Each seventh year, by the Mosaic code, was to be kept holy. (Exodus 23:10,11) The commandment is to sow and reap for six years, and to let the land rest on the seventh, "that the poor of thy people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the held shall eat. It is added in (15:1)... that the seventh Year should also be one of release to debtors. (15:1-11) Neither tillage nor cultivation of any sort was to be practiced. The sabbatical year opened in the sabbatical month, and the whole law was to be read every such year, during the feast of Tabernacles, to the assembled people. At the completion of a week of sabbatical years, the sabbatical scale received its completion in the year of jubilee. The constant neglect of this law from the very first was one of the national sins that were punished by the Babylonian captivity. of the observance of the sabbatical year after the captivity we have a proof in 1 Macc. 6:49.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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