Justice, trust and memory

The theology of Jubilee is focused on justice, trust and memory, inspired by the history of God and the Israelites.

The theology of Jubilee is clearly focused on justice, trust and memory.

God is the creator of the universe and he freed Israel from slavery in Egypt and gave them the land freely. The Israelites should keep remembering this and continue to liberate their own enslaved people.

As God is also the owner of the land rather than the people, it was not their right to privatise and commodify it at the expense of the poor. They were to trust God to provide for their immediate needs and for the future of their families. And the rich were to treat creditors fairly and to expect that they would still yield an adequate return. Psalm 112:5 is clear about how we should conduct our relationships here:

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” 

So poverty and debt-slavery, which might keep a Jew under bondage for ever, had to be avoided at all costs. However, we know that this was often ignored which is why the message of Jesus throughout the gospels and of Paul, consistently demands equality and freedom among all peoples before God in both the private home and the public square.