace to man. If we dwell upon the idea of "rights" carried within the word mishpat, we note that the law begins in Ex. 21:1,2 (also Dt. 15:12-18) with the rights of a slave- those considered to have no rights in the society of that day. The "rights" to be afforded by us to others are the essence of God's rightness / justice. 

Lev 25:19 The land shall yield its fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety-
But this was conditional upon their obedience (Lev. 26:5,6). This is one of many examples where "Shall..." is used not as total prophecy, but as a statement of a conditional future- even if the conditions are not immediately stated. The style reflects God's earnest desire to give His people the promised Kingdom blessings. And here He asks them to believe it, as He asks us.

Lev 25:20 If you were to say, What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase; -
We can’t have a spirit of meanness in our personal lives if we are proclaiming Yahweh’s release. This is one of many instances where the process of preaching the Gospel benefits the preacher. The jubilee offered release from the effects of past misfortune and even past foolishness in decisions; and our offer of jubilee offers this same message in ultimate term. Incidentally, the Lord had implied that we are in a permanent Jubilee year situation when He said that we should “take no thought what ye shall eat …Sow not nor gather into barns” and not think “What shall we eat?” (Mt. 6:26,31 = Lev. 25:20). There must be a spirit of telling this good news to absolutely all. And yet according to Luke’s own emphasis, it is the poor who are especially attracted to the Jubilee message of freedom (Lk. 6:20-23; 7:1,22,23; 13:10-17).

Lev 25:21 know that I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for the three years-
For all Moses’ desire for Israel’s obedience, there are some subtle differences in his attitude to law and obedience between Deuteronomy, and the law earlier given. Thus in Leviticus it was stressed that obedience would bring blessing; whilst Dt. 28:58 says that obedience results in fearing the fearful Name of Yahweh and His glory. Fear shouldn’t lead to obedience; but obedience leads a man to know and fear his God and His Name. This is blessing enough. Like Jacob and Job, Moses came to a fine appreciation of Yahweh’s Name at his latter end. 


Lev 25:22 You shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the fruits, the old store; until the ninth year, until its fruits come in, you shall eat the old store-
If Israel had doubts about how they would survive in the seventh year when the land rested, God would provide them with bumper harvests in the sixth year. But when the Lord bids us take no anxious thought what we shall eat on the morrow, He is surely directing us to the higher level, despite His willingness to make concession to human weakness. We note how God is intensely aware of our worries and doubts about His promised provision; and He answers them.

Lev 25:23 The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and live as foreigners with Me-
The principles of the Jubilee taught that all persons and land belong to God; we are only temporarily using them, and nothing ultimately belongs to us personally; all is God’s. This helps us cope better with ‘loss’ of possessions, and should keep us from the manic materialism which has been bred by capitalism, whereby all seek personal ownership of land and resources. Yet we note the parallel between the land being God's, and it being theirs- for they were not to sell it exactly because it was their eternal possession. This "Yours is the Kingdom", but it is God's pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

Lev 25:24 In all the land of your possession you shall grant a redemption for the land-
The law of Moses reasons as if each family of Israel had a specific inheritance which was not to be sold or moved outside the family. Hence the sin of Ahab in obtaining Naboth's vineyard. It would seem that there was some unrecorded list made of each family and which land they were to be given. This looks forward to our very personal and unique inheritance in God's Kingdom, possibly based around spiritual family units. This was "The inheritance of fathers", "your possession" (Lev. 25:27,28; Num. 36:7,8). God had given specific inheritances to His people, that this was not to be sold or traded. The division by lot in Josh. 15:1 presumably meant that the tribal areas were defined and then distributed by lot. And then within those areas, each family was given a specific inheritance. This legislation stopped the accumulation of property and wealth in the hands of a few, and protected the unwise and even lazy from the total loss of property.

Lev 25:25 If your brother becomes poor, and sells some of his possessions, then his kinsman who is next to him shall come, and redeem that which his brother has sold-
Boaz extrapolated from the law of Levirate marriage to marry Ruth and thereby redeem the land of the family. But the law here didn't require that. Boaz was going further than this law required. So we see that the law of Moses was not a chain, a leash binding and tethering man to reluctant obedience; for Israel is God's partner, not His dog. But rather was it designed as a springboard towards a culture of grace, kindness and taking initiatives of grace in practice. By allowing gleaners to come and pick up dropped grain, Boaz's grace was going far beyond the letter of the law. This was taking that law way beyond what it said, in a spirit of grace. This would account for the hint in Ruth 2:22 that not every landowner allowed such gleaning in their fields.

Lev 25:26 If a man has no one to redeem it, and he becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it-
As Hosea ‘redeemed’ Gomer in His attempt to force through His fantasy for her (Hos. 3:1), so Yahweh is repeatedly described in Isaiah as Israel’s go’el , redeemer (Is. 41:14; Is. 43:14; Is. 44:6,24; Is. 47:4; Is. 48:17; Is. 49:7,26; Is. 54:5,8). The redeemer could redeem a close relative from slavery or repurchase property lost during hard times (Lev. 25:25,26, 47-55; Ruth 2:20; Ruth 3:9,12). The redeemer was also the avenger of blood (Num. 35:9-28; Josh. 20:3,9). All these ideas were relevant to Yahweh’s relationship to Judah in captivity. But the promised freedom didn’t come- even under Nehemiah, Judah was still a province within the Persian empire. And those who returned complained: “We are slaves this day in the land you gave…” (Neh. 9:36). The wonderful prophecies of freedom and redemption from slavery weren’t realized in practice, because of the selfishness of the more wealthy Jews. And how often is it that the freedom potentially enabled for those redeemed in Christ is in practice denied them by their autocratic and abusive brethren?

Lev 25:27 then let him reckon the years since its sale, and restore the surplus to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property-
The word translated "Jubilee" carries the idea of 'return'; but the spirit of that return could be practiced at times other than the Jubilee. And it is the same in our lives.

Lev 25:28 But if he isn’t able to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hand of him who has bought it until the Year of Jubilee: and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his possession-
Eph. 1:13 speaks of our place in God’s Kingdom as our possession which has been purchased by the blood of Christ, and which we will receive as an inheritance at His return. This is all Jubilee language. The eternal time of Jubilee will be when the Kingdom is established upon earth, and we will each receive both literally and more abstractly an eternal inheritance in that Kingdom on earth, each with a varying number of towns to rule over (Lk. 19:17). Whether we are rich or poor in this life, whether or not we purchase our ‘own’ homes (:29), we are assured that our very own personal possession is assured, and we will return to it eternally in the Kingdom of God at Christ’s return. The Israelite who became “poor”, either by his own failures, others’ manipulations or his own poor decision making, would have continually looked forward to the year of Jubilee- when finally he and his family would be free, no longer in servitude, and could return to their very own land and inheritance as their eternal possession (:34). We look forward to Christ’s return with the same spirit.

Lev 25:29 If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it has been sold. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption-
The laws about houses in cities are far less protective than for land. The implication could be that God's intention was that Israel didn't develop urban life, but instead stayed in the inheritance He had given each family, and rejoiced in the abundant harvests of blessing He would shower upon them there. And this is the impression we have in the prophecies of the restored Kingdom. 

Lev 25:30 If it isn’t redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee-
The implication is that the walled cities would not fall within the personal inheritance of any family. For if they did, then they would be covered by the laws about the redemption of land. It was God's intention therefore that Israel lived in their family allotments. Urban life was not His ideal intention, but as with so much of the law of Moses, He recognized their likely future weakness.

Lev 25:31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall around them shall be reckoned with the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee-
As explained on :29,30, God's intention therefore was that Israel lived in small settlements and not walled cities. For if they had faith they would have no need of walled cities, for there would be peace in the land (Lev. 26:6). The entire law therefore was designed to elicit an upward spiral of obedience and blessing; it was not the miserable chain of legalism which it is made out to be.

Lev 25:32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time-
The Levites had no land inheritance, only cities. Or better, towns. As explained on :29,30, God's intention therefore was that Israel lived in small settlements and not walled cities. Ideally, the only cities were to be those of the Levites. This detailed potential intention was never realized by Israel; just as the extensive  and intricate commands about the restoration of the temple in Ez. 40-48 never were. One of the greatest tragedies for God must be all the wasted potentials He sets up in countless lives. And His joy is when we at least begin to realize them.

Lev 25:33 The Levites may redeem the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, and it shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel-
See on :32. The Levites would only be driven to the desperation of selling their houses if Israel failed to generously provide for them through their tithes. Again God's law foresees their likely failure. Just as He does not expect perfection from us.

Lev 25:34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession’-
This is the same phrase for "everlasting possession" used in the promises to Abraham about eternal possession of the land. The intention was that Israel would develop into the Kingdom of God on earth. And the land given the Levites in possession would indeed be eternally theirs. But this great intention never came near to fulfillment; it has been reinterpreted and rescheduled for fulfillment in the eternal Kingdom enabled by the Lord Jesus, with the Levitical priesthood replaced by Him and all God's people would be the priests.

Lev 25:35 ’If your brother has become poor, and his hand can’t support him among you; then you shall uphold him. He shall live with you like an alien and a temporary resident-
That is, with the same generosity you should show a foreigner. But the acceptance that poor Israelites would exist is perhaps a tacit recognition that the full blessing of the covenant would not come, for the promise was that there would be no poor in the land; and yet there is plenty of Mosaic legislation about poor Israelites. We see in this God's acceptance that His people would not live and experience as they should, and yet His legislation accounted for that- for He so thirsted for relationship with them. And He likewise is acceptant of our imperfection and failure to receive the blessings we could and should receive. See on :7.

Lev 25:36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God; that your brother may live among you-
The Lord's parable of the lazy servant alludes here. He spoke to Jewish people who would have known that His advice to the rejected man to have lent out His money for interest was at variance with this teaching. The Lord may have meant that the man should have given His money, the Gospel, to the Gentiles, from whom interest could be taken. Or He may have meant that 'You should at least have done something, even if it broke the letter of the law- and then I would have had compassion on you. But you did precisely nothing and kept it for yourself and got on living your life for your own pleasure and profit rather than Mine'.

Lev 25:37 You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit-
The reason is given in :38. Because Israel had been redeemed from Egypt, they were to be generous to their brethren, and generally open handed (Lev. 25:37,38). This is why the Acts record juxtaposes God’s grace / giving, and the giving of the early believers in response (Acts 4:33 cp. 32,34-37).

Lev 25:38 I am Yahweh your God, Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God-
Because of Israel's experience of the Red Sea redemption, therefore they were to have a generous spirit to their brother. Because the Egyptians were hard taskmasters, and Israel had been graciously saved from them, therefore they were not to be hard on each other (Lev. 25:40). If the oppressed [as Israel were oppressed] cry out unto you [as Israel cried out for their affliction], you must hear them, otherwise God will hear them and punish you, as if you are the Egyptian taskmaster (Ex. 22:24-27). Indeed, the whole Law of Moses is shot through with direct and indirect reference to the Red Sea experience. It was as if this was to be the motivator for their obedience and upholding of the culture of kindness which the Law sought to engender (Lev.23, 24; Dt. 17:7; 24:19-24). And our experience of redemption from this world ought to have the same effect.

Lev 25:39 If your brother has grown poor among you, and sells himself to you; you shall not make him to serve as a slave-
The covenant promised wealth and blessing to an obedient Israel. There were therefore to be no poor within Israel. The Israelite who became “poor did so either by his own failures, others’ manipulations- or his own poor decision making. But God's law foresaw this failure to realize the potentials He had enabled, and legislated accordingly, still seeking to show grace even in this dysfunctional situation. And that is a pattern for us; for we have all received such grace and must show it to others. If a man digs a hole and falls into it, he is still in the hole and needs our grace.

Lev 25:40 As a hired servant and as a temporary resident he shall live with you; he shall serve with you until the Year of Jubilee-
Perhaps we should note "live with you". The servant was to be a family member. We see here a hint toward God's dislike of slavery, although He tolerated it as He tolerates much lower level behaviour.

Lev 25:41 then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family, and to the possession of his fathers-
Again we see God's intention that His people should ideally live in the parcel of land which He had specifically given them. Any work or period away from home was to be but a temporary thing. As noted above, God's intention was that God's people enjoyed the inheritance He intended for them. And He geared things to promote that. He likewise has similar specific plans and intentions for us.

Lev 25:42 For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. They shall not be sold as slaves-
Just as the land was God's and Israel were intended to have on a kind of eternal leasehold, so all Israel were His servants and were not to be treated as the servants of men. He had brought them out of Egypt to serve Him; He had required Pharaoh to release them so that they might serve Him and not Pharaoh. Likewise at our Red Sea baptism, there is a change of masters, as Rom. 6 makes clear. We are never to forget that; that our brethren are not ours but the servants of the Lord, they are His and not ours. And we are to treat them appropriately. But "they shall not sold as slaves" was again a conditional statement, although the conditions aren't made immediately apparent. For if they left covenant with Him, they would no longer be His slaves and would be sold into the Gentile world as He later threatened- and as happened (Dt. 28:68). But whilst they remained in covenant with Him, they were His servants. We note how the Lord Jesus took all this to a higher level, in declaring us not even servants, but friends (Jn. 15:15).

Lev 25:43 You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God-
Constantly, fear of God is given as a reason never to be harsh nor abusive in any way to God's people. We can deduce that He therefore has a particular interest in how we treat our brethren. Any language or even impression of harshness must therefore be outlawed. The same word is used here of how the Egyptians were harsh toward Israel in Egypt (Ex. 1:13,14), and so by behaving like this we declare ourselves as not God's people but being of the world. And the word is again used as a reason why Judah were finally rejected- they had been "harsh" to each other (Ez. 34:4). These principles are not only relevant to those in leadership or power positions. If someone sins against us, we are in power over them; and it is for us not to be harsh towards them.

Lev 25:44 As for your male and your female slaves whom you may have; of the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves-
God was surely against slavery, for it is a reflection of a lack of value of the human person; and all are made in the image of God. But I suggest God allowed slavery if the slave were a Gentile as a concession to their human weakness.

Lev 25:45 Moreover of the children of the aliens who live among you, of them you may buy, and of their families who are with you, which they have conceived in your land; and they will be your property-
There was continually envisaged a presence of Gentiles in Israel. The "mixed multitude" who came out of Egypt may have been initially in view, but they were to be naturalized into Israel in their third generation. So the idea was that as Israel were a missionary nation, a light to the Gentile world, Gentiles would indeed come and live among them. But the legislation here seems geared towards incorporating those Gentiles into Israel.

Lev 25:46 You may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession; of them may you take your slaves forever; but over your brothers the children of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness-
Becoming Israel's eternal slaves would be through the children of any Gentile slaves being given an inheritance within the Israelite family; in this sense they would be "forever" in the family. "You may make them..." is misleading; it was not an option. This was a command. They were to do this. As we learn from the book of Ruth, there was great concern about marring an inheritance by splitting it up amongst too many children. So the idea surely was that if indeed Israel did buy Gentile slaves, then they were to give their children a part of the family inheritance, adopting them into their family. In this sense they would become their "slaves forever"; that is perhaps said almost sarcastically. God permitted slavery, but He was making it unattractive for those who only wanted slaves for secular work. These slaves would effectively become part of the Israelite family and their children would share in the family inheritance. It was another reflection of God's continual desire to incorporate Gentiles within the nation of Israel.

Lev 25:47 If an alien or temporary resident with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him has grown poor, and sells himself to the stranger or foreigner living among you, or to a member of the stranger’s family-
LXX "or to a proselyte by extraction". The situation envisaged here refers to the curse for disobedience, whereby the Gentiles would rise up above the native Israelites (Dt. 28:43). Again we see how God's law constantly envisaged Israel's failure, and sought to legislate for their protection even then. This is grace indeed. 

Lev 25:48 after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him-
As discussed on :47, the situation here is that Israel had sinned and individuals were being judged for that. But there was hope for redemption through "one of his brothers", an oblique reference to the Saviour redeemer, the Lord Jesus, who was to arise to save sinful Israel as one of their brothers (Dt. 18:18), fully of their nature.  

Lev 25:49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any who is a close relative to him of his family may redeem him; or if he has grown rich, he may redeem himself-
Ps. 49:7-9 appears to be a commentary upon these things: "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their life is costly, no payment is ever enough, that he should live on forever, that he should not see corruption". Even if a man became strong enough to redeem himself, or his brethren could- the ultimate redemption was from eternal death. Whilst the effects of the man's sin (see on :47) might be ameliorated by his brethren, the thoughtful Israelite was to reflect that the ultimate redemption from sin could not come from any known person, but from the future Messianic Saviour, raised up from amongst their brothers.

Lev 25:50 He shall reckon with him who bought him from the year that he sold himself to him relative to the Year of Jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according to the number of years; according to the time of a hired servant shall he be with him-
There is no mention made of the potential strength of the person nor his age, which surely would have been critical. For a 50 year old sold into servitude with 40 years to run until the Jubilee would surely have been worth less than a 20 year old. Those factors are not weighted, when they cry out to be factored in to such legislation. I suggest that this was to nudge the Israelites towards the higher level- that the person sold into servitude really ought to be released anyway. And they should not be valued for how much work they might produce, but rather the year of redemption ought to be the final and only issue which affected the evaluation of a person. The legislation permits servitude and Gentile slavery, but is effectively geared against it. LXX is somewhat different, apparently outlawing anything apart from a yearly contract to serve: "then shall he calculate with his purchaser from the year that he sold himself to him until the year of release: and the money of his purchase shall be as that of a hireling, he shall be with him from year to year". Or GNB "They must consult the one who bought them, and they must count the years from the time they sold themselves until the next Year of Restoration and must set the price for their release on the basis of the wages paid hired workers".

Lev 25:51 If there are yet many years, according to them he shall give back the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for-
See on :50. The Hebrew text is unclear, GNB for :52,53 offers "They must refund a part of the purchase price according to the number of years left, as if they had been hired on an annual basis". In this case the idea would be that the purchaser had to pay a kind of fine to the person who had been redeemed. Again, the law permits slavery and servitude but effectively makes it unattractive; the purchaser of a servant could end up seriously out of pocket if the servant was redeemed before the year of Jubilee.

Lev 25:52 If there remain but a few years to the year of jubilee, then he shall reckon with him; according to his years of service he shall give back the price of his redemption-
I suggested on :51 that this may imply that the initial purchaser of the servant had to pay a kind of fine; making such purchases of servants or slaves very risky and unattractive. To have forbidden slavery and purchase or servants would have been too much for Israel to swallow, as these practices were so inherent in their world experience. We see God's great sensitivity in recognizing this; and yet His laws led to the thoughtful person finding slavery unattractive. We find the same essential sensitivity and grace in the way that the New Testament as it were 'allows' belief in demons, even though they don't exist; and yet the implication and style of the records effectively deconstructs the idea of their existence. 

Lev 25:53 As a servant hired year by year shall he live with him: he shall not rule with harshness over him in your sight-
Any social superiority we may have over others is temporary, and must be seen in the context of the year of Jubilee which has been announced in Christ. The whole concept was designed to teach humility and gentleness in relationships. "In your sight" could mean that those who spotted any abuse of servants was to be reported and acted upon. All Israel were to be aware of abuse issues and to ensure that they didn't occur. Again, the classic idea of slavery is being deconstructed and made impossible to operate.

Lev 25:54 If he isn’t redeemed by these means, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee, he, and his children with him-
No mention is made of the wife, because it is perhaps assumed that husband and wife should be treated as a unit. The common idea that the children of a servant somehow belonged to the master is here shattered. Again, the practice of slavery as generally practiced in those days is not being tolerated. The family unit is given paramount importance, and everything is geared towards the independence of that family unit.

Lev 25:55 For to Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God’-
Those who had servants were to remember that they themselves were servants. Maybe Paul had this in mind when he reminded us that all our brothers and sisters are servants of Christ and not of us, and we therefore have no right to judge another man’s servant (Rom. 14:4). As Israel were to be a nation of servants, so should the Christian community be today.

Israel were "brought forth" from Egypt by God; they had been unwilling to leave Egypt, preferring to serve the Egyptians rather than Yahweh (Ex. 14:12). God had as it were forced through His project of saving Israel by bringing them out of Egypt. And He had done so largely for the sake of Moses, by whose faith the Red Sea parted and they were delivered (Heb. 11:28,29). Therefore Yahweh's bringing Israel out of Egypt was what He did for Moses, and only thereby for His people. We too are brought out of this world towards God's Kingdom by His grace alone, with His consistently taking the initiative in our hearts and life circumstances, in accord with the loving intercession of the Lord Jesus [represented by Moses]. Thus Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 18:1; 19:1; Lev. 23:43; 25:55; Num. 26:4; 33:1,3,38; Dt. 4:45,46), but Moses did (Ex. 3:10,11).