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I'm studying the Jubilee year and came across these verses that confuse me regarding sale prices during that period:

"And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops." - Leviticus 25:14-16 (NKJV)

How do you compute for the sale price of grains based on the above text and what did these prices amount to during their time?

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    As the years were smaller, near the jubilee the prices would be smaller, if more distant from it, higher. Nov 2, 2021 at 9:51
  • Thank you for this very simple answer. Could you turn this into a legit answer below (and not just a comment) so I can upvote and check it as the answer? :D
    – Philip
    Nov 2, 2021 at 23:09

2 Answers 2

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Leviticus 25:

8 “ ‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.

Label this as Day 1 of the Jubilee Year 1. Then the day before it was the last day of Jubilee Year 49.

13“ ‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.

i.e., Day 1 of Jubilee Year 1

15 You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee.

Label the day of purchase as Day d of Jubilee Year y.

And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left [L] for harvesting crops.

Let D(d,y) = the number of days left until the coming Day 1 of Jubilee Year 1.
t = the total number of days of 49 years; t is a constant.

w = D(d,y)/t
w is a real number between 0 and 1.

L = 49*w

16When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops.

Let p be the market price when purchased on Day 1 (perhaps 2) of Jubilee Year 1.

The selling price on any day is
s = p*w

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According to the rules of God's government, property could never be permanently sold to someone outside the family. It was not possible to permanently lose one's inheritance. Each fiftieth year, called the year of jubilee, was always a full economic reset for Israel. In that year, slaves were freed. Purchased property was returned to its rightful family. And the land was given a rest from being worked or tilled in that year.

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:10, KJV)

A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. (Leviticus 25:11, KJV)

If someone became poor and must be sold to cover his or her debts, the buyer would consider his worth in light of the number of years of service he would be able to provide before the next jubilee. If only a year or two remained until the indebted one would have to be freed, the debtor would not so highly value the purchase as if many years yet remained in which the servant/slave would serve. The same principle held true for the purchase of property. In either case, knowing how many years the purchase would be valid would naturally affect the value and price of that purchase--which even God, in these regulations, acknowledges.

We are not told the specific prices; but it stands to reason that they would have been somewhat flexible, depending on market conditions. It is certain that buyers would have factored the jubilee into their reckoning when purchasing a servant or property that would have to be relinquished when that year came.

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