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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 26

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2


Verses 1, 2:

These verses summarize the first four of the Ten Commandments, Ex 20:1-10.

"Idols," Will, "a thing of nought," denoting those things which the heathen substituted for the true God, see 1Co 8:4-6. The idols were represented in three forms, called "images," maskith:

I. Graven image, a carved wooden pillar, such as a totem pole;

2. Standing image, a sacred pillar, obelisk, or stele;

3. Image of stone, a sculptured stone idol.

"To bow down unto (toward) it," means to worship the image, or to worship before the image as a representative of a deity.

Verse 2 is an exact repetition of Le 19:30.

Verses 3-13

Verses 3-13:

The text enumerates the blessings Jehovah would bestow upon Israel for their obedience. Compare De 28:1-14; Eze 34:20-31; Am 9:13; Jos 23:10. These blessings were to be upon both person and possession:

1. Favorable seasons, and bountiful harvests. So abundant would be the harvest that the previous year’s harvest would have to be removed from storage to make way for the new.

2. Peace in the land:

(1) safety from wild beasts;

(2) protection from and conquest over enemies.

3. God’s Presence to dwell among them.

The assurance of this promise: God’s deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery, to become His very own.

"Bands of your yoke" refers to the symbolism of the yoke worn by oxen. This was made of one piece of wood laid across the oxen’s neck. This kept them level with each other, and was the means by which they were attached to the wagon tongue. It was an emblem of the oppressive slavery they endured, and from which Jehovah liberated them.

This contrasts with the "yoke" of Jesus, Mt 11:28-30.

Verses 14-20

Verses 14-39 list the degrees of punishment God promised to send upon the disobedient. Compare with De 28:15-68.

The purpose of this punishment: to turn the people away from their sins and back to God, compare Heb 12:5-13; Pr 3:11, 12. Each succeeding degree of punishment is greater and more intense than the preceding one. This shows that failure to repent and forsake sin results in greater judgment.

Verses 14-20 list the first two of these degrees.

1. The first degree, consisting of two stages:

(1) Physical illness,

(a) "Terror," behalah, "trouble, haste."

(b) "Consumption," schachepheth, "wasting away."

(c) "Burning ague," qaddachath, "fever."

(2) Enemies, who would:

(a) oppress them by destroying their crops before they could reap and enjoy the harvest, and

(b) would subdue and oppress them and cause them to be afraid.

If this punishment failed to turn the rebellious one back to God, then He would take other, sterner measures.

2. The second degree: withholding of rain in the appropriate season. This would cause the heavens to seem to be as iron, and the fields to be as brass (copper). Without rain, no crops would grow, either of grain, orchard, or vineyard.

Verses 21-26

Verses 21-26:

3. The third degree of punishment: infestation of the land by wild, ravenous beasts, who would attack and slay both men and livestock, see 2 Kings 17:25.

If they still failed to repent and return to God, He would send upon them still other, more destructive measures.

4. The fourth degree, consisting of three stages:

(1) Invasion by foreign armies, and the result siege of cities;

(2) Famine in the fortified cities, with the resulting "pestilence," deber, "plague;"

(3) Scarcity of food, requiring strict rationing. See Eze 5:12 ; 4:16, 17.

Verses 27-35

Verses 27-35:

5. Punish in the fifth degree, consisted of:

(1) Cannibalism, literally fulfilled in the city of Samaria, 2 Kings 6:28, and in Jerusalem in the siege by the Chaldeans, La 2:20; 4:10. History records the same horrible deed in the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans;

(2) Destruction of the sanctuaries of worship;

(3) Refusal of God to accept their offerings;

(4) Desolation of the land, by the hand of invading armies; (5) Scattering of Israel among the heathen, see Jer 9:16.

The desolation of the Land was one of the consequences of Israel’s neglect of the sabbatical year, 2Ch 36:21.

Verses 36-39

Verses 36-39:

6. The final punishment, to come upon the survivors of the previous judgments, who are taken captive into exile:

(1) An unreasonable and pervasive fear, see Eze 21:7;

(2) Powerless before their enemies, as subject peoples;

(3) Consumed in the land of their enemies, perhaps referring to the numerous graves filled by exiled Israelis during their exile in foreign lands. The Holocaust of World War II in the gas chambers and ovens of Dachau, Buchenwald, and other extermination camps, is dramatic evidence of the tragic fulfillment of this prophecy.

(4) The overwhelming sorrow of dispersed Israel, in the land of their exile, as they yearn for their own Land.

Verses 40-46

Verses 40-46:

God is not only the God of justice, He is also the God of mercy. He pardons always in response to confession, repentance, and forsaking of sin. He promised this to Israel, at any stage in her rebellion against Him. The elements of pardon:

1. Confession. This means more than listing a catalog of sin. It means to say the same word, to agree with God regarding one’s conduct. When one sins, he in effect says, "This is good; this is the way to fulfill my needs." Confession means that he agrees with God, that his sin is not good, and it is not the way to fulfill his needs. God promises forgiveness and cleansing to the one who confesses (agrees with Him) his sins, 1Jo 1:7-10.

2. Repentance. This is a change of mindset, direction, attitude. It means that one views sin as God sees it. It means that one does not rejoice in sin, but is genuinely sorrowful for the fact that he has sinned.

God promised that when rebellious Israel confessed and repented of their sin, they would then know that their chastening and suffering was God’s punishment for their sin. This would then produce humility in them, and God could again bestow His grace, Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5, 6.

God’s blessings upon repentant Israel came because of His covenant with Israel’s ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is an everlasting covenant of grace, not of works, Ro 4:16.

Verse 46 is the conclusion of the main body of Leviticus, the final Le being an addition, on the subject of vows.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-26.html. 1985.
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