Sabbatical Year/Shemitah, Part 2

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.

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.

In Biblical times, the farmer would scatter and sow seed first. This occurred during the fall after the holidays and God’s appointed feasts. A team of two oxen would be yoked together to drag a plough and till under the seed. It was customary to use two of the same animals per the law. Deuteronomy 22:10 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. Farming was a year around job. The land was constantly being worked. It was necessary to keep the ground free of weeds by hoeing from December until February. With the harvesting of grain in late spring and summer, stalks were cut near the top and bundled. The remainder of the plant was left for animals to eat. (New Manners and Customs of Bible Times). This cycle occurred for six consecutive years.

In the seventh year, the land is to rest. There is to be no physical labor or working of the land. Seed is not to be planted. The soil is not to be tilled or turned over. Weeds are left to grow unchecked. Olive trees are not to be trimmed or pruned. Grape vines are left unattended to grow wildly. Whatever grows will grow. The farmers are not to harvest or gather crops that do grow during the Sabbatical year. The food that grows is for the farmer, servants, workers, foreigners, and the poor. Of the food that is not eaten by people, the remainder is for the animals.

Imagine that, an economy with a built in one year vacation every seventh year. No need for a worker or union to negotiate time off.

Trust in the Lord to provide.

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