Le 26:1, 2.
1. Ye shall make you no idols—Idolatry
had been previously forbidden (Ex 20:4, 5), but the law was repeated here with
reference to some particular forms of it that were very prevalent among
the neighboring nations.
a standing image—that is, "upright
image of stone—that is, an obelisk,
inscribed with hieroglyphical and superstitious characters; the former
denoting the common and smaller pillars of the Syrians or Canaanites;
the latter, pointing to the large and elaborate obelisks which the
Egyptians worshipped as guardian divinities, or used as stones of
adoration to stimulate religious worship. The Israelites were enjoined
to beware of them.
2. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my
sanctuary—Very frequently, in this Book of the Law, the
Sabbath and the sanctuary are mentioned as antidotes to idolatry.
Le 26:3-13. A Blessing to
3. 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
4. I will give you rain in due season, and the
land shall yield her increase—Rain seldom fell in Judea
except at two seasons—the former rain at the end of autumn, the
seedtime; and the latter rain in spring, before the beginning of
harvest (Jer 5:24).
5. your threshing shall reach unto the vintage,
and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time, &c.—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 came the vintage, and fruit gathering towards 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 Am 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 because the fields were
10. ye shall eat old store—Their stock
of old corn would be still unexhausted and large when the next harvest
brought a new supply.
13. I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made
you go upright—a metaphorical expression to denote their
emancipation from Egyptian slavery.
Le 26:14-39. A Curse to the
14, 15. But if ye will not hearken unto me,
&c.—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
16. I will even appoint over you
terror—the falling sickness [Patrick].
consumption, and the burning ague—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. According to the Septuagint,
"ague" is "the jaundice," which disorders the eyes and produces great
depression of spirits. Others, however, consider the word as referring
to a scorching wind; no certain explanation can be given.
18. if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto
me, then I will punish you seven times more—that is, with far
more severe and protracted calamities.
19. I will make your heaven as iron, and your
earth as brass—No figures could have been employed to convey
a better idea of severe and long-continued famine.
22. I will also send wild beasts among
you—This was one of the four judgments threatened (Eze 14:21; see also 2Ki 2:4).
your highways shall be desolate—Trade
and commerce will be destroyed—freedom and safety will be
gone—neither stranger nor native will be found on the roads
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.
26. ten women shall bake your bread in one
oven, &c.—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 (Eze 4:16).
29. 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 (La 4:10), and at the destruction of that
city by the Romans. (See on De 28:53).
30. I will destroy your high
places—Consecrated enclosures on the tops of mountains, or on
little hillocks, raised for practising the rites of idolatry.
cut down your images—According to
some, those images were made in the form of chariots (2Ki 23:11); according to others, they were of a
conical form, like small pyramids. Reared in honor 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 upon the carcases of your
idols, &c.—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.
31. 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 unto desolation, and I
will not smell the savour of your sweet odours—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
33. I will scatter you among the heathen,
&c.—as was done when the elite of the nation were removed
into Assyria and placed in various parts of the kingdom.
34. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as
long as it lieth desolate, &c.—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
38. the land of your enemies shall eat you up,
&c.—On the removal of the ten tribes into captivity, they
never returned, and all traces of them were lost.
40-45. If they shall confess their iniquity,
&c.—This passage holds out the gracious promise of divine
forgiveness and favor on their repentance, and their happy restoration
to their land, in memory of the covenant made with their fathers (Ro 2:1-29).
46. These are the statutes and judgments and
laws—It has been thought by some that the last chapter was
originally placed after the twenty-fifth [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 the service of God [Calmet].