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Saturday, September 30th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 26

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-46

Leviticus 26:1. Neither set up any image of stone, any large sightly stone. The druids were apt to bring or roll large stones from afar, as at Stone-henge, at Shap in Westmoreland; at Stanton Drew, near Bristol; and at Abury, Wilts. These were ancient temples, approached by serpentine walks, and seats of idolatry of Sabian origin.

Leviticus 26:8. Ten thousand, or a multitude shall be put to flight. This was done by Gideon; also by Jonathan and his armour bearer. 1 Samuel 14:0; 1 Samuel 14:0.

Leviticus 26:18. Seven times. This phrase, often used in the scriptures, signifies the visiting of the long accumulated load of guilt upon a hardened people.

Leviticus 26:22. Wild beasts shall rob you of your children. The LXX have omitted children, probably because they understood them to be included in the destruction of the people and the cattle. Though their commission be special here; yet there are physical causes for the irruptions of wild beasts. Cold drives the wolf from the northern region in quest of food, and thirst in the droughty summers attracts the lion to the river.

Leviticus 26:29. Eat the flesh of your sons. This calamity came upon them when Benhadad besieged Samaria, 2 Kings 6:0; when the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem, Lamentations 4:10; and when the Romans also besieged it, as is most lamentably recorded by Josephus.


From a multitude of passages it evidently appears that the Hebrew covenant had its stipulated conditions; and that obedience was enforced by the sanctifying motives of rewards and punishments. So the Lord saith by Isaiah: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword. The new covenant being in substance the same as the old, it is by like appeals that God still addresses the christian world.

The blessings of this covenant were the utmost riches of the harvest and vintage; protection from the sword, and from beasts of prey; increase of children, and the constant presence of the divine glory. The holy prophets have abundantly improved those temporal blessings, to adumbrate the more glorious blessings of the gospel. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy wine and milk, without money and without price. Isaiah 55:0. Matthew 22:0.

The punishments denounced against apostasy are of the most awful kind; but not more awful than were actually inflicted. Let sinners read and learn. Let them behold God rising to avenge the quarrel of his covenant; war, pestilence and famine, roll as angry tempests before the frowns of his countenance. Do the wicked hope to escape? Do they plead for a system of mercy nowhere known in the sacred writings? When, I would ask, did Israel forsake the Lord and go unpunished? When has he been wanting to reward the evil doer according to his work?

We have next a very striking and luminous prediction of the Babylonian captivity. How forcible is the language of retribution in these words: “That the land may enjoy her sabbaths.” But if Israel, it may be objected, were carried away to Babylon, would not the neighbouring nations enter and possess their lands? Here providence has guarded the credit of prophecy; for all the neighbouring nations were at the same time so diminished by the armies of Chaldea, as to be very few in number. Isaiah 40:6-8.

The promises of restoration, in case of humiliation for their sin, are not less remarkable than the menaces of chastisement. How good, how very good and gracious is the Lord, not to leave an afflicted people without an encouraging word of hope: and how valuable must that word be to an afflicted people. It is the Magna Charta of heaven, most willingly granted for our encouragement and support in the day of adversity. We should therefore rejoice more at God’s word than they that find great treasure.

If these are the high conditions of the covenant, the Lord’s ways with man; let us learn to abide in his precepts, and revere his words. Oh how infinitely better to avoid apostasy, than barely to escape hell by a repentance deferred; or peradventure to fall into the pit, and rise no more. Lord, keep us from falling, and let not the penitent be discouraged; for as is thy majesty, so is thy mercy.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/leviticus-26.html. 1835.
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