Sabbatical Year/Shemitah, Part 1

Leviticus 25:1-7 The Lord then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year. All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat.

These commands in Leviticus were delivered personally to Moses by God. These were words were given to Moses approximately 3,500 years ago from today (October 2014). This is part of the ceremonial law, yet it has practical applications today. God wants His people to be holy or separate. God’s people should separate themselves from others by their behavior.

The word “Sabbath” in the Hebrew is transliterated. It is also “Sabbath” in English. The term is equated with rest. It is to be set apart, sacred, and holy.

Exodus 23:10-11 You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

“you shall let it rest…” The word is “shamat” in the Hebrew. It is defined by Strong’s Concordance as: to release, let drop or loose or rest or fall.

The Jewish people also refer to this as “shemitah”. It literally means to release.

Deuteronomy 15:1-2 At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed.

“remission of debts…In the original Hebrew text “of debts” is not present. “of debts” was added by the translators. Shemitah is the Hebrew word for remission. Shemitah as defined by Strong’s Concordance means: cancellation of debts, letting drop of exactions, (temporary) remitting, release (from debt).

Shemitah comes from the root word shamat.

The land is supposed to rest for one year…

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