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Rewards for Obedience


You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no carved images or pillars, and you shall not place figured stones in your land, to worship at them; for I am the L ord your God. 2You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the L ord.

3 If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, 4I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. 6And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. 7You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. 10You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. 11I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. 12And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13I am the L ord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

Penalties for Disobedience

14 But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, 16I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. 18And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. 19I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. 20Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.

21 If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins. 22I will let loose wild animals against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock; they shall make you few in number, and your roads shall be deserted.

23 If in spite of these punishments you have not turned back to me, but continue hostile to me, 24then I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. 25I will bring the sword against you, executing vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven, and they shall dole out your bread by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied.

27 But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, 28I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins. 29You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars; I will heap your carcasses on the carcasses of your idols. I will abhor you. 31I will lay your cities waste, will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing odors. 32I will devastate the land, so that your enemies who come to settle in it shall be appalled at it. 33And you I will scatter among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword against you; your land shall be a desolation, and your cities a waste.

34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbath years as long as it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its sabbath years. 35As long as it lies desolate, it shall have the rest it did not have on your sabbaths when you were living on it. 36And as for those of you who survive, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall though no one pursues. 37They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand against your enemies. 38You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall devour you. 39And those of you who survive shall languish in the land of your enemies because of their iniquities; also they shall languish because of the iniquities of their ancestors.

40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, in that they committed treachery against me and, moreover, that they continued hostile to me— 41so that I, in turn, continued hostile to them and brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43For the land shall be deserted by them, and enjoy its sabbath years by lying desolate without them, while they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they dared to spurn my ordinances, and they abhorred my statutes. 44Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the L ord their God; 45but I will remember in their favor the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, to be their God: I am the L ord.

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws that the L ord established between himself and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai through Moses.

4. Then I will give you rain in due season. He might in one word have promised great abundance of food, but, that His grace may be more illustrious, the instruments are mentioned which He employs for its supply. He might give us bread as He formerly rained down manna from heaven; but in order that the signs of His paternal solicitude may be constantly before us, after the seed is sown, the earth requires rain from heaven; and thus the order of the seasons is so regulated that every day may renew the memory of God’s bounty. For this reason rain is mentioned, and the increase of the fruits of the earth; and the continued succession of thrashing, the vintage, and sowing-time, indicates a very abundant supply of corn and wine. For, if the harvest be small, there will not be much work to occupy the husbandman; and, if the vintage be light, hence also will arise an unsatisfactory period of leisure. But when God declares that from harvest to sowing-time they shall have constant employment, He bids them expect a fruitful year, as immediately follows, “ye shall eat your bread to the full.” And since no prosperity can be gratifying without peace, He says that they shall be quiet and free from all disturbance. And this must be carefully observed that, so unpalatable are all God’s blessings without the seasoning of tranquillity, nothing is more wretched than inquietude. The sum is, that for the true servants of God not only is there food laid up with Him, but also its peaceful and pleasant enjoyment, since it is in His power and will to drive far from them all annoyances. Still these two things do not seem altogether consistent with each other, that there shall be none to make them afraid, and that they shall subdue their enemies, so that 210210     The oversight of ten for five here is scarcely worth noticing. ten shall suffice to chase a hundred; for of what use would their military strength be if there were no enemies to trouble them? But if we may take the latter sentence disjunctively, there will be no absurdity, viz., if it should happen that war be brought against them, they should fight successfully. Still the easiest solution of this difficulty is, that it soon afterwards was necessary for them to contend with a great multitude of enemies, in order to obtain possession of the land. We gather from the accommodation by the Prophets of this peculiar blessing of a secure and tranquil life to the kingdom of Christ, that the promises, which from the nature of the Law were of none effect, are still useful for believers; for, when God has reconciled them to Himself, He also liberally bestows upon them what they have not deserved; and yet their obedience, such as it is, is also rewarded.

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