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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 25

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


This forms a most interesting chapter, even in its moral sense, but much more so in its spiritual. And as an enlightened eye will he enabled to discern in it, that Moses spake of CHRIST, the attention ought to be the more awakened. Here is GOD'S appointment of every seventh year to be a year of rest to the land, that the holy land of Canaan, which was the glory of all lands, should be distinguished from every other by a Sabbatic year. Here is also GOD'S appointment, for every seven times seventh year to be a year of jubilee, in which the captive and the bond-servant among the Hebrews should go out free. This chapter hath also some very gracious laws contained in it, for the treatment of the poor, and of debtors.

Verses 1-2

Was not this precept intended to teach the LORD'S people to look back and consider how, in the garden of Eden, there would have been a perpetual rest to the land, and a constant Sabbath to the LORD, but for the transgression? And was it not also intended, to teach the LORD'S people to look forward to him, who is himself the Sabbath and rest of his people, and hath prepared a rest for them? Psalms 116:7 .

Verses 3-4

GOD here asserted his right and property, as the LORD of the whole earth: not unsimilar to the proprietors of earthly manors, who allow such and such seasons for breaking up the ground. But there is a sweeter sense to be given to this precept in a spiritual point of view. The six years of labour previous to the seventh year of rest, taught very expressively, the sad consequence of sin, which had introduced labour, and toil, and sorrow, into this mortal state. It is only through JESUS, that we are liberated from it, and exempt from all its penal consequences in a future life.

Verse 5

What a strong leading feature is here given of man's dependence upon GOD. And what a precious comment doth JESUS himself give of it. Matthew 4:4 .

Verses 6-7

Was not the extensiveness of this mercy, in reaching to all ranks and orders of the people, intended to shadow forth the extensiveness of that mercy which JESUS by his glorious redemption hath accomplished. See what the LORD hath said of it himself. Revelation 3:20 .

Verses 8-9

In this calculation it should seem that the year of jubilee was the nine and fortieth year; and that then the trumpet was sounded. But what a joy must it have been to every poor bond-servant, and especially to him that was under a rigorous master. I have no doubt in my own mind, but that there was a peculiarity in the sound, which though very few in the camp of Israel, if any, by reason of the distance of time from one to another in forty-nine years being between, had ever heard before; yet all perfectly well understood. The cruel tyrant over his poor servant, certainly understood by it, that his oppression was over: and the wretched captive felt in it the mercy of the LORD'S voice. But, Reader! what a faint image is this of that sweet jubilee trumpet, which sounds everlasting redemption through JESUS. John 8:36 . If the Reader feels himself interested, as he ought, in this place, to enquire further concerning this trumpet of jubilee, and wherein it differed from others in its sound and signification; he may soon discover that this must have been the case, from other trumpets which were in use in the camp. There was the Fast trumpet. Joel 2:1 . The War trumpets and the calling of the Assemblies. Numbers 10:2-10 . And what the Psalmist calls the joyful sound. Psalms 89:15 . But, Reader! what joyful sound in the camp of Israel, could equal that which the gospel brings of ransom to poor captive sinners, in the complete redemption by the LORD JESUS? Is it not now that the jubilee trumpet is sounded in the day (which is a continued day in all its saving effects) of his atonement? And is not the same trumpet forever sounding the acceptable year of the LORD. Isaiah 61:2 , with Luke 4:18-19 . Pause, my soul, and ask thyself, whether thou hast heard this joyful sound, now in the present day of grace; by which alone thou wilt be looking forward, with a pleasing hope of hearing that trumpet sound in the day of judgment; when all that are in their graves shall come forth. John 5:28-29 .

Verses 10-17

The return of every man to his own possession and to his own family, beside the mercy of the thing itself; certainly, had this very important point in view; namely, to preserve in proper distinction the rights and connections of families. It is by this, in a very eminent degree, that we are enabled to trace the pedigree of the LORD JESUS. Matthew 1:1 , etc. Luke 3:23 , etc. So that the poor Israelite, who by his own imprudence, or distressing providences from GOD, had forfeited his inheritance; and his connection was for a time obscured or lost during his captivity; had here an assurance that he should again recover the one, and again enjoy the other. What a beautiful type was this of our poor captive nature! Reader, you and I, by reason of sin, have lost our original inheritance, our birth-right, and our family claims. But JESUS the Redeemer of the soul, hath sounded the jubilee of his grace, and set us at happy liberty, and restored to us all our rights. Oh! thou precious GOD of all our mercies! Methinks I hear the joyful sound, "The year of jubilee is come; return ye ransomed sinners home." May it be heard far and near, and may they come which are ready to perish. Isaiah 27:13 .

Verses 18-22

Reader, do not overlook in these verses how gracious the LORD is. Rather than GOD'S people shall be losers by their dependence upon him, he will even work a miracle to supply them; for causing the sixth year to be doubly and trebly prolific, this was little less than a standing miracle. See that sweet promise. Psalms 132:15 .

Verses 23-24

This is a most proper idea ever to be kept in view, The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof. Man is but a pilgrim and a traveler through it. Psalms 39:12-13 .

Verses 25-38

All these precepts refer to one and the same thing. But their spiritual import is peculiarly striking. A brother so poor as not to be able to redeem his right, is a lively type of our poor nature. And a kinsman so rich, and the nearest that could be found, in whom the right of redemption lay, beautifully represents JESUS. For who so rich as he in whom all fulness dwells? Who so near as he that hath taken our very nature into himself, and is married to us according to his own most gracious declarations? Jeremiah 3:14 . Neither is any but JESUS in a capacity to redeem. And it is worthy our closest observation, that Job calls JESUS by this very name, Goel, that is, kinsman Redeemer. Job 19:25 . The same word is used for kinsman, in Numbers 5:8 .

Verses 39-55

The doctrine of free grace, and of full redemption by JESUS, became so important to be shadowed forth, and kept in view through the whole of the law, that the HOLY GHOST was pleased to repeat the same precepts again and again, only with a little variation, as suited to different circumstances: and to those that looked for the redemption in Israel, nothing could be more interesting. The striking difference the law made between the services of a true Israelite in bondage, and that of a stranger under similar cases, may serve to show that even in bondage the LORD'S right in his people is manifested. They may and frequently will be, found in the service of men, while at the same moment they are the LORD'S free men: and this is what the apostle had in view, when he said ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men. 1 Corinthians 7:23 . But what a mercy is it, Reader, that in the very moment that you and I have by sin forfeited all right to freedom, JESUS our nearest of kin, even our Goel, our kinsman Redeemer, hath made us free! What a sweet description of this unequalled love is that the sacred writer gives of it. Deuteronomy 32:36 .

Verse 55


WHAT motives of thanksgiving and praise pour in upon my soul from every quarter, in the perusal of this chapter, while I consider and compare my privileges and my happiness to those of the LORD'S people of old. They had, it is true, their seventh year of Sabbaths to remind them of the Sabbaths in Paradise, which Adam's transgression deprived his children of; but I have in that second Adam, the LORD from heaven, (as the Apostle most properly stiles him) an everlasting Sabbath, in him and from him to enjoy. Oh! may the blessed SPIRIT give me by his sweet influences to rest in JESUS!

In this Jubilee season to the poor captive and bond-servant may I behold by faith, the lively emblem of that eternal jubilee in JESUS, wherewith he makes his people free. Oh! thou kinsman Redeemer, that hast caused thy gospel trumpet to be sounded, never may I lose sight of what I was by nature, and what I now am by grace. Thou didst find me, O LORD, a bond-servant, indeed, to Sin and Satan, serving divers lusts and pleasures; and even in love with my chains, and averse to freedom. Eternal praises to thy dear name, that thou hast both proclaimed liberty to the captive, and made me willing to be redeemed in the day of thy power. Oh! may it be my happiness to return, as the redeemed Israelite, to my FATHER'S house, and now the mortgaged and sold inheritance is ransomed; LORD keep me from being ever again entangled in the old yoke of bondage. And while I behold so many all round me in nature's chains of sin, LORD give me grace, to adore the distinguishing mercy of my Deliverer. Let it be wholly to the praise of the glory of thy grace, wherein thou hast made me accepted in the beloved.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 25". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/leviticus-25.html. 1828.
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