Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
Leviticus 25:1-7, 20-22
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
1. Loquntus est Jehova ad Mosen in monte Sinai, dicendo:
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
2. Alloquere filios Israel, et dic illis, Quum veneritis in terram quam ego do vobis, sabbathizet terra quiete Jehovae.
3. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
3. Sex annis seminabis agrum tuum, et sex annis putabis vineam tuam, et fructum ejus colliges.
4. But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
4. Septimo autem cessatio quietis erit terrae, sabbathum Jehovae: agrum tuum non seminabis, nec vineam putabis.
5. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
5. Quae sponte gignet terra in messe tua non metes, et uvas possessionis tuae non vindemiabis: annus enim quietis terrae est.
6. And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
6. Sed erunt vobis in cibum, tibi et servo tuo, ancillae, et mercenario, et inquilino tuo qui peregrinatur apud to.
7. And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.
7. Jumentis quoque tuis et pecoribus terrae tuae erit cunctis ejus proventus in cibum.
20. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
20. Quod si dixeritis, Quid edemus anno septimo, si neque seminabimus, nec colligemus fruges nostras?
21. Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
21. Ego mandabo benedictionem meam anno sexto, et edet provenrum tribus annis.
22. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.
22. Seminabitis anno octavo: comedetis tamen e proventu vetere usque ad annum nonum: donec nova nascantur comedetis vetera.
20. And if ye shall say. Men will never be obedient to God’s precepts, unless their distrust of Him is corrected, and will be always ingenious in laying hold of pretexts for disobedience. The difficulty, however, in this matter was a specious excuse for the Jews; for famine might have destroyed them in these two years, since in the seventh year they neither sowed nor reaped; and for reaping they were obliged to wait till the end of the eighth year. Now, whence were they to get seed enough to sow after the land had rested for a whole year? It is not without reason, then, that God delivers them from this doubt, promising them that He will give such abundance in the sixth year as shall suffice for the two following ones. The phrase must be observed, that God would “command His blessing” in an especial manner, and beyond the usual course, so that the land should be twice or thrice more fertile. Hence is suggested to us no ordinary ground of confidence in asking for our daily bread. But this was a special promise, that food should not fail the Jews on account of the Sabbatical year; a manifestation of which God had already given in the desert, when supplied a double portion of manna to those who gathered it on the day before the Sabbath. Now-a-days this inconvenience is avoided by the industry of farmers, who so divide their acres that the land should never lie fallow altogether, but that one part should supply the deficiency of another. This distribution did not obtain with the Jews. Therefore God relieved them from the fear of famine down to the harvest of the eighth year; although He seems at the same time to accustom them to frugality, lest they should waste in intemperance and luxury what He afforded in sufficient abundance to last for two years. To this precept He alludes, when He declares by the Prophets that the land “enjoyed her Sabbaths,” when it had vomited forth its inhabitants, (2Ch 36:21;) for since they had polluted it by violating the Sabbath, so that it groaned as if under a heavy burden, He says that it shall rest for a long continuous period, so as to compensate for the labor of many years.