“Rather, you are to keep my regulations and rulings and act accordingly. If you do, you will live securely in the land. The land will yield its produce, you will eat until you have enough, and you will live there securely. ‘If you ask, “If we aren’t allowed to sow seed or harvest what our land produces, what are we going to eat the seventh year?’ then I will order my blessing on you during the sixth year, so that the land brings forth enough produce for all three years.“–Leviticus 25:18-20
Concerning the Sabbath year rest for the land, in verse 20 we are presented with a reasonable rhetorical question that would have been on any thinking Israelite’s mind.
That question is: “If we aren’t allowed to sow seed or harvest what our land produces, what are we going to eat the seventh year?“
And YHWH’s answer is: “I will order my blessing on you during the sixth year, so that the land brings forth enough produce for all three years.”
You just gotta love a God who anticipates our deepest needs and worries beforehand and already has everything figured out.
Now where it says “I will ORDER my blessing” (some translations say “I will ORDAIN my blessing”), the Hebrew word is TSIVVHAH.
The nuance this word carries is interesting because it contains a kind of dual meaning.
It carries the idea of something “being sent” AND of something “being commanded”.
In other words, YHWH is literally “ordering” nature to yield up her fruit AND send it to Israel’s way.
Nature has no choice in the matter but to obey.
Now while Nature has no choice in the matter, Israel does have a choice in the sense that they can either follow God’s commands of the Sabbath years and the Jubilee and reap this bounty or disregard God’s commands and pay the consequences which would probably be starvation.
To take a larger perspective, if Israel refused to obey God’s commands concerning the Jubilee, they are effectively breaking the covenant and the consequences would be nothing less than to incur God’s curse.
One of the most important points you’ve got to grasp is that the “selling” of the land is prohibited.
The Israelites can’t even sell the land if they wanted to BECAUSE THEY DON’T OWN IT!
Only YHWH owns the land.
What is being alluded to in those verses dealing with a transfer of a piece of property from one Israelite to another is that one Israelite is NOT purchasing a piece of land from another Israelite.
Rather he is acquiring a land-lease for a period of time that CANNOT exceed 50 years.
The prohibition against a permanent land transfer applies to BOTH the seller and the buyer.
When making a deal, the seller is not to ever imply that he is transferring the ownership of the land to the buyer.
And likewise, the buyer is never to think that what he has purchased is something he now owns forever.
Even if the buyer is somebody exceedingly rich and powerful like a Donald Trump in our day, he would be nothing the “user” of the land, he would never the “owner” of the land, and even that status would only last until the next Jubilee year.
In case you might think this is my imagination going hog wild, have a good look at the following verse:
“The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me — you are only foreigners and temporary residents with me.”-Leviticus 25:23
Keep in mind, YHWH is speaking to Israel here.
He’s speaking to His chosen people.
It’s like He’s saying “You dudes are just hanging out with ME“.
To close, understand that when the Bible uses the word “sell” or “sold” when referring to a real estate transaction, it is only a figure of speech, it was just the common way of speaking.
The REAL LEGAL MEANING from a TORAH perspective of “selling land” is the transfer of a LEASEHOLD.