The Sabbath Year and Socio-Economic Issues in Lev 25:2–7

How to Cite

Mtshiselwa, N. (2023). The Sabbath Year and Socio-Economic Issues in Lev 25:2–7. Old Testament Essays, 36(2), 384–411. Retrieved from


Leviticus 25:2–7 has its closest parallel in the Pentateuchal and other post-exilic texts, namely Exod 23:10–11; Deut 11:8–17; 15:7–18 and Neh 5; 9:32–37 and 13. The texts are about the Sabbath year, YHWH, the land and socio-economic issues. A convincing consensus on the directionality of influence and dependence between Lev 25:2–7 and these texts is hardly reached. In addition, there is room for further research on the function and significance of Lev 25:2–7. The article argues that inner-biblical exegesis shows that Lev 25:2–7 depended on some Pentateuchal texts and served to legitimise the Sabbath tradition and to address socio-economic issues in the Persian period. In addition, the text influenced the production of some texts in the book of Nehemiah. First, the essay considers the grammatical features, style and content of Lev 25:2–7. Second, the article discusses the dating of the Pentateuchal scribal activity with specific focus on the Covenant Code (CC), versions of Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code (H). Third, the reception of Exod 23:10–11 and Deut 11:8–17; 15:7–18 in Lev 25:2–7 is examined. Lastly, the study probes the reception of Lev 25:2–7 in Neh 5; 9:32–37; and 13 and submits that Lev 25:2–7 depended on earlier Pentateuchal texts and subsequently influenced post-exilic texts on the subject of the Sabbath year in order to address the socio-economic issues of the time.


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