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The Old Testament's view of Property

“The legislation, which encourages each family’s ownership of land, has contributed to the Western ideal that every family has a right to own property.  The view of land ownership herein, however, is revolutionary.  It does not promote the ownership of private property in a way that allows the rich to amass large tracts of land, displacing the poor, nor does it permit the speculative buying and selling of land that feeds inflation, which in turn increases poverty.  Neither does this manifesto promote a social or common ownership of land.  Instead, this legislation prescribes a classless society in which each family has an inalienable ownership of a plot of land.  It promotes responsible work that attends ownership of property, and at the same time it promotes responsible brotherhood of all Yahweh’s people arising from their faith in Yahweh.  Those who are more prsoperous assist their poorer brothers, raising them to their own level, because they fear Yahweh.  Kinsman helps kinsman, neighbor helps neighbor to face and to overcome economic hardship.  Greed and covetousness are broken.  This wonderful manifesto will continue to feed both the eschatological vision and utopian thinking until the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is fully established.”
--John E. Hartley, The Word Biblical Commentary on Leviticus


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