Property and Family in Biblical Law (JSOT Supplement Series) - download pdf or read online

By Raymond Westbrook

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J. ', JBL 57 (1938), p. 75. 3. 'Misharum Material', n. 17. 4. 'Le de"sordre economique suppose" par le rdtablissement de I'dquite"', JESHO 4 (1961), p. 152. 2. Jubilee Laws 47 The misharum acts, therefore, were acts involving an element of desperation which, like price-fixing regulations, attempted to curb the worst effects of an economic condition without approaching the underlying causes thereof. They were, of course, only temporarily effective, as their very repetition proves. The edicts undoubtedly had a political motivation, as widespread enslavement or landlessness as a result of indebtedness could well lead to internal disruption and uprisings in the kingdom,1 but the presence of a religious element should not be underrated.

The Jubilee year in Leviticus 25 is quite clearly universal and simultaneous. The sounding of the trumpet in Lev. 9 is explained by North as a Sudutu, a public proclamation required in ancient law codes as a sort of registration formality prerequisite to the exchange of property administration, the point being that in some cases these proclamations were made together on a certain date, though their execution occurred at particular intervals afterward. But on the regulations for calculating the price of property in accordance with the proximity of the Jubilee, North is forced to admit the contradiction: Lev.

32 which probably refers to a fallow: 'and we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt'. This is also the only reference to remission of debts. Emancipation of slaves is mentioned in Jer. 8-9. There, the population of besieged Jerusalem had agreed to manumit Hebrew slaves, but subsequently enslaved them again. This behaviour led Jeremiah to foretell God's revenge to the king and people: 'Ye have not hearkened unto me, to proclaim liberty (drwr), every man to his brother and every man to his neighbour: behold I proclaim unto you a liberty (drwr) to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine' (v.

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