Leviticus Chapter 26  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Leviticus 26
Lev 26:1

“idols.” The Hebrew text has the word 'eliyl (#0457 אֱלִיל), more literally “Worthless Ones” or “worthless things,” a sarcastic name for “idols” (see commentary on Hab. 2:18, “Worthless Ones”).

“a standing-stone.” Although some standing-stones were set up as memorials, most standing-stones were set up as part of the worship of pagan gods, and that is the context here. God has no tolerance for idols. They are harmful in many different ways. They are to be destroyed.

[For more on standing-stones, see commentary on Gen. 28:18. For more on idols being harmful, see commentary on Deuteronomy 7:5.]

“bow down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. It is the same Hebrew word as “worship.”

[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20.]

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Lev 26:8

“your enemies will fall before you.” We see this played out many times in the Bible. When the people of God obeyed God, there were miraculous victories (see commentary on Josh. 11:8).

Lev 26:9(top)
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Lev 26:16

“and make your soul to pine away.” The Hebrew word nephesh, often translated as “soul,” has many meanings, including a person’s attitudes, thoughts and emotions, which is what it means in this context. Because of their disobedience, the lives of the people would be so difficult that they would lose their energy for life; they would just waste away.

[For more on nephesh and ‘soul,’ see Appendix 7, “Usages of ‘Soul.’”]

Lev 26:17(top)
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Lev 26:26

“staff of bread.” “Bread” was a common idiom for food. “Bread” came to be used by metonymy for food in general because bread was the main food in the culture and a staple of life. Bread was indeed the staff upon which the people leaned for food, and in literature it is sometimes referred to as the “staff of life.” Here it is the “staff of bread” (cp. Ps. 105:16; Ezek. 4:16; 5:16).

[See figure of speech “metonymy.”]

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Lev 26:34

“make up for.” In certain contexts, the Hebrew verb ratsah (#07521 רָצָה) means to “make up for,” “pay for,” “expiate,” and this is one of those cases. The land was supposed to rest every seven years, but Israel never did fully keep that command and allow the land to rest, which built up a debt that had to be made up for, satisfied, or paid off. A number of modern versions have “make up for” (cp. HCSB; NAB; NET; JPS Torah Commentary). The CJB has “repaid,” and Rotherham has “pay off.” This same word occurs in Isaiah 40:2, that the iniquity of Israel has been “paid off,” and thus pardoned, because she received from Yahweh “double” for all her sins. This verse in Leviticus is an early example showing that sin was sometimes thought of in terms of a debt, something that was much more fully developed during and after the Babylonian Captivity and during New Testament times.

[For a more complete understanding of sin, see commentary on 1 John 1:7, “sin.”]

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Lev 26:39

“because of.” The Hebrew is literally “in,” but it is the iniquity that is causing the people to rot away. Sin is harmful on many levels.

Lev 26:40(top)
Lev 26:41

“pay the penalty.” This is the same word as “make up for” in Leviticus 26:34.

Lev 26:42(top)
Lev 26:43

“pay the penalty.” This is the same word as “make up for” in Leviticus 26:34.

Lev 26:44(top)
Lev 26:45(top)
Lev 26:46(top)

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