But during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath for the Lord, when you may neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. The aftergrowth of your harvest you shall not reap, nor shall you pick the grapes of your untrimmed vines. It shall be a year of rest for the land. While the land has its sabbath, all its produce will be food to eat for you yourself and for your male and female slave, for your laborer and the tenant who live with you, and likewise for your livestock and for the wild animals on your land.
This fiftieth year is your year of jubilee; you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth or pick the untrimmed vines, since this is the jubilee. It shall be sacred for you. You may only eat what the field yields of itself.
Observe my statutes and be careful to keep my ordinances, so that you will dwell securely in the land. The land will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill, and live there securely. And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we do not sow or reap our crop?” I will command such a blessing for you in the sixth year that there will be crop enough for three years, and when you sow in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop; even into the ninth year, until the crop comes in, you will still be eating from the old crop.Leviticus 25:4-7, 11-12, 18-22
The Sabbatical and Jubilee years offered adam (humankind) and adamah (land) a respite from the penal consequences that followed rebellion in the garden of Eden. The Hebrew words adam and adamah are cognate: humanity and the earth are kindred by divine design. A curse on one is a curse on the other, and the salvation of one is the salvation of the other.
Cursed is the ground because of you!Genesis 3:17b-19
In toil you shall eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you,
and you shall eat the grass of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you shall eat bread,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.
God respects human freedom, a singularly divine quality bestowed on Adam who was made in his image. No other creature partakes in this attribute. Made “a little less than a god” (Psalm 8:6(5)), Adam was given “dominion” over all creatures and the earth (Genesis 1:28). In the beginning, the garden flourished spontaneously with vegetation and fruit-bearing trees to nourish humankind and the animals (Genesis 1:29-30). Harmonious relations between God, Adam, the land, and the animals kept the cosmos in balance.
When Adam and Eve chose to break away from God by disobedience, they took the land and animals down with them. All became captive to the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). The Jubilee decree treats the land like a human slave: both are redeemable, and both belong to God.
The land shall not be sold irrevocably; for the land is mine, and you are but resident aliens and under my authority. Therefore, in every part of the country that you occupy, you must permit the land to be redeemed.Leviticus 25:23-24
The Sabbath and Jubilee laws command rest to humans, land, and animals. As in the garden of Eden, God promises that the land will produce vegetation spontaneously, without human toil or effort, to feed all creatures.
A taste of original innocence requires childlike simplicity, trust, and confidence that God will provide.
Without sowing or reaping in the field,
Trust in the Lord to provide ample yield.