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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 26

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

Ye shall make you no idols, [ 'ªliylim (H457)] - nothings (see the note at Leviticus 19:4). Idolatry had been previously forbidden (Exodus 20:4-5); but the law was repeated here with reference to some particular forms of it that were very prevalent among the neighbouring nations [ uwpecel (H6459), a carved image of an idol] (see the note at Exodus 20:4).

A standing image, [ uwmatseebaah (H4676)] - i:e., upright pillar (see the note at Genesis 28:18; also Exodus 23:24).

Any image of stone, [ 'eben (H68)] - i:e., an obelisk, inscribed with hieroglyphical and superstitious characters. The former ousted the common and smaller pillars of the Syrians or Canaanites; the latter pointed to the large and elaborate obelisks which the Egyptians worshipped as guardian divinities, or used as stones of adoration to stimulate religious worship. Keil and Delitzsch consider maskith (see the note at Numbers 33:52), here distinguished from pesel, an idol of wood (Isaiah 44:15). The Israelites were enjoined to beware of them.

Verse 2

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Ye shall keep my sabbaths. Very frequently, in this book of the law, the Sabbath and the sanctuary are mentioned as antidotes to idolatry.

Verse 3

If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

If ye walk in my statutes. In that covenant into which God graciously entered with the people of Israel, He promised to bestow upon them a variety of blessings, so long as they continued obedient to Him as their Almighty Ruler; and in their subsequent history that people found every promise amply fulfilled in the enjoyment of plenty, peace, a populous country, and victory over all enemies.

Verse 4

Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

I will give you rain in due season. Rain seldom fell in Judea except at two seasons-the former rain at the end of autumn-the seed time-and the latter rain in spring, before the beginning of harvest (Jeremiah 5:24).

Verse 5

And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

Your threshing shall reach ... The barley harvest in Judea was about the middle of April; the wheat harvest about six weeks after, or in the beginning of June. After the harvest comes the vintage, and fruit-gathering toward the latter end of July. Moses led the Hebrews to believe that, provided they were faithful to God, there would be no idle time between the harvest and vintage, so great would be the increase (see Amos 9:13). This promise would be very animating to a people who had come from a country where, for three months, they were pent up without being able to walk abroad, from the fields being under water.

Verses 6-9

And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 10

And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.

Ye shall eat old store. Their stock of old grain would be still unexhausted and large when the next harvest brought a new supply.

Verses 11-12

And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

I have broken the bands of your yoke - a metaphorical expression to denote their emancipation from Egyptian slavery.

Verse 14

But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;

But if ye will not ... In proportion to the great and manifold privileges bestowed upon the Israelites would be the extent of their national criminality and the severity of their national punishments if they disobeyed; and in this passage a slowly but gradually increasing accumulation of national calamities is denounced, until they culminated in the captivity.

Verse 15

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

Terror, [ behaalaah (H928)] - sickness, disease [Septuagint, aporia], want, distress.

Consumption, [the Septuagint renders this psoora, scab, mange].

And the burning ague - [ haqadachat (H6920), burning fever; Septuagint, ton iktera sfakelizonta tous ofthalmous, the jaundice, disordering the eyes.] Some consider these as symptoms of the same disease-consumption followed by the shivering, burning, and sweating fits that are the usual concomitants of that malady. No certain explanation can be given.

Verse 17

And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 18

And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

Punish you seven times more - i:e., with far more severe and protracted calamities. 'Seven is the number in the divine law with which the idea of remission was ever linked. It is true that we find it as the number of punishment or retribution for evil also (Genesis 4:5; Leviticus 26:18; Leviticus 26:21; Leviticus 26:24; Leviticus 26:28; Deuteronomy 28:23); yet this should not disturb or perplex, rather confirm us in this view, since there lies ever in punishment the idea of restoration of disturbed relations, and so of forgiveness,' (Trench 'On the Par.')

Verse 19

And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:

I will make your heaven as iron. No figures could have been employed to convey a better idea of severe and long-continued famine or of grinding tyranny.

Verses 20-21

And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 22

I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.

I will also send wild beasts. This was one of the four judgments threatened, Ezekiel 14:21: see also 2 Kings 2:24.

Your high ways ... Trade and commerce will be destroyed-freedom and safety will be gone-neither stranger nor native will be found on the roads (Isaiah 33:8). This is an exact picture of the present state of the Holy Land, which has long lain in a state of desolation, brought on by the sins of the ancient Jews (see a list of forty-two public roads which intersected ancient Judea in various directions, contained in Relandi, 'Palaest. Illust.,' tom. public roads which intersected ancient Judea in various directions, contained in Relandi, 'Palaest. Illust.,' tom.

i., p. 415.

Verses 23-25

And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 26

And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

Ten women shall bake ... The bread used in families is usually baked by women, and at home. But sometimes also, in times of scarcity, it is baked in public ovens for want of fuel; and the scarcity predicted here would be so great that one oven would be sufficient to bake as much as ten women used in ordinary occasions to provide for family use; and even this scanty portion of bread would be distributed by weight (Ezekiel 4:16; Hosea 4:10).

Verses 27-28

And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 29

And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.

Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons. The revolting picture was actually exhibited at the siege of Samaria, at the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Lamentations 4:10), and at the destruction of that city by the Romans (see the notes at Deuteronomy 28:1-68.)

Verse 30

And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

I will destroy your high places, [ wªhishmadtiy (H8045)] - I will pluck down (a word of strong meaning, implying utter destruction: cf. Numbers 33:52; Esther 3:6) consecrated enclosures on the tops of mountains, or on little hillocks, raised for practicing the rites of idolatry.

Cut down your images, [ chamaaneeykem (H2553)] - images of the sun. This interpretation is confirmed by the discovery of ten Punic cippi with inscriptions to Baal, (see Gesenius, 'Monum. Phoenic.') According to some, those images were made in the form of chariots (2 Kings 23:11); according to others, they were of a conical form, like small pyramids. Reared in honour of the sun, they were usually placed on a very high situation, to enable the worshippers to have a better view of the rising sun. They were forbidden to the Israelites, and when set up, ordered to be destroyed.

Cast your carcases ... [ giluwleeykem (H1544)] - trunks, blocks, stercorei. Like the statues of idols, which, when broken, lie neglected and contemned, the Jews during the sieges and subsequent captivity often wanted the rites of sepulture.

Verse 31

And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.

I will make your cities waste. This destruction of its numerous and flourishing cities, which was brought upon Judea through the sins of Israel, took place by the forced removal of the people during and long after the captivity. But it is realized to a far greater extent now.

Bring your sanctuaries ... - the tabernacle and temple, as is evident from the tenor of the subsequent clause, in which God announces that He will not accept or regard their sacrifices (cf. Leviticus 5:16; Ecclesiastes 10:1; Joel 2:10; Ephesians 5:2).

Verse 32

And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 33

And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

I will scatter ... - as was done when the elite of the nation were removed into Assyria, and placed in various parts of that kingdom.

Verse 34

Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.

Then shall the land ... A long arrear of Sabbatic years had accumulated through the avarice and apostasy of the Israelites, who had deprived their land of its appointed season of rest. The number of those Sabbatic years seems to have been seventy, as determined by the duration of the captivity. This early prediction is very remarkable, considering that the usual policy of the Assyrian conquerors was to send colonies to cultivate and inhabit their newly acquired provinces.

Verse 35

As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 36

And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.

Upon them that are left alive ... I will send a faintness into their hearts. Everywhere in the East, but especially at Jerusalem, the Jew betrays in his conduct a restless unquiet spirit, as a remorse, which eighteen centuries have not been able to overcome. In presence of the places which accuse him, marked with a brand of reprobation, the Jew of Jerusalem lives only half-breathing with difficulty (Bovet, 'Voyage En Terre Sainte').

Verse 37

And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 38

And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

The land of your enemies ... On the removal of the ten tribes into captivity, they never returned, and all traces of them were lost.

Verse 39

And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 40-45

If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;

If they shall confess ... This passage holds out the gracious promise of divine forgiveness and favour on their repentance, and their happy restoration to their own land, in memory of the covenant made with their fathers, (Romans 2:1-29.)

Verse 46

These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

These are the statutes. It has been thought by some that the last chapter was originally placed after the 25th (Adam Clarke); while others consider that the next chapter was added as an appendix, in consequence of many people being influenced by the promises and threats of the preceding one, to resolve that they would dedicate themselves and their possessions to God (Calmet).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/leviticus-26.html. 1871-8.
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