“That fiftieth year will be a yovel for you; in that year you are not to sow, harvest what grows by itself or gather the grapes of untended vines; because it is a yovel. It will be holy for you; whatever the fields produce will be food for all of you. In this year of yovel, every one of you is to return to the land he owns.”-Leviticus 25:11-12
I want to point something out about the Jubilee year that may not yet have occurred to you.
The way the Jubilee year was set up meant there would have been two Sabbatical Years BACK TO BACK every 50 years!
Think about it.
If every 7th year was to be a Sabbatical year, then the 49th year preceding the Jubilee Year was also to be a Sabbatical year.
And since the Jubilee Year is itself also a Sabbath year, we’ve got two Sabbath years in a row here!
Well, this issue has generated a whole lot of controversy.
In order to get around the plain wording of the text, the ancient Rabbis have offered up an interesting suggestion.
They have said that the 49th year of the 7 x 7 years cycle was to be counted as the Jubilee year and counted as year one of the 50 year cycle.
By doing this, it effectively made the first year of the first 7-year period following the Jubilee Year the 2nd year of the 50-year cycle.
Using this formula, this made the last year of the 7th seven-year cycle the 50th year.
This seems weird to me because no matter how you slice it, the 49th year is the 49th year.
Where do you get off suddenly saying it’s now year one of a 50-year cycle.
Why did the Rabbis make such a suggestion against the plain wording of the text?
The answer is simple.
Because they just couldn’t fathom how it was possible for YHWH to require them to survive without planting and harvesting crops for 2 whole years in a row.
Nevertheless, I reiterate.
The wording of the text in the TORAH is quite plain and as much as I respect the teachings of the ancient Rabbis and Sages, I don’t think this idea can be supported.
Let’s tuck this point away in our back pockets for a little while, because the importance of this point is going to resurface a bit later.