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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 26

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



God commands them to shun idolatry, Leviticus 26:1, keep his sabbaths, and reverence his sanctuary, Leviticus 26:2, and walk in his statutes, Leviticus 26:3; promising plenty, peace, victory, fruitfulness, his tabernacle and presence, Leviticus 26:4-13. Dreadful threatenings against the despisers, haters, and breakers of his commands; he will give them over to diseases, their enemies, drought, pestilence, sword, ramble; they who remain shall fall one upon another, and pine away in their sins, Leviticus 26:14-39.

But if they confess their sins, and are humbled under God’s judgments, God will remember his covenant, and show them favour in their enemies’ land, Leviticus 26:40-45.

These statutes the Lord gave to Israel in Mount Sinai by Moses, Leviticus 26:46.

Verse 1

A standing image, or, pillar, to wit, to worship it, or bow down to it, as it follows. Otherwise this was not simply prohibited, being practised by holy men both before and after this law. Compare Exodus 23:24; Deuteronomy 16:22. So Exodus 20:4. They are forbidden to make images, not simply or for any use, but for worship.

Verse 2

Reverence my sanctuary, by purging and preserving it from all uncleanness, by approaching to it, and managing all the services of it, with reverence, and in such manner only as God hath appointed.

Verse 4

I will give you rain; therefore God placed them not in a land where there were such rivers as Nilus to water it and make it fruitful, but in a land which depended wholly upon the rain of heaven, the key whereof God kept in his own hand, that so he might the more effectually oblige them to obedience, in which their happiness consisted.

Verse 5

Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, i.e. you shall have so plentiful a harvest, that you shall not be able to thresh out your corn in a little time, but that work will last till the vintage.

Verse 6

Neither shall the sword go through your land, i.e. war, as the sword is oft taken, as Numbers 14:3; 2 Samuel 12:10. Otherwise there is the sword of justice. It shall not enter into it, nor have passage through it, much less shall your land be made the seat of war.

Verse 8

Five of you, i.e. a small number; a certain number for an uncertain.

Verse 9

i.e. Actually perform all that I have promised you in my covenant made with you,

Verse 10

Bring forth the old, or, cast out, throw them away, as having no occasion to spend them, or give them to the poor, or even to your cattle, that you may make way for the new corn, which also is so plentiful, that of itself will fill up your barns.

Verse 11

As I have placed it, so I will continue it among you, and not remove it from you, as once I did upon your miscarriage, Exodus 33:7.

Verse 12

I will walk among you, as I have hitherto done, both by my pillar of cloud and fire, and by my tabernacle, which have walked or gone along with you in all your journeys, and stayed among you in all your stations, to protect, conduct, instruct, and comfort you.

Ye shall be my people; I will own you for that peculiar people which I have singled out of the mass of mankind, to bless you here, and to save you hereafter.

Verse 13

With heads lifted up, not pressed down with a yoke. It notes their liberty, security, confidence, and glory. See Exodus 14:8 Numbers 33:3.

Verse 15

i.e. Break your part or conditions of that covenant made between me and you, and thereby discharge me from the blessings promised on my part.

Verse 16

I will even appoint over you; I will give them power over you, that you shall not be able to avoid or resist them. Shall consume the eyes, by the decay of spirits, and affluence of ill humours.

Verse 19

The pride of your power, i.e. your strength, of which you are proud, your numerous and united forces, your kingdom, yea, your ark and sanctuary.

Your earth as brass; the heavens shall yield you no rain, nor the earth fruits.

Verse 20

Your strength shall be spent in vain; ploughing, and sowing, and tilling the ground.

Verse 21

Contrary unto me, or, carelessly or heedlessly with me, or

before me, i.e. so as to be careless and unconcerned whether you please me or offend me. This is opposed to exact and circumspect walking with God, as Abraham did, Genesis 17:1, and all are to do, Ephesians 5:15.

Verse 22

By reason of the fewness of travellers and people, and the terror of wild beasts growing more numerous thereby.

Verse 24

Contrary unto you, or, carelessly with you or towards you, i.e. I will put you out of my care and protection.

Verse 25

The quarrel of my covenant, i.e. my quarrel with you for your breach of your faith and covenant made with me.

Into the hand of the enemy; because those few that shall be left of the pestilence will be unable to defend you in your cities or strong holds.

Verse 26

Broken the staff of your bread; either,

1. By taking away that power and virtue of nourishing which I have put into bread or food, which when I withdraw it will be unable to nourish. Or rather,

2. By sending a famine, or scarcity of bread, which is the staff and support of man’s present life, Psalms 104:15; for so this phrase is commonly used, and elsewhere explained, as Psalms 105:16; Ezekiel 4:16, and so the following words expound it here. Ten women, i.e. ten or many families, for the women took care for the bread and food of all the family. Bread by weight: this is a sign and consequence both of a famine, and of the baking of the bread of several families together in one oven, wherein each family took care to weigh their bread, and to receive the same proportion which they put in. Compare Ezekiel 4:16.

Verse 28

Contrary unto you in fury; or,

in fury of rashness or

carelessness with you or among you, like a raging lion breaking into a multitude of people, and destroying all he meets with promiscuously, or without any distinction, both righteous and wicked together, as is threatened Ezekiel 21:3. Or, in fury of contrariety, or meeting with you, or against you, like a man that meets his enemy in the fury of battle.

Verse 29

Through extreme hunger. See Lamentations 4:10.

Verse 30

Your high places, in which you will sacrifice after the manner of the heathens. See Leviticus 19:26; Numbers 33:52.

Your images; or, your images of the sun, made for the honour and worshipping of the sun, and having some resemblance to it. See 2 Chronicles 34:7. Under this one kind of idolatry, famous and frequent in those times and places, he contains all the rest. The carcasses of your idols; so he calls them, either to signify that their idols, how specious soever or glorious in their eyes, were in truth but lifeless and contemptible carcasses, having eyes, but see not, &c., Psalms 115:5, or to show that their idols should be so far from helping them, that they should be thrown down and broken with them, and both should lie together in a forlorn and loathsome state.

Verse 31

Your sanctuaries; either,

1. God’s sanctuary, called sanctuaries here, as also Psalms 73:17; Psalms 74:7; Jeremiah 51:51; Ezekiel 28:18, because there were divers apartments in it, each of which was a sanctuary, or, which is all one, a holy place, as they are severally called. And your emphatically, not mine, for I disown and abhor it, and all the services you do in it, because you have defiled it. Or,

2. The temples built by you to idols, therefore called

their sanctuaries, in opposition to God’s. Or,

3. Your synagogues. But the first is most probable, because he speaks of the place where they used to offer their sweet odours here following.

I will not smell, i.e. not own or accept them. See Genesis 8:21; Isaiah 1:11, &c.

Of your sweet odours; either of the incense, or of your sacrifices, which when offered with faith and obedience, are very sweet and acceptable to me.

Verse 32

Having driven you out and possessed your places. See Lamentations 5:2.

Verse 33

The sword shall follow you into strange lands, and you shall have no rest there.

Verse 34


1. Because it shall be rid of you, who were the unprofitable and heavy burdens thereof, under whom it in a manner groaned. Or rather,

2. Because it shall now enjoy those sabbatical years of rest from tillage, which you through covetousness ofttimes would not give it, as the next verse informs us, though God commanded it, Leviticus 25:4.

Verse 36

Faintness: the word notes a tenderness and softness of mind, whereby they are disenabled from bearing the present miseries, and are in continual dread of further and sorer miseries.

Verse 37

They shall fall one upon another, as soldiers use to do when their ranks are broken, and they forced to flee away hastily from their pursuers.

When non pursueth; your guilt and fear causing you to imagine that they do pursue you when indeed they do not.

Verse 39

Shall pine away, be consumed and melt away by degrees, through diseases, oppressions, griefs, and manifold miseries.

Verse 40

If they shall confess, Heb. And they shall confess, where our translation and many others understand the particle if, which is also wanting and understood, Exodus 4:23; Malachi 1:2; Malachi 3:8. So here, And if they shall confess, &c.

But there seems no necessity of any such supplement, but these and the following words may be taken as they lie in their plain and proper signification, to this purpose, Leviticus 26:40, And through the heaviness and extraordinariness of their affliction, their consciences will force them to confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they have trespassed against me, i.e. with their prevarication with me and defection from me to idolatry, which by way of eminency he calls their trespass;

and that also they have walked contrary to me, Leviticus 26:41, and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; i.e. that they are not come into these calamities by chance, nor by the misfortune of war, but by my just judgment upon them. All which confession is no more than Pharaoh made in his distresses, and than hypocrites in their affliction use to make. And therefore he adds, if then their uncircumcised, i.e. impure, carnal, profane, and impenitent hearts be humbled, i.e. subdued, purged, reformed; if to this confession they add sincere humiliation and reformation, I will do what follows.

Verse 41

The Hebrew word avou commonly signifies iniquity, but it is oft used for

the punishment of iniquity, as here and 1 Samuel 28:10; Psalms 31:10; Isaiah 53:6,Isaiah 53:11. The meaning is, if they sincerely acknowledge the righteousness of God, and their own wickedness, and patiently submit to his correcting hand, and would rather be in their present suffering condition than in their former sinful, though prosperous estate; if with David they are ready to say, it is good for them that they are afflicted, that they may learn God’s statutes, and obedience to them for the future, which is a good evidence of true repentance.

Verse 42

I will remember my covenant, to wit, so as to perform it, and make good all that I have promised in it. For words of knowledge or remembrance in Scripture do most commonly connote affection and kindness; of which there are many instances, some given before, and more hereafter.

I will remember the land, which now seems to be forgotten, and neglected, and despised, as if I had never chosen it to be the peculiar place of my presence and blessing.

Verse 44

Neither the desperateness of their condition, nor the greatness of their sins, shall make me wholly make void my covenant with them and their ancestors, but I will in due time remember them for good, and for my covenant’s sake return to them in mercy. From this place the Jews take great comfort, and assure themselves of deliverance out of their present servitude and misery. And from this, and such other places, St. Paul concludes that the Israelitish nation, though then rejected and ruined, should be gathered again and restored.

Verse 45

For their sakes, or rather, to or for them, i.e. for their good or benefit; for surely, if one considers what is said before concerning the wickedness of this people, he cannot say this deliverance was given them for their sakes, but must rather say with the prophet, Ezekiel 36:22,Ezekiel 36:32, not for your sake, O house of Israel, &c.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Leviticus 26". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/leviticus-26.html. 1685.
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