Kessler, Rainer, Utopie und Grenzen. Schabbatjahr und Jobeljahr in Lev 25: BiKi 69, 2014, 86–91.
Abstract: K. reads Leviticus 25 as a visionary concept to overcome debt overload and impoverishment. The basic rhythm is marked by the sequence of six years plus one. The sabbatical year (every seventh year) is a “Sabbath for Yahweh,” i.e., rest for the land (a fallow year) and rest for God. While the sabbatical year was practiced at certain times in the history of Israel and Judah, the Jubilee year (the year after seven times seven years) is a literary construct providing liberation for people fallen in debt slavery and for property sold to pay debts off. After 49 years all property (real estate) which was sold shall return to its original owner. People who had to sell their workforce and fell into debt slavery shall be released and return to their own family. While the Jubilee was never set into practice, its theological idea was influential even for Christianity.
Mayshar, Joram, Who Was the Toshav?: JBL 133, 2014, 225–246.
Published abstract: The term תושב (tôšāb; toshav) appears in the Bible fourteen times, mostly in passages associated with the Holiness Code (H). It is typically interpreted as referring to an alien who resides in a foreign country on a long-term basis. I propose, instead, that it had an economic meaning, referring to “a rent-paying (farming) tenant,” that is, someone who cultivates land that he does not own and pays rent to the landlord. In the course of supporting this interpretation, I offer a framework for understanding the social structure envisioned by H and for appreciating H’s innovative social aspirations.
Meyer, Esias E., Returning to an Empty Land: Revisiting my Old Argument about the Jubilee: OTE 27, 2014, 502–519.
Published abstract: In this article, M. engages with his 2003 monograph on the biblical Jubilee, with a focus on Leviticus 25 and 26. In 2003, M. argued that Leviticus is a text concerning the Judean elite who are about to return from exile and who wanted their land back, an argument in support of which he adduced the “myth of the empty land” as featured in Leviticus 26, where the land is represented as lying empty during exile and waiting for the exiles to repopulate it. On historical-critical grounds, M. now rejects the first part of his earlier claim about Leviticus 25. At the same time, he adduces additional support for the “myth of the empty land” part of his earlier argument by reference to current historical-critical debates about the portrayal of the land in the P materials and the Holiness Code.
Meyer, Esias E., People and Land in the Holiness Code. Who is Yhwh’s Favourite?: OTE 28, 2015, 433–450.
Adapted from published abstract: M.’s article focuses on how the land (ʾereṣ) is personified in the Holiness Code. It starts by describing the various “countries” portrayed in the Code and then discusses all It instances in the Code where land functions as the subject of a verb (Lev 18:25, 27, 28; 19:29; 20:22; 25:2, 19; 26:4, 20, 34, 38, 40). The land at times seems close to being a human character in its “becoming defiled,” “vomiting,” “acting like a prostitute,” “observing the Sabbath,” “giving,” and “enjoying”—all verbs which are usually associated with human actions. In light of these texts, M. then attempts to describe the relationship among the land, Yhwh, and the Code’s addressees. In his analysis, it becomes clear that in the Code there is a closer relationship between Yhwh and the land than there is between Yhwh and the addressees. Finally, M. seeks to engage with N. Habel’s ecojustice principles, showing that the authors of the Code may have been familiar with certain of these.