King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Leviticus 26

Promises upon keeping the precepts. (1-13) Threatenings against disobedience. (14-39) God promises to remember those that repent. (40-46)

Leviticus 26 Audio:

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Promises upon keeping the precepts

1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

11 And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.

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

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.

Threatenings against disobedience

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

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:

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.

17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:

20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

21 And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.

22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.

23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;

24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.

26 And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.

30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.

32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.

35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.

37 And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

God promises to remember those that repent

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;

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. To adore it. This explains the prohibition of making graven things, &c. The Protestants translate as usual, “Ye shall make you no idols, nor graven image, neither rear ye up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land to bow down unto it.” They seem terribly afraid of images, as if they were all idols. See Ex. xx. 4. H. — Pillars. Heb. mattseba, “statue, or monument.” Such were erected by Jacob, Josue, and even by Moses himself, without any offence or danger of idolatry. Gen. xxviii. 18. Jos. iv. 4. Ex. xxiv. 4. Apuleius (Flor.) makes mention, among other species of superstition, “of a stone anointed, and of an altar crowned with flowers.” — The stone, which is here condemned, is one set up “for adoration.” Onkelos. — Heb. “a stone of sight,” placed on some eminence, or on the high roads. Strabo, (xvii.) speaking of those which he had seen in Egypt along the roads, says, “they are lofty, polished, and almost like a sphere, some 12 feet in diameter. There are sometimes three, of different dimensions, one upon another. Some were to be seen upon Mount Libanus. They were objects of adoration.” The Greeks raised heaps of stones on the high roads, in honour of Mercury. Prov. xxvi. 7. C. — We are not forbidden to place land-marks, &c.: but we must not adore them. D.

Ver. 2. Reverence. The Rabbins inform us, with what respect their ancestors appeared in the temple. They left their sticks and shoes behind them, and washed their feet; entering solely to perform some act of religion, and not to go a shorter road to another street. When they had ended their devotions, they retired slowly without turning their back to the sanctuary. Outram, Sacrif. lib. 3. n. 7.

Ver. 3. Due seasons. Before harvest, in spring; and after that in autumn, when they sow their wheat and barley in Palestine. C.

Ver. 5. Time. So great shall be the abundance, that you will scarcely have time to get all the work done before you will be called off to something else. H. — These promises would be so much the more agreeable to them, as in Egypt they had been forced to keep in their houses two or three months together, on account of the overflowing of the Nile. In that country, as well as in Greece and Palestine, people sow both wheat and barley about October; while in other countries the latter is sown in spring. The harvest is ready in about six months, and that of wheat in seven. Plin. xiii. 19. Hesiod, ep. 2. C.

Ver. 8. Five. Thus Gedeon’s 300 men put to flight the great army of the Madianites; (Jud. vii. 22,) and the Machabees destroyed vast numbers with a small force.

Ver. 10. Old; Being unable to consume all. M. — Heb. “ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.” Sept. “you shall eat the old of old, and you shall bring out the old from the face of the new.” Like a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasury new things and old. Matt. xiii. 52. H.

Ver. 13. Upright; and be no longer bowed down with a heavy yoke, like oxen. “I have broken the locks of your prison, and have set you at liberty.” Arab. C. — A Greek proverb says, “Never was a slave’s head right, but always crooked, like his neck.” M.

Ver. 16. Heat. Heb. kaddachath, is rendered “scab and jaundice,” by the Sept.: and by others “a dangerous wind,” like that which causes so many diseases in Egypt. The precise meaning of some terms in this verse is not well known.

Ver. 18. More, (septuplum.) “Very often, or very much;” in which sense it is used in this chapter. C.

Ver. 19. As brass (├Žneam). “Brazen,” without moisture, and barren. Onkelos.

Ver. 22. Desolate, none being left to frequent them; or the few who remain, shall keep within doors, lest the wild beasts should meet and devour them. Isai. xxxiii. 8.

Ver. 26. Bread; or that which supports you. You shall be deprived of the necessaries of life. — One oven shall be used by 10 families, so little bread shall be baked, and even that little shall be delivered out by weight. I will also deprive it of its nutritive qualities, so that it shall not satisfy your craving appetite. C. See Ps. civ. 16. Isai. iii. 1.

Ver. 28. Fury. You will gain nothing by opposing me, but your own destruction. I will treat you, as you would deal with me. H.

Ver. 29. Daughters. To such extremities were the Jews reduced, at the sieges of Samaria and Jerusalem. 4 K. vi. 28. Lament. iv. 10. Josep. Bel. vii. 8.

Ver. 30. Places. The temple of Solomon was built on Mount Moria or Sion. The Persians sacrificed upon the mountains, and the Romans and Athenians built their most magnificent temples on the highest parts of their respective cities. — Idols. Heb. chammanim, denotes the chariots dedicated to the sun; (4 K. xxiii. 11,) or the pyreia, or enclosures for the sacred fire, in honour of the god Homanus, (Strabo xv.) whose name is probably derived from this Hebrew word, (C.) as well as Hammon, a title of Jupiter. M. — Ruins. Heb. “and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your gods of dirt, and my soul shall vomit you out.” The Egyptians embalmed the carcasses of their sacred animals. God threatens that, if his people be so stupid as to adore them, they shall die, and be deprived of sepulture.

Ver. 31. Odours. Even the sanctuary of the Lord shall be destroyed, as you will be unworthy to have it among you, or to offer sacrifices to me. H.

Ver. 34. Desolation. It shall be uncultivated; and though you would not comply with my injunctions to let it rest one year out of seven, it shall now remain desolate for many years together. H. — Theodoret (q. 37,) says for 70 years; the number of sabbatic years, from the reign of Saul till the captivity of Babylon, during the space of 490 years. This verse seems evidently to allude to those days of distress. C. 2 Par. xxxvi. 21. — But we can hardly suppose that none of the sabbatic years should have been duly observed during the reigns of David, Solomon, &c. H. — Instead of enjoy, Heb. may be “shall expiate her sabbaths,” or the neglect of them. The same term, tirtse, is used, (v. 41. 43,) and the Vulg. generally renders it agreeable, speaking of sacrifices. C. i. 4. xxii. 20. C.

Ver. 35. Your sabbaths, holidays and years of rest, and of jubilee. The earth is represented as entering into the views of God, and rejoicing at his judgments. H.

Ver. 36. Fear. Sept. “timidity, or slavishness.” Heb. morec, “softness and inactivity.” C. — Their haughty temper shall be broken; and though they have dared to rebel against their God, the fall of a leaf shall now terrify them. H.

Ver. 37. Brethren, in their flight; while each one is endeavouring to save himself. The Rabbins say they shall be punished for the sins of their brethren, if they have not endeavoured to prevent them.

Ver. 38. Consume you. The Hebrew spies said that the land of Chanaan devoured its inhabitants. Such shall be in reality the enemies’ country in your regard. You shall not be able to establish yourselves or be happy there.

Ver. 39. Own. The sins of their fathers, which they have imitated, shall fall upon them; so that they shall pine away with remorse and misery.

Ver. 41. Mind. Heb. “heart,” wicked, rebellious, and unclean. M. — Pray for. Heb. and Syr. “please themselves in,” &c. They shall see what advantage they have derived from their sins. C. — Then they shall enter into themselves, like the prodigal son. H.

Ver. 42. Jacob is placed first because he was the father of no other nation; as Abraham and Isaac were. W.

Ver. 44. I did not. He speaks of a future event, which he sees will certainly come to pass, as if it had already happened. As God had preserved his people, in Egypt, conformably to his covenant with the patriarchs, so he will be reconciled to them, after they shall have done penance, and acknowledged all their excesses, in the captivity of Babylon. H. — The church never ceases all together. W.

Ver. 45. Moses. What has been hitherto recorded, was mostly prescribed by God at Mount Sinai, as some of the following laws were also. C. — It would seem as if this were the conclusion of Leviticus. We must remember, however, that these divisions were not introduced by Moses, as he wrote his five books without any interruption, like one verse. So S. John seems to conclude his Gospel, (C. xx. 31.) though he afterwards adds another chapter. H.