Leviticus 25 explains how the nation is to function when they settle into the promised land. First there are laws about treating the land properly so that the soil continues produce crops. They were to work the land for six years “but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 25:4). This policy of ploughing a field for six years then letting it rest for the seventh made good sense. The soil could rejuvenate. Only in recent generations have farmers used lots of chemical fertilisers to increase productivity, but some have made mistakes, trying to force too much production and have ruined the land.

The chapter continues that after seven cycles of seven, making 49 years, the 50th year was to be a Jubilee Year, a special year when “each of you shall return to his property” (Leviticus 25:13). God said, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity for the land is mine” (Leviticus 25:23).

When Israel arrive in the promised land the land will be divided into territories for each tribe. Each territory is sub-divided into land for families belonging to the tribe, and then again for heads of households and individuals. If land was sold this the titled reverted at the next Jubilee Year. We read of various laws to help those who became poor, summed up in verse 46 “you shall not rule over one another ruthlessly”.

The law was very good, but often the people were not, and did not put it into practice very well. God addresses this failure through the prophets. In Isaiah we read, “Woe to those who join house to house and add field to field” (Isaiah 5:8). The spirit of capitalism as practiced in much of the world now is not good; it cultivates a spirit of greed in building up more and more. But God’s principle for Israel was, “the land is mine”. They were the tenants to whom He had let it out. Surely the same will apply in the Kingdom of God (note Luke 18:25.)