Talk:Jubilee (biblical)

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Having read about the "Jubilee" I was left with the question "Was it ever observed?" and its corollary, "If not, why not?"

To date, I have found no real answer but it does seem a shame that there is little evidence either way. There is a claim in Leviticus that the harvest in the sixth year would be treble the normal harvest. Did this happen?

Similarly for the Jubilee.

At the risk of being cynical one might expect court cases about disputes where property was supposed to be returned or insurance against "Jubilee" claims or a list of precedence cases to establish the extent and liability of Jubilee claims.

I hope I am just "ignorant" or "asking the wrong questions" but I would be delighted if someone could enlighten me. Accordingly, my email address presented:

I think some of your questions are answered in the entries made in January 2009, if someone doesn't delete them. Chronic2 (talk) 23:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I have an issue with the sentence "According to the Torah, observance of Jubilee only applies when the Jewish people live in the land of Israel according to their tribes. " The word "Torah: needs to be replaced with a more descriptive word and a citation. Is this in the Old Testament itself? In the rabbinic commentaries? "Torah" has multiple potential meanings, and in what should be a scholarly article, the appropriate term should be used, with a citation. DoctorFun1970 (talk) 18:17, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

New Deal?[edit]

This seems an awfully lot like a progressive styled interventionist setup, can we be correct about this assertion that the Biblical government was a little more left-leaning in matters of economics (and of course, remember that the ideal H'Il seems to have for human society, in both Testaments no less, is one that seems to be collectivist, similar to Far-East Asian societies)?

Thanks, IdeArchos 07:08, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I removed:
The connection is so tangential that linking them in this way doesn't make sense. -Will Beback 09:00, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

In Judaism[edit]

To do: hope to add a section on how the Yovel is regarded in contemporary traditional Judaism in the near future. As with many other issues in Judaism, the Talmud and other rabbinic works expanded on the written Biblical rules and hence the practice as traditionally understood by the Jewish religion and its religious scholars is not necessarily the same thing as what other scholars might regard as the "Biblical" practice. Best, --Shirahadasha 19:07, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Calculating the Jubilee Year[edit]

Assuming the Jubilee Year was still observed, is there agreement on its cycle; ie which CE year(s) the next one would fall in? If so, shouldn't it be mentioned in the article? cheers, Moyabrit (talk) 01:20, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

This is an important question, and although we can't expect agreement from everyone, a section was added to address it (Section: Length of the Jubilee cycle) in January 2009. Also, the calendar of pre-exilic Jubilee and Sabbatical years should be treated separately from the post-exilic calendar, or even the calendar observed today because of the interruption of counting during the Babylonian exile. Chronic2 (talk) 23:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
There is agreement within Judaism on the Sabbatical Year. We are in the middle of one right now. But there is a general belief within Orthodox Judaism that people do not know the exact date of the Jubilee year. That is why Shmita is an article mostly about current observance, while this article is not. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 03:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Cancelling debt?[edit]

I guess that's the direct effect of returning property. Came across this interesting piece, which has a much different emphasis to the article:

PS: Whoever wrote The Old Testament (whether you believe it was God or man) understood this, which is why "Jubilee" - that is, the wiping of all debt by decree on specified intervals - was written into the Torah. They understood that only such an act halted the exponential "runaway" in the economy and thus prevented the ruin of the economy and the people. Is it not amusing that we claim to be "so advanced" and yet not one person in 100 in this country seems to understand that which an ancient people, living in a time before electricity, automobiles, The Internet and even running water had figured out exponents - but the huge majority of our citizens haven't? And you wonder why I rant and rave about our so-called "education" system and "teachers"?


Is there any substance to that?--Shtove (talk) 20:53, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, look in Michael Hudson's writings: If you tax labor instead of land, you're benefiting landlords who do not produce anything at the expense of the people who produce. If the "landlords" get control of law, they will make it where all excess production above subsistence is returned to the landlords through tax benefits, fees, and interest payments. A gap in the distribution of wealth occurs and profits are used for the wealthy's excess rather than for efficiently increasing production.

Ywaz (talk) 15:02, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to replace the bible verse Lev 25:10 quoted on this page with a different translation, one that has somehow escaped corruption by powerful men (who do not wish it to be known that debt ever should be cancelled). May Wikipedia also escape from those evil corrupting accursed usurers. --Sswam

Why was a practical consideration omitted by 71.137?[edit]

I have restored from the edits on 27 January 2009 the omission of three sentences that brought out a practical consideration that scholars interpreting the Jubilee have always had to deal with. If you're still around,, you can respond giving your reasons here. If you have a valid citation you can give why this is not important, please give it; don't just delete because you may not agree. You could also request a userid and a Talk page to go with it. Thanks, Chronic2 (talk) 23:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Jubilee in the United States as well as Internationally would end the financial crisis.[edit]

''''Applying forgiveness of debt to the economies of the world just one time would end this financial crisis we are in once and for all.'I can't imagine why it is expedient for the taxpayers to shore up the banks and it is beyond reason for the banks to forgive all debt in relation to real estate. For if the banks/government did this our crisis would be over. And we would forgive them as well. One would argue, Oh the investors! this is not fair. Yet even the investors who own real estate. Their debts would be forgiven. What's not fair about that?

Our economies would be rebuilt overnight and the burdens forgiven would enable the people of the nations to spend/save and stimulate the economies.


It might be fair and legal (by the book) to:

1. Cancel existing accumulated interest above quadruple the principal. That is the "doubled and redoubled" limit. 2. Outlaw usurious interest rates. 2.8% is the maxmimum rate for compound interest, and 6% is the maximum rate for simple interest. This prevents a debt from quadrupling over 50 years before the jubilee. 3. Warn creditors that after 50 years, and every 50 years thereafter, there will be a Jubilee; at which time all debt is to be cancelled. 4. Warn creditors that it is illegal to loan money at usurious rates to _anyone_; regardless of their race, religion, or prosperity. 5. It would be nice to allocate the land fairly, too. We may dream.

Regardless of religion these are good ideas, although as a man of little faith I doubt we can achieve it. The third point in there would give creditors time enough to get some of their loan back, rather than a sudden loss of the entire 'investment'. Perhaps 38 years would be enough. We can hold the Jubilee on the 0th and 50th year of each AD / ISO century. Wikipedia is not for original thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sswam (talkcontribs) 07:41, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

There seems to be lots of discussion about whether this is a 50 year cycle or a 49 year cycle. Obviously, they are both correct! The seven year cycle was not disturbed by the Jubilee year. If we were to call the Sabbath years the Saturday-years then the Jubilee would be the Sunday-year after the seventh Saturday-year. The Jubilee year is the 50th year but it is also the first year of the next sabbatical cycle. The Jubilee year is the 50th year but the cycle or interval between Jubilee years is 49 years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:59, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

"Radical as the idea of canceling debts and restoring the population's means of subsistence seems to modern eyes, it had been a conservative tradition in Bronze Age Mesopotamia for some two millennia. What was conserved was self-sufficiency for the rural family-heads who made up the infantry as well as the productive base of Near Eastern economies. They viewed the idea of unrestrained wealth-seeking as radical. It took thousands of years for the idea of progress to become inverted, to connote freedom for the wealthy to deprive the peasantry of their lands and personal liberty." - Michael Hudson "The Lost Tradition of Biblical Debt Cancellations" Ywaz (talk) 15:21, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

R.E. Jubilee ... end the financial crisis[edit]

Kudos for bringing this up. Indeed the article would benefit from such an entry. I can't write it myself, though, as my head is perhaps too full of conspiracy for an encyclopedic entry. The fact is, though, I believe, that the Rothschild's, who happen to control most of the world's central banking, and are therefore the creditors of the creditors of the creditors, were quite aware of the problem the Jubilee was meant to address, when they invented central banking; but what they were trying to obtain was precisely a problem, --not a solution--, for their debtor nations. You will thus NOT find any mention at all of general forgiveness of debt as a solution for the financial crisis, anywhere in the mainstream media, or even most of the Internet. Instead, they keep muddying the issue by spreading the fallacy that the problem is "fiat currencies" through economic ideologues that they control, such as a number of gold-standard pushing gold-bugs, the Austrian School of Economics, and Tea Party activists. Gold backing of currencies was used throughout history by many nations and empires, and so was the use of gold in coinage ("commodity money"), yet the end result was always excessive debts, leading to monetization, leading to inflation. Or one could ask, if non-fiat currencies were so good, how come they are all dead? The problem is debt, and what's needed is debt forgiveness at the global scale; --never mind new currencies; and the nationalization of all (privately owned) central banks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Is too much to ask for a *description* Jubilee? =[edit]

Only 1/3 of 1 sentence in the lengthy intro actually attempts to tell the reader what Jubilee *is*. When I finally get the the "Regulation" section, I am again bombarded with counting years rather than what the Jubilee Year requires. The shortest paragraph of 3 in that section gives a vague hint of the encyclopedic reference I sought. Would someone mind writing an encycopdic reference that tells what Jubilee *is*. Ywaz (talk) 15:10, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Tides and Bamboo[edit]

While visiting a foreign country I became aware that the locals were unable to harvest shellfish in the bay one day every week. This was due to there being two high tides during the day, and they referred to it as their Sabbath when they did other things like shopping, housework, and going to church. Confused the heck out of me......but basically once a day for six days in a row the bay emptied completely at low tide allowing locals access to it's bottom. On the 7th day, there was no low tide during the daylight hours, the bay didn't empty, and so the locals did other things on that day.

Knowing how important Tyrian Purple (shellfish dye) was to the economy of ancient peoples, these circumstances suggest that the real cause of Sabbath or 'day of rest' were the tides that prevented the harvest of dye snails, and that these tides presumably had other effects on ancient sailing and fishing practices of which I'm not aware. While this theory would seem far fetched for mountain farmers and nomads; my impression of the Hebrews of Ur and Om is that they were originally delta dwellers occupying the same ecological niche as the latter day delta Arabs. When the Hebrews moved inland, it is natural that they should have kept some of their old delta customs, and that these customs should be subject to interpretation and new explanations for the lack of any observable cause.

Or perhaps what we are getting is the Hebrew explanation for what was already the general custom in the Levant.

Along these lines I saw the 2009 Nova documentary 'Rat Attack' regarding bamboo and rat populations in which was described how the bamboo forests flower and go to seed, all at once, regular as clockwork. I don't remember the species or it's interval, but Melocanna bambusoides, the bamboo that grows around the Bay of Bengal, flowers and fruits once every 30–35 years, and Phyllostachys bambusoides, Japanese Timber, has the longest interval known at 130 years. On eating the bamboo seeds, the fertility of the rats goes into overdrive. It is then useless to permit fruit trees to fruit or plant crops as the over-population of rats becomes a veritable plague, consuming crops in the field and silo, stored goods, leathers, textiles, and anything else not rat proofed. Their effect on poultry, livestock and children must be equally devastating as the normally timid forest rat becomes vicious from hunger and brazen in numbers. In addition, they often carry dangerous diseases like Rabies, Typhus, Typhoid, and Bubonic Plague, which can easily reach epidemic proportions as the rodent population increases.

As I seriously don't like rats, it certainly looked like a good year to pack up the wives and kiddies, and take the year long vacation with the livestock in the desert. :-) However, for the ancients, by selling/shipping out their excess goods and failing to plant crops for one or two years, the rats would have been starved out that much sooner, esp. if they burned their fields and field huts, and, of course, the fertility of fields would have been much improved by burning, lying fallow and losing the salt from prior irrigation. It also follows that due to the expected lack of work and possible famine, the slave markets and temples would have been glutted, and so unable to sell them, ancient governments and families might sacrifice, execute, or release their slaves. On their return from "vacation", it does seem likely that the fields would have to be resurveyed and redivided simply because they had laid fallow for a year, and also because of the extra deaths from accident, famine and plague. Again merely as a practical matter, it would seem prudent for any government re-establishing public order to forgive debt and taxes, and start off with a clean slate, because the rats had destroyed the records, for fear of riots, or more simply they didn't haven't the army of scribes and computers required for the need.

I'm sorry to say this and I don't mean to offend, but I just don't believe any ancient religion or government that permitted slavery, concubinage and prostitution could have been anything but corrupt, and I sincerely doubt the Hebrews could have codified Jubilee, even as an example of God's love and mercy, AND made it stick nationwide, unless it were a new law permitting a new modified form of slavery that before this had been entirely forbidden in the urreligion of the Hebrews, and/or it was a superstitious response to a regularly occurring national disaster, AND such policy carried with it it's own natural penalty for it's violation.

So my questions are : Did the Levant have a species of bamboo that set seed every 49 years causing plagues of rats and disease? Or was there some other equally devastating natural event that could be expected to occur like clockwork every 49 years?

Some original research into these questions likely needs doing that I don't have the time or education for so I place the info and my questions here in the hope of encouraging investigation and solid scholarship on the subject instead of the priestly speculations that mar this article.

Otherwise many of Wikipedia's articles regarding religion, religious practices and religious terms, modern or ancient, are greatly flawed for their lack of complete description, newsy reports of controversy/debates instead of solid content, broken links, and an obvious bias/ignorance on the part of the writer. While it's very easy to to forgive the young people their errors, I often find these articles limp noodles where they should have been strong ladders assisting further study. This article is no exception. I sincerely hope it's priority for improvement is raised.

Mrs. C — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:50, 16 March 2012 (UTC)


The interpretation of James Ussher was that the Jubilee year was not an extra year inserted after the 7 x 7 years, but just the 49th year of each cycle. According to his calculations, the Jubilee years began in 1445 BC, and were the years 1396, 1347, ..., 710, ..., 563 (the first during Captivity), ..., 24 BC and 26 AD (the 30th year of Jesus). Albmont (talk) 18:31, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

I am a professor of biblical studies and an ordained rabbi, and this article is a mess from a Jewish perspective,from an academic perspective, and simply from an organizational perspective. I'm trying to figure out how to flag the article, but I can't figure out how... --14:40, 21 September 2015 (UTC)Dsbogard (talk)

I would suggest that before you flag this article that you explain here, on the talk page, how you think the article should be reorganized. Currently, it seems to be reasonably divided by its section headings into discrete areas of interest. If you think the order of these sections needs to be changed, or an new section of interest added, then please explain. Do not give a negative flag to an article because you disagree with some of its content. Instead, offer documented alternative interpretations and documented (published) sources that demonstrate the alternative viewpoint.Chronic2 (talk) 15:28, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
I want to second that suggestion. It would be helpful to have a better article on what is a fascinating topic, so I'd like to know what general changes in content and organization Dsbogard would make. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:03, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

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