Jubilee (Biblical)

Jubilee (Biblical)

The Jubilee (Hebrew Yovel יובל) year, is the year at the end of a seven cycles of Sabbatical years (Hebrew "Shmita"), and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land, in the territory of the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year (the last year of seven sabbatical cycles), or whether it was the following 50th year. The English term "Jubilee" derives from the Hebrew term "yobel" (via Latin:"Jubilaeus"), which in turn derives from "yobhel", meaning "ram" ["Peake's commentary on the Bible"] ; the Jubilee year was announced by a blast on an instrument made from a ram's horn, during that year's Yom Kippur [] , raising an ambiguity over whether the Jubilee was within the 49th year, or followed it as an intercalation in the 7 year sabbatical cycles; scholars and classical rabbinical sources are divided on the question [Cheyne and Black, "Encyclopedia Biblica"] ["Jewish Encyclopedia"] .

The biblical requirement is that the Jubilee year was to be treated like a Sabbatical year, with the land lying fallow, but also required the compulsory return of all property to its original owners or their heirs, except the houses of laymen within walled cities, in addition to the manumission of all Israelite indentured servants ["Jewish Encyclopedia"] . The biblical regulations state that the Jubilee was only to come into force after the Israelites had gained control of Canaan [] , together with the biblical promise that there would be three years worth of fruit in the "sixth year" [] , which textual scholars regard as pre-dating the Holiness Code [Richard Elliott Friedman, "Who wrote the Bible?"] ; the Book of Ezekiel, which textual scholars also regard as earlier than the Holiness Code, refers to a "year of liberty" ("דרור שנת"), during which property is returned to the original owner (or their heirs) [] ; however, Midrashic sources argue that the jubilee was created to preserve the original division of land between the Israelite tribes [Sifra, Behar Sinai, 7:1] , as evidenced by the Biblical specification that the Jubilee should not be imposed until the Israelites were in control of Canaan ["Jewish Encyclopedia"] . The Bible also states that the Israelites were the servants of YHWH [] , which classical rabbis took as justification for the manumission of indentured Israelite servants at the Jubilee, using the argument that no man should have two masters, and thus as the servants of YHWH, the Israelites shouldn't also be the servants of men [Sifra, Behar Sinai, 7:1] .

ee also

*Jewish holidays
*Jubilee (Christian)
*Bank holiday


External links

* [http://www.solbaram.org/articles/fn1.html The economic and social significance of the Sabbath and Sabbatical years by Manfred Davidmann]
* [http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword.asp?kid=9229 Yovel - The Jubilee Year]
* [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_jubilee.htm When is the Jubilee Year?]

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