The Jubilee in the Old Testament
The Sabbatical Year
The Jubilee Year
How it was Practiced


How it was practiced

Despite the legislation of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), neither the Sabbath nor the Jubilee seemed to have been practiced by the Israelites. Scripture records God admonishing them in this regard.

Leviticus 26:1-2 1"Do not make false gods for yourselves. You shall not erect an idol or a sacred pillar for yourselves, nor shall you set up a stone figure for worship in your land; for I, the LORD, am your God. 2Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the LORD.

Leviticus 26:14-16 14"But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these commandments, 15if you reject my precepts and spurn my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant, 16then I, in turn, will give you your deserts. I will punish you with terrible woes--with wasting and fever to dim the eyes and sap the life. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will consume the crop.

Leviticus 26:34-35 34Then shall the land retrieve its lost sabbaths during all the time it lies waste, while you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land have rest and make up for its sabbaths 35during all the time that it lies desolate, enjoying the rest that you would not let it have on the sabbaths when you lived there.

Jeremiah 34:14 Every seventh year each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has sold himself to you; six years he shall serve you, but then you shall let him go free. Your fathers, however, did not heed me or obey me.

It is in the context of the failure to keep the Sabbath and Jubilee Years, that they begin to take on a spiritual significance. "O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam," the Exultet of the Easter Vigil exclaims, "which gained for us so great a Redeemer."  The Jewish failure to keep the festivals, Sabbaths and Jubilees called down the mercy of God upon mankind, who promised in their place a messianic year of the Lord's favor.

Isaiah 42:1-9  1Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my  spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.  2 Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
3A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
4Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. 5Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: 6I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations, 
7To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. 8I am the LORD, this is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. 9See, the earlier things have come to pass, new ones I now foretell; Before they spring into being, I announce them to you. 

Is 61:1-2 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lords favor,