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Leviticus 26: 3-16; 40-45 Notes

EW: Lev. 26:3-16, 40-45

A. Blessings on obedient Israel.

2. (26:3-8) Blessings on obedient Israel: plentiful harvests, peace, victory in battle.

'If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

a. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season: God was determined to reveal Himself to the world through Israel, either by making them so blessed, the world would know only God could have blessed them so; or by making them so cursed, that only God could have cursed them and yet cause them to still survive. The choice was up to Israel.

i. "Leviticus 26 deals with the subject of blessings and cursings, a common feature of ancient Near Eastern treaty covenants." (Rooker)

b. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: This clearly speaks of a Divine blessing. These remarkable promises have a supernatural element.

i. The principle behind that particular blessing is remarkable; the ratio of five to one hundred is one routing twenty, but the ratio of one hundred to ten thousand is one routing one hundred.

ii. Gideon's 300 defeated 135,000 Midianites; Jonathan and his armorbearer alone defeated a Philistine army. In 2 Kings 7, God sent the sound of a mighty army to the camp of the Syrians laying siege to the city of Samaria (2 Kings 7:6-7). From that story, you could say that God used four men (lepers!) to defeat a Syrian army of many thousands.

3. (26:9-13) Blessings on obedient Israel: abundance, the presence of God, freedom.

For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new. I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

a. And confirm My covenant with you: As a literary form, this chapter is similar to ancient treaties between a king and his people; this is God the king, making a covenant with His people, Israel.

i. "In the ancient Near East it was customary for legal treaties to conclude with passages containing blessings upon those who observed the enactments, and curses upon those who did not." (Harrison)

b. I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people: The best promises are saved for last: First, that Israel would enjoy a special relationship with God. If not for this, all the material blessings described previously would be empty.

i. When Israel walked after the LORD, these blessings were real; one example of this is when the queen of Sheba came to Solomon and saw a nation so blessed, she knew it had to be of God (1 Kings 10:1-13).

ii. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people: The Apostle Paul quoted this line in 2 Corinthians 6:16 to explain what it means for the church to be God's temple, His dwelling place.

c. I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright: This final blessing speaks of freedom and dignity. This passage almost feels like the New Testament, God proclaims the liberty of His people and then invites them to walk in it.

i. "Thus the text offers the image of a slave bowed by an enormous burden. He suddenly has the weight removed, which expresses the establishment of Israel's special relationship with God." (Rooker)

B. Curses on disobedient Israel.

1. (26:14-17) Disobedient Israel will be cursed with fear and weakness.

'But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.

a. If you do not obey Me: Here begins the section where God promises to curse a disobedient Israel. To fail to obey God and to observe His commandments is to despise His word and to abhor His word (statutes, judgments). For Israel, it was to break the covenant they made with Yahweh (Exodus 24:1-8).

i. The section on curses is twice as long as the section on blessings. This speaks to human nature, which is more motivated by the fear of threats than by the promises of blessing.

b. I will even appoint terror over you: God promised to bring a sense of terror over a disobedient Israel. They would be afflicted with wasting disease and fever. Because God would set His face against them, they would be defeated in battle. They would be so confused and afraid that they would flee when no one pursues.

C. The promise of restoration on repentant Israel.

1. (26:40-42) Restoration for a humble and repentant Israel.

'But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt-then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.

a. If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers: This displays the greatness of God's mercy. Despite how cursed Israel might be, God would always remember, receive, and bless a repentant Israel. This would involve recognition of their sin, of God's righteous discipline (I also have walked contrary to them), and understanding they were as bad as the Gentiles (their uncircumcised hearts). They would have to be humbled to accept their guilt.

i. That I also have walked contrary to them: "They must recognize that their punishment is deserved before restoration and forgiveness can be experienced." (Rooker)

b. Then I will remember My covenant with Jacob: God promised to remember the covenant He made with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. Remembering the covenant, God would be quick to restore and bless repentant Israel. God would also remember the land - implying that He would restore it to Israel.

i. "It is most instructive in the giving of the law, to observe how the declension and wandering of the people was evidently known to the King, and that notwithstanding this fact, these promises of final restoration were made. Thus, while human responsibility is most solemnly enforced, it is done in such a way as to create the conviction that the love of Go

2. (26:43-45) The unbreakable nature of God's covenant with Israel.

The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes. Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.'"

a. The land also shall be left empty by them: Even when Israel would be in exile, God would not cast them off. God would remain ready to restore Israel when they turned back to Him.

b. When they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them: The mercy and kindness of God are remarkable. He promised that even when Israel was at their worst, God would not break His covenant with them. God redeemed Israel out of the land of Egypt, and He did it in the sight of the nations. Yahweh would not give up on His covenant people.

i. "This restoration upon repentance did in fact occur when the Israelites repented and turned to God while in exile in Babylon (Daniel 9:1-19). In fact Leviticus 26:32-45 should be understood as a preview of the history of Israel that includes the experiences of apostasy, exile, and restoration." (Rooker)

ii. "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." (Poole)

Lev. 26:3-16, 40-45 PULPIT COMMENTARIES

Leviticus 26:3: If ye walk in my statutes. The free will of man is recognized equally with God's controlling power.

Leviticus 26:4-6: These verses appear to have been in the mind, not of Joel only, as already pointed out, but of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:20-31). In Leviticus we find, Then I will give you rain in due season; in Ezekiel, "And I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.'' In Leviticus, And the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit; in Ezekiel, "And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth her increase." In Leviticus, Ye shall dwell in your land safely; in Ezekiel, "They shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods." In Leviticus, And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land; in Ezekiel, "And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land ... . And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid." The promise, Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time, is similar to that in the prophet Amos, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed" (Amos 9:13).

Leviticus 26:8; And five of you shall chase an hundred. Cf. Joshua 23:10, "One man of you shall chase a thousand." For examples, see Judges 3:31; Jdg 15:15; 1 Samuel 14:6-16; 2 Samuel 23:8.

Leviticus 26:10; Ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. The provisions of the past year would be so abundant that they would have to be removed to make place for the new stores.

Leviticus 26:27-33: Punishment in the fifth degree. Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. We find that this threat was fulfilled in Samaria (2 Kings 6:28), and in Jerusalem at the time both of the earlier siege by the Chaldaeans, and of the later siege by the Romans. And I will destroy your high places. By high places is meant the tops of hills or eminences chosen for worship, whether of Jehovah (see Judges 6:26; 1Ki 3:2; 2 Kings 12:3; 1 Chronicles 21:26), or of false gods. The high places intended hero are the spots where the "sun-images" were erected (see 2 Chronicles 14:5; Isaiah 17:8; Ezekiel 6:4)-and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols-that is, they should roll in the dust together. And I will make your cities waste-as Samaria and Jerusalem-and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation,-by the sanctuaries, which are to be desolated, is meant all the consecrated things: the holy of holies, the holy place, the court, the ark, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt sacrifice-and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours-so in Jeremiah 6:20, "To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet" (cf. Isaiah 1:11-15). And I will bring the land into desolation (cf. Jeremiah 9:11): and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it (cf. Ezekiel 5:15). And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you. See Jeremiah 9:16, "I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them."

Leviticus 26:11

And I will set my tabernacle among you. This was fulfilled, spiritually, as shown to St. John in his vision of the new Jerusalem: "I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God"

(Revelation 21:3). And my soul shall not abhor you. The result of God's abhorrence being his rejection of those whom he abhors (see Le John 20:23).

Leviticus 26:12: And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. These words are quoted by St. Paul as a ground of the holiness required of God's people (2 Corinthians 6:16).

Leviticus 26:13: And I have broken the bands of your yoke. This expression, used also in the parallel passage of Ezekiel above referred to (Ezekiel 34:27), and Jeremiah 27:2 receives an illustration from the ancient method of harnessing oxen, still kept up in the East and South. The band means the straight piece of wood laid across the necks of the oxen, by which their heads are fastened together to keep them level with each other, and by which they are attached to the pole of the wagon. The single collars worn by horses in more northern countries have not the same oppressive effect.

Leviticus 26:14-17: Punishment in its first degree. Terror, consumption,-that is, wasting-and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart:-a proverbial expression for great distress (see 1 Samuel 2:33)-and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it (see Jeremiah 5:17, and Micah 6:15, "Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil")... and ye shall be slain before your enemies (as took place often in their after history, see Judges 2:14; Judges 3:8; Judges 4:2); they that hate you shall reign-that is, rule-over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

Lev. 26:3-16, 40-45 Extra Commentary

Verses 3-13: There are three divisions of blessings (verses 4, 6, 11), and each is prefaced with "I will give". They include material prosperity (verses 3-5), victory over the nation's enemies (verses 6-9), the assurance of God's presence in the land (verses 11-12), and the dignity of personal freedom (verse 13). The mention of God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt would be a guarantee that the great King who initiated the covenant with His people would be able to perform all that He promised. The assurance of God's presence encouraged Moses in Exodus chapters 3 and 6 and was a source of strength for many generations (Isa. 11:1-16; Ezek. 36:28; 37:24-27; see Matt. 28:20 and Hebrews 13:8).

Leviticus 26:3 "If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;"

Both moral, ceremonial, and judicial, which had been delivered unto them, and now completely recorded in this and the preceding book. For what follows in the two next are chiefly repetitions of what are contained in these.

Leviticus 26:4 "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."

Among Yahweh's blessings if the Israelites walked in His ways would be "rain". Agrarian Israel would be dependent on rainfall from heaven rather than a great river, as Egypt was on the Nile.

If the rains did not come at the right times, the people experienced crop failure and famine (compare 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18).

Everyone wants to receive the blessings of God, but few want to admit that there is a part we each have to pay, to receive these blessings. The "if" (in verse 3 above), hinges on a great deal. You might even say, that life and death hinge on that "if". Blessings if you keep them, and curses if you do not. I can just hear some of you saying right now, but we are not under the law. We are not, but after we receive the gift of salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must walk in that state of being saved. We cannot choose to go back into the world. Notice in the verse above, "walk in my statutes". You see, the believers' life is a walk. Just as these of the physical house of Israel must walk keeping God's statutes, we must walk in the salvation we have received. We read so much today about not having to keep the commandments of God to be saved. Look with me at a few New Testament Scriptures, which all say that we must keep His commandments.

Matthew 19:17 "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

1 John 3:22 "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

1 John 5:2 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments."

There are many more, but I will give just one more.

Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."

Notice in the verse above from Leviticus, just what some of these blessings are. It will rain at the right time and just the right amount. You will have a bountiful harvest of not only the fields, but of fruit as well. Looking at that spiritually shows me that the fruit of the spirit as well, will be abundant in your life.

Leviticus 26:5 "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."

Signifying that there should be such plentiful harvests of barley and wheat. The first of which began in March, as would employ them in threshing them out unto the time of vintage, which may be supposed to, be in the month of July. For on the twenty ninth of Sivan, which was about the middle of June, was the time of the first ripe grapes, as appears (see notes on Num. 13:20). And that they should have such quantities of grapes on their vines, as would employ them in gathering and pressing them until seedtime. Which was usually in October (see Amos 9:13).

"And ye shall eat your bread to the full": Which is put for all provisions. And the meaning is, they should have plenty of food, eat full meals. Or however, what they ate, whether little or much, should be satisfying and refreshing to them, having it with a divine blessing.
"And dwell in your land safely": Would have no need to go out of it into other lands for the sake of food, and would be in no danger from enemies invading them and carrying off their substance. Plenty without safety would not be so great a blessing as with it, since, though they had it, they might be deprived of it, wherefore security from enemies is promised.

We see in this that the harvest will be so great, that they will just have time to get in all the harvest, before it is time to plant again. There will be a tremendous abundance of food. Look in Egypt when Joseph did exactly what God had told him to do, there was a bountiful abundance of food in Egypt, when all the surrounding countries were starving. Obedience to God, brings bountiful blessings then or now. Notice the statement, "dwell in your land safely"
Proverbs 16:7 "When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."

Verses 6-10: After promising abundant food (in 26:4-5), God promised a time of "peace and protection, both from natural predators and human enemies.

Leviticus 26:6 "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."

"Evil beasts" Dangerous animals such as lions and bears existed in that area. Joseph's brothers claimed that such an animal had killed him (Gen. 37:20).

This peace spoken of here, can only come from the King of Peace. This peace, is freedom from fear of people or animals. There will be no terror by night or day. Faith is the opposite of fear. If we have faith in God and His Word, it brings perfect peace. When there is no war, then men have more time for hunting wild beasts. The world today needs to see the last part of this come true. There will be no war. Jesus said it the best in the next Scripture.

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The only real peace, then or now, is in God.

Leviticus 26:7 "And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword."

"Chase your enemies": God provided victories repeatedly in the conquest of Canaan (compare Joshua chapters 8-12).

Leviticus 26:8 "And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword."

Which, had it been in proportion to the other number, should have been two thousand, as in (Deut. 32:30), where there is a proportion observed. This is only a proverbial expression, signifying that a very few, under the blessing of divine Providence, should get the advantage over a large number, and oblige them to retire. And pursue them closely: instances we have of large bodies of the enemy being defeated by a small number of Israelites (Judges 7:21), and even many by a single person or two (1 Sam. 14:13).

"And your enemies shall fall before you by the sword" (see notes on Lev. 26:7).

The enemy will run from them, because the enemy cannot fight them and God too. The enemy will be well aware that this type of victory is from God.

Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee."

The protection here is supernatural. The enemy knows it cannot win against God, so they run.

Leviticus 26:9 "For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you."

"Make you fruitful, and multiply you ... establish my covenant with you": What God commanded at Creation and repeated after the Flood was contained in the covenant promise of seed (Gen. 12:1-3), which He will fulfill to the nation of Israel as promised to Abraham (Gen 15:5-6).

A covenant is more than just an agreement. A covenant is made by passing through the opening between an animal cut in two. So a covenant is sealed with blood. The "if", we spoke of earlier, has been explained in detail. God will keep his side of the agreement, "if" the people keep their side of the bargain. Blessings come from obedience to God. One of the blessings they were to receive, was children. We see above, they will have many children. We have mentioned in these lessons before, that the Hebrews thought it to be a curse not to have children.

Leviticus 26:10 "And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new."

What is very old, corn of three years old, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it. Such plenty should they have that it
would be so long consuming.

"And bring forth the old because of the new": Out of their barns and granaries, to make room for the new, which they should have great quantities of, and scarce know where to put them. And therefore, should empty their treasures and garners of the old, and fill them with new. Or they should bring them forth out of their barns into their houses, to make use of themselves. Or into their markets to expose to sale, being under no temptation to withhold against a time of scarcity in order to make more of it (see Prov. 11:26). Now all these temporal blessings promised may be emblems of spiritual things, and might be so understood by such who were spiritually enlightened. As of the rain of divine grace, and the blessings of it, and of the doctrines of the Gospel, sometimes compared thereunto (Deut. 32:2). And of great fruitfulness in grace and good works, and of internal peace in the minds of good men, and of their safety and security from spiritual enemies. Of fullness of spiritual provisions, even of things new and old, and which are laid up for them (SOS 7:13). Thus, promises of a spiritual nature more manifestly follow.

Verses 11-13: God's covenant promise to His people included His presence among them (Exodus 6:2-9), visually represented by the "tabernacle" (Rev. 21:3).

Leviticus 26:11 "And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you."

Which God had directed them to make, and they had made, and also erected. But here he promises to fix and establish it among them, that so it might continue as a place for the public worship of him. And where he would take up his residence, and grant them his presence. So the Targum of Jonathan, "I will put the Shekinah of my glory among you."

"And my soul shall not abhor you": Though in themselves, and because of their sins, loathsome and abominable. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan are, "my Word shall not abhor you.'' And the whole may have respect to Christ, the Word made flesh, and tabernacling among them. The tabernacle being a type and emblem of the human nature of Christ, in which the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, and is the true tabernacle which God pitched and not man (John 1:14).

In (verse 10 above), God promised that before their food from the last year is gone, they will have another bountiful harvest. God promised also to tabernacle with them, if they would follow His commandments.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."

God's desire is to fellowship with mankind, but He is holy. If we are to fellowship with Him, we must be holy too.

Leviticus 26:12 "And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."

"Your God ... my people": The promise of an intimate covenant relationship with the God of the universe is given (compare 2 Cor. 6:16).

We have been studying in the last lesson of the blessings they would receive if they walked in God's statutes and kept His commandments. The presence of God has always been apparent where people love and follow God. One of the greatest promises (in my opinion), is the fact that He will be their God. If we keep His commandments, He will be our God. The following two Scriptures tell the wonderful relationship that a true believer has with God.

Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

Galatians 4:6 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

Not only, will God walk with us and be our God, but we are actually accepted into His family as His adopted children. Notice (in verse 12 above), that He is not only our God, but we are His people. I have said it before, but I think it is hard to separate Physical Israel which (verse 12), is speaking to, and spiritual Israel which is all believers in Christ.

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Leviticus 26:13 "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."

Who, having done that, was able to fulfil the above promises. And which may be considered as an earnest and pledge of them, as well as be a motive to the Israelites. And an obligation upon them to obey the commandments of God, and walk in his statutes.

"That ye should not be their bondmen": This was the end of their being brought out of Egypt, that they might be no longer in a state of bondage to the Egyptians. Nor to any other, but to serve the Lord their God, by whom they were delivered. As those who are redeemed by Christ from worse than Egyptian bondage. From sin, Satan, and the law, are redeemed. That they might not be the servants of any, but be a peculiar people, zealous of good works to serve the Lord Christ.

"And I have broken the bands of your yoke": Which fastened it on their shoulders, that is, set them at full liberty, from the yoke of all their enemies. Particularly the Egyptians, who made their lives bitter in hard bondage, making the yoke of it heavy upon them. As Christ has broken the yoke of spiritual enemies from off the shoulders and necks of his people (Isa. 10:27).

"And made you go upright": Who before stooped under the yoke, as well as were of dejected countenances. But now were made to walk in an erect stature, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra. Or in liberty, as Onkelos (see Gal. 5:1); and with heads lifted up and countenances cheerful.

We went into this (in chapter 12 of Leviticus), how the man child was born on the way to the Promised Land. The man child represents the physical house of Israel and also, the law that was given unto them. This journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, birthed the nation of Israel as the people of God. They had nothing to do with the freedom from being bondmen in Egypt. God was their deliverer.

In (verses 13-39), the exile of the people is predicted. In 722 B.C., the 10 northern tribes went into captivity to be followed by Judah in 586 B.C. (compare 2 Chron. 36:20-21).

Verses 14-39: These punishments will repay disobedience. This section of curses follows the pattern of the ancient Near Eastern treaties, in that it was much larger in number than the enumerated blessings. The "terror" would consist of "consumption", a general term that might include dysentery, cholera, typhoid fever, typhus fever, malaria, tuberculosis and various types of cancer. "The burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart" (causes life to wane), may be a reference to gonorrheal blindness. "Then I will punish your seven times more for your sins" indicates that these judgments are looked upon as God's discipline (Deut. 8:5; Psalms 38:1; 94:12; Prov. 3:11-12; Jer. 30:11; 31:18; Zeph. 3:2, 7; Heb. 12:5-11).

Amos laments that, despite judgments of famine and drought, disease and defeat, "Yet have ye not returned unto me" (Amos 4:6, 8-11). The reference to "seven times" (verses 18, 21, 24, 28), seems to be a round number for repeated punishments (compare Psalms 79:12; Prov. 24:16; Isa. 4:1).

The book of Revelation portrays a series of sevenfold judgments overtaking the world in the last days (Rev. chapters 5-16). "And I will break the pride of your power", indicates that quite often prosperity leads to pride and self-confidence (Deut. 8:11-19; 32:15).

Judgment cuts a man down to size and reminds him that his well-being really depends on God. The "heaven as iron", indicates no rain and "earth as brass" (bronze), indicates no crops (compare Haggi 1:9-11). All of these curses were sent by God as "a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant". Which is best interpreted, "And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant" (Judges 2:11-15; 2 Kings 17:7-23; Isa. 10:5-19: Luke 19:42-44).

Here the Lord lists the punishments for disobedience: terror, disease, famine, and subjection to their enemies. "I will scatter you among the heathen"; foreshadows the exile at the hands of the Assyrians and then the Babylonians, a circumstance that would bring sabbath to the land (26:34-35).

Leviticus 26:14 "But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;"

To his commandments, as the rule of their duty. And to his promises, as an encouragement to it, or to his prophets and ministers. Explaining and enforcing his law, and exhorting to a cheerful obedience to it. So the Targum of Jonathan, "if ye will not hearken to the doctrine of them that teach my laws;'' which was the sin of the Jews in later times, for which captivity and other calamities befell them (Jer. 7:25).

"And will not do all these commandments": Which he had delivered to them by Moses. Whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial, recorded in this book and in the preceding. Even all of them were to be respected, attended to, and performed. For the law curses everyone that does not do all things it requires (Gal. 3:10).

Leviticus 26:15 "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:"

"Break my covenant": By disobeying the commandments and the various laws of the Mosaic Covenant, Israel broke this conditional covenant. Unlike the ultimate provisions of the unconditional covenant made with Abraham, all blessings in the covenant of Mosaic law were conditioned upon obedience (compare Lev. 26:25).

They had a choice, just as we have a choice. They did not have to follow God. If they did not however, they would not know the blessings of God either. I want to stress here, that they have the choice. God would not force Himself upon them. God will offer salvation to us, but He will not go against our will and save us. We must want to be saved for God to save us. In the next few verses, we will see some of the consequences of not following God.

Leviticus 26:16 "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."

"Consumption": Perhaps tuberculosis or leprosy is in view (the subject of much legislation in Lev. Chapters 13 and 14), but no certain identification is possible.

"Your enemies shall eat it": They will be conquered by their enemies at a time when those enemies will enjoy Israel's harvest.

There is no peace in the world. This terror is because they have no help in time of trouble. It was a foolish thing then, to turn away and not obey God. In fact, it is even more terror today to not follow in God's ways. The threat of nuclear war has the world literally scared to death, just to name one terror. We read just how frightening it will be on the earth before the LORD comes back.

Luke 21:26 "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."

Consumption is a lung disease that has to do with breathing. The word that was translated consumption here, does not have a translation other than consumption. Ague means inflammation. This must be a terrible inflammation, if it causes blindness. This sorrow of heart is because there is no hope for them. This life is very short and full of trouble and sorrow, if there is no hope of the resurrection. As if the troubles in the body and mind are not enough, the ground will not produce for the person who rejects God. Even the little crop that does come will be eaten by others.

Verses 40-46: The promise of punishment is given as "discipline" and its goal is restoration. Judgment does not prove that God has rejected His people. Rather He punishes them because they are His own (Amos 3:2). Thus, "if they shall confess their iniquity ...if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity", God promises to "remember my covenant with Jacob ... Isaac ... and ... Abraham". What this remembering will mean in practice is not spelled out here, but (Deuteronomy chapter 30), explains that it will mean restoration to the Land of Promise and prosperity. The land and the covenant were all a vital part of the covenant (in Exodus 6:8). "And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage" (a possession or inheritance).

Verses 40-42: "They shall confess ... then will I remember my covenant": God's covenant was rooted in the relationship He had initiated with His people. True repentance would be honored by Him.

Even in these punishments, the Lord who is rich in mercy promised to restore the nation if its people would "confess their iniquity". God always responds to true repentance with forgiveness. He would also save a remnant of His chosen people.

Leviticus 26:40 "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;"

The Targum of Jonathan adds, "in the time of their distress;'' which might serve to bring their sins to remembrance, and them to a confession of them. Not only of their own sins, but of their fathers' also. Acknowledging thereby that they had been guilty of sinning against God for a long course of years past. And that God had been long suffering towards them, and bore much with them before he brought his judgments on them, which were just, and what they righteously deserved. And such a confession Daniel made (Dan. 9:4). And the words may as well be rendered absolute as conditional, or better. And as a prediction of what would be done by them when in captivity and distress, "and they shall confess their iniquity". With shame and sorrow, with repentance for it, and abhorrence of it. Or otherwise, if the confession was only verbal and hypocritical, it would not be acceptable.

"With their trespass which they trespassed against me": Along with their own iniquities, and those of their fathers, they should confess. Their trespass against the Lord would be acknowledged by them; which seems to design some particular and grievous sin committed by them. By which perhaps is meant their idolatry, a capital sin, directly against God. And what those people were prone unto. "And that also they have walked contrary unto me". To his mind and will, to his laws, commands, statutes, and ordinances, disregarding him and them, as if enemies to him. Or "by chance" (see notes on Lev. 26:21).

Leviticus 26:41 "And [that] I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:"

Showed no regard unto them, as if he took no care of them. Or in a providential way concerned himself for them, but let what would befall them. Yea, came out in the way of his judgments against them, as if he was an enemy to them (see notes on Lev. 26:24).

"And have brought them into the land of their enemies": Should acknowledge the hand of God in it, that he himself brought them out of their own country into an enemy's land, as Assyria, Babylon, and other nations. And that this was not the chance of war, or owing to the superior power or skill of their enemies. But to the just judgment of God upon them for their sins, who on that account delivered them up into the hands of their enemies.

"If then their uncircumcised heart be humbled": Their foolish proud heart, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan. It signifies a sinful, wicked, hard, and impenitent heart, brought to a sense of sin, to repentance and humiliation for it. Jarchi interprets it, "or if their uncircumcised heart", etc. (as in Exodus 2:23). And observes another sense of the word, "perhaps their uncircumcised heart", etc. Not only would in words confess their sins, but be truly humbled at heart for them.

"And they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity": Take it well at the hand of God. Bear it patiently without murmuring, or thinking themselves hardly dealt by, but freely owning it is less than their iniquities deserve. Or complete and finish the punishment of their sins, as Aben Ezra, which upon their humiliation should be put an end to, and cease. Jarchi takes the word in the sense of atonement and pacification, as if by their chastisement their sins were expiated, and God was pacified toward them. But rather it denotes the free and full pardon of their sins, manifested to them upon their repentance and humiliation for sin.

Leviticus 26:42 "Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."

"Jacob ... Isaac ... Abraham": The reverse order is a look in retrospect as opposed to the actual historical sequence.

God wants to forgive and restore His people to right standing with Him. He sent His precious Son Jesus Christ
to save them and us. Notice in the verse above, that He mentions Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This in itself, shows that as long as they were following in His ways, the covenant was in effect. We Christians are part of the Abrahamic covenant with God. We are heirs with him of the covenant.

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Our covenant relationship is made perfect in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Leviticus 26:43 "The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes."

This seems to refer to a second time, when this should be the case of the land of Judea again, as it was when subdued by the Romans. And the Jews were carried captive from it, and so it was left by them, as it has been ever since.

"And shall enjoy her sabbaths, while lieth desolate without them": Shall be as in the sabbatical years, uncultivated, neither ploughed nor sown, nor reaped. And thus the land of Canaan, though once so very fruitful, is now desolate and barren, being without its former inhabitants. And so it is like to be until it is restored to them again.

"And they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity": That is, when made sensible of their sins, and particularly of their iniquity of rejecting the Messiah. They will not think it hard that they have been punished in so severe a manner, but own the righteous hand of God in it, and be humble under it. And confessing their sins with true sorrow and repentance for them, looking at him whom they have pierced, and mourn, shall have the free and full remission of their sins applied unto them.

"Because, even, because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes": Despised and abhorred Christ, his doctrines and ordinances. Which was the reason of their being carried captive out of their land, when it was forsaken by them, and lay desolate as to this day. Especially with respect to any benefit of it enjoyed by them. And which, when they are sensible of, will be a reason of their accepting the punishment of their iniquity so readily. And not murmur at the hand of God upon them, or reflect on his dealings with them. But freely and fully confess their sins, that he may be justified in all that he has done.

Leviticus 26:44 "And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I [am] the LORD their God."

I will have on them, in or through my Word, as the Targum of Jonathan. Notwithstanding their many and great sins and transgressions, and the sad and miserable condition they were brought into by them. The Lord would have mercy on them and be gracious to them, through Christ and for his sake, and convert and save them (see Rom. 11:26). The Jews, as Fagius tells us, wonderfully delight themselves with this passage, and read it with the greatest joy and pleasure, and with an elevated voice. Concluding from hence that they shall certainly return to their own land. And because the first word in this verse is in sound the same as the Germans use for an "ape". They call this paragraph "the golden ape", and say, when this shall be fulfilled the golden age will take place with them. A very learned man has written a dissertation upon it. When;

"They shall be in the land of their enemies": Of the Romans and other nations, among whom they have been
disposed ever since the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.

"I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly": For though they have been cast away by the Lord out of their land, and from being his people, and enjoying either the civil or religious privileges they formerly did. And though they have been cast off with abhorrence, and had in great detestation by him, for their sin of rejecting the Messiah, as appears by the punishment inflicted on them. Yet not so as to make an utter end of them as a body of people. For, notwithstanding their dispersion everywhere, and their long captivity, they remain a distinct people from all others, which seems to forebode something favorable to them.

"And to break my covenant with them": Which he will not do, even his promise of the future call and conversion of them, and of their return to their own land.

"For I am the Lord their God": Their covenant God, and a covenant keeping God (Rom. 11:27).

God does not have to explain to you and me why He forgives them and restores them. He is God.

Jeremiah 31:34 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

We see similar Scriptures in Hebrews.

Hebrews 8:10-12 "For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:" "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

Leviticus 26:45 "But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I [am] the LORD."

Or rather, "remember to them". To their good and benefit, for their profit and advantage, not for their desert and merit or for any worth or worthiness in them. This covenant respects not the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (as in Lev. 26:42); but with their fathers. Either at Sinai, or rather in the plains of Moab (Deut. 29:1). For it follows:

"Whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the Heathen, that I might be their God": Whom he brought out of great bondage and distress in Egypt, with a high hand and outstretched arm, and in the sight of the Egyptians. Who were not able to oppose it, yea, because of their plagues, were urgent for it. And in the sight of all the nations round about, who heard of the wonderful power of God in the deliverance of his people. And this he did that he might appear to be their covenant God, who had taken them into covenant with him, and had taken them under his care and protection". And would be still their King and their God. And who also, in like manner, it may be here suggested, would deliver the people of the Jews out of their present exiled and captive state and condition in the sight of the whole world. And declare himself their covenant God and Father.

"I am the Lord": Whose will is sovereign; whose power is uncontrollable. Who is a covenant keeping God,
faithful to his promises, and able to perform them.

This is a beautiful example of the grace of God toward His people. The last few verses have been speaking prophetically of the grace through Jesus Christ that fulfills the law for the people. This grace is for physical Israel (Hebrews), and spiritual Israel (all believers in Christ). Praise God! What we could not do in our weakness, Jesus did for us on the cross. All He ever wanted to be, was their God.

Leviticus 26:46 "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."

Much of the content of Leviticus came during Moses' two "forty day and night" visits to Sinai (compare Exodus 24:16 - 32:6; 34:2-28; Lev. 7:37-38; 25:1; 27:34).

This is a summation to let them and us know where these laws came from, who was ordained to bring them, and where they were given.