Promises upon keeping the precepts. (Verse 1-13.)
Threatenings against disobedience. (Verse 14-39.)
God promises to remember those that repent. (Verse 40-46.)
God had given the Ten Commandments to Moses and the children of Israel in the book of Exodus chapter 20 and now he turns His focus to his Covenant with his people and so he doesn’t re-iterate everything he said at Mt. Sinai but instead he deals with the blessings and cursing’s he will give to Israel based on their obedience or disobedience.
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.
Only two commandments from the “Ten Commandments” are mentioned here as well as an additional one not mentioned from Mt. Sinai, to reverence his sanctuary is given along with the reason for doing any and all of his commandments, because he is the LORD.
What is the name of this book we are studying? Leviticus! It is mail given to the Levites, Israel’s priests. As the priest go, so goes the nation.
If the priest were right with God and an Israelite were to make a graven image (like the Catholics do) he would bring that person before the congregation and have him stoned as an example to the people to not turn away from the LORD because of the eternal consequences of doing so.
But if the priest, the Levites themselves were making graven images as did Aaron then how easy it would be for the people to follow them into idolatry.
That is why God instructs those who were to watch over Israel to heed his word first as an example to them.
3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
The key word that makes this Covenant conditional is the word, if. If Israel keeps the LORD’s commandments, then the LORD’s is bound by his word to do everything he has promised.
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.
[Gen 1:28, Gen 9:1, Gen 9:7, Psa 128:3]
10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
[abhor – to shrink from with dread; lothe; detest]
12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
[2nd Cor 6:16, Gen 17:8, Exod 6:7, Exod 29:45, Deut 29:13, Rev 21:7]
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.
hose were the promises given for obedience and for a while during the days of King David and Solomon’s reign they say a taste of what it would be like in the kingdom.
David and Solomon were not without their problems but David as the scripture says was a man after God’s own heart.
Solomon on the other hand was blessed because of his father David and Israel began to become proud and spoiled because of Israel’s new-found power and wealth and they quickly forgot God and began to walk contrary unto him.
God knew this would happened and even warned Israel that he would chasten Israel to get them to return unto him.
The first four stages of God’s chastisement were to correct Israel to get them to repent, but the fifth stage was purely a punishment stage and there was nothing they could do once they had provoked God to anger.
Five times the Bible records that Israel provoked the Lord to anger. That doesn’t mean that the Lord was easily provoked for any infractions, no the opposite was true. The Lord was long suffering and slow to anger in spite of Israel’s continual walking in 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:
[abhor – to shrink from with dread; lothe; detest]
16 I also will do this unto you; I wl 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.
Do you remember Gideon hiding by the winepress threshing his wheat because Israel’s enemy, the Midianites and the Amorites, would come down upon them at the harvest time and take all that Israel planted in the days of the Judges? Judges 6:11
Israel was told earlier not to fear the gods of the Amorites but in Judges 6:10 we learn that is exactly what they did and by doing so they provoked the Lord unto anger and God allowed them to be oppressed by the inhabitants of the land that they did not trust God enough to rid them from the land.
The very next thing that God had promised way back in Leviticus 26:17 is exactly what happened next to Israel and that was exactly the chastening from God that they needed to get them to turn back to God.
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.
Once Israel cried unto to God in repentance God would begin to deliver Israel by giving them a deliverer, or a judge. This one was name Gideon. A very unlikely deliverer, but that is often the very ones that God can use the best.
Judges 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
This would have been unheard of in David’s, and especially in Solomon’s day, but it would become common place for all of divided Israel for of all the forty plus kings that reigned in the north and the south, only eight kings did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, all the rest did evil in the sight of the LORD, and provoked the Lord to anger.
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.
The breaking of the pride of their power occurred after the reign of Solomon when the Kingdom of Israel was broken into two between Israel in the North under Jeroboam with ten tribes and Judah in the South under Rehoboam with the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
They were no longer the most powerful nation in the region anymore and the land would begin to suffer drought because the heavens would not produce the rain they once did because Israel had provoked the Lord to anger, the ground itself would not produce the necessary dew needed either as long as Israel would remain in disobedience to the Lord.
1 Kings 15:30 Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.
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.
Do you remember any stories of wild beasts coming and robbing Israel of any of her children? How about the story of Elisha when he cursed the children of Israel for their outright hatred of God and his spokesman to the nation?
Wicked Israel hated Elijah and they would grow to hate Elisha twice as much because he had a double portion of God’s anointing upon him than Elijah did.
That would mean he would do twice as much for God as did Elijah and oppose evil twice as much, which explains why they immediately began mocking Elisha.
2 Kings 2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
First let me ask you a question, “Was this cursing in line with the promise that Israel made with God?” Absolutely! It lines up exactly with what God said he would do if Israel would go that far in walking contrary to their agreement with him.
It wasn’t the comments of Elisha being bald that provoked the Lord to anger as much as it was the irreverence Israel had towards God and his man, Elijah, that stood in the gap for Israel. Because the parents forsook the Lord and walked contrary to him, their children followed in their footsteps.
The statement that infuriated God the most was the first part that they repeated, “Go up, .., go up”. Elijah had just gone up in a whirlwind and they were glad to see God’s man go, imagine that?
They then wanted Elijah’s replacement to do the same thing. Get out of their sight and stay out of their sight. There are those who would claim to be more just than God, in saying that God was wrong for doing this, but they are not God.
This incident has served as a reminder or an example for over a thousand years to Israel that God is serious about his covenant that he made with his people and that he will do whatever it takes to bring them back to him.
The consequences of God doing nothing and leaving Israel to continually do evil in the sight of the LORD has far reaching eternal consequences for millions of souls that would come after them. God intervened at mankind’s self-destruction with the flood as a great act of love.
Had God not intervened and flooded the earth then Noah’s children would have eventually had unions with the Sons of God (Gen 6) and their generations would have been corrupted by these fallen angels, so God intervened for mankind’s benefit.
This was the same reason that God allowed Elisha to curse Israel with the curse he cursed them with and fulfilled the promise made in Leviticus 26:22. It was to chasten them and to bring them back to the LORD.
To stay on their present course (the course set by the god of this world, Satan) would lead to their eternal destruction and damnation as the Saviour of the world would have never been born.
God had to intervene from time to time in the affairs of Israel to get them back in line with the only truth that could save them. His word and the Covenant he made with them at Mt. Sinai.
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.
This stage God promised he would walk contrary to them and punish them seven times (the number of completeness) to hopefully bring Israel to repentance and turn them back to him before the whole nation would be lost and eternally damned. That is after all what Satan wanted.
Israel was continually fighting her neighbors and even her own countryman during this time in her history and all because of her walking contrary to God.
As a result of constant fighting resources became depleted and crops became weapons or reasons for their enemies to come down upon them to take their harvest from them for themselves.
Many men in Israel died because of the constant battle and yet they did not turn back to the Lord and walk in obedience as they had originally agreed to with God.
This was Israel and Judah’s last chance to repent before they would enter God’s fifth and final stage of Chastisement to bring them back to himself.
The final stage was cannibalism and captivity. And no amount of repenting would shorten the days of this punishment. They had passed the point of no return.
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.
Do you remember where things got so bad in Israel that two women actually made an agreement with each other to eat their own children? Well they did.
This would have never come to pass if Israel would not have provoked the Lord to anger by their walking contrary to him.
But even after Israel would go so far from God to the point of eating their own children before they would humble themselves to God and cry out for his deliverance God was still willing to restore Israel if they would repent.
The famines and the armies of their enemies were just tools that God would use very reluctantly to get his children to return to him.
Don’t think you could never stoop to this level that you would eat your own child. Hunger can make you do terrible things.
2 Kings 6:26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. 27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? 28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. 29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. 30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. 31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
Notice how far the King has gone from following the Lord, he blames Elisha for this incident and wants to kill God’s man instead of realizing that Elisha does not have any power of himself.
The king continues in his rebellion against the God of all the universe instead of humbling himself and admitting his own wickedness. Will a man be more just than God? That is what many think even today, that God is unjust, and they are just. Who made you God’s judge friend?
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.
[abhor – to shrink from with dread; lothe; detest]
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.
How many times is God going to punish Israel if she does not keep all of the LORD’s commandments which he gave them at Mt. Sinai? Seven times!
Incase Israel might forget the number of times the LORD would punish Israel for their sins he repeats himself three more times in this very chapter.
But why Seven times? Why not 2, or 4 or even 10 times? Seven is the number of completion in the Bible. Israel has 70 weeks of 7 years prophesied against her in Daniel to finish the transgression and make an end of sins, with the final week being the 7-year Tribulation Period.
Seven is always associated with forgiveness. The priest would dip his finger in the blood of the sacrifice and guess how many times he would sprinkle the blood or oil? You guessed it, 7 times.
When Peter asked how many times should he forgive someone he answered himself a number he thought was appropriate when he answered: Until 7 times? But what was Jesus’ response to Peter? Not 7 times but 7 x 70.
That is how many years Israel was to be punished for her breaking of this conditional Covenant that she made with the LORD at Mt. Sinai. The last 7 years will be served during the 70th week of Daniel (the Tribulation Period).
It is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble not the Body of Christ’s. We are not going to have to pay for Israel’s sin by going through the Tribulation Period.
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.
[abhorred – to shrink from with dread; lothe; detest]
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.
[abhor – to shrink from with dread; lothe; detest]
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.
The LORD promises to remember his Covenant he made with them “IF” they repent and then all the promises that today are on hold he will remember and not only remember but he will honour them and Israel will again become the Apple of his eye.
Today they are LO-AMMI, not his people according to the prophecies of Hosea.
Do you remember when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother if he trespasses against him? Seven, Peter asked. Jesus replied, seven times seventy, which just so happens to be 490.
The exact amount of years Israel had not kept the Sabbath of the Land and so in order for God to keep his word he had to allow Israel to be taken captive for seventy years in Babylon. 70 years x seven times for their punishment for their sins which he mentions back in Leviticus 26:28.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-13 – This chapter contains a general enforcement of all the laws given by Moses; by promises of reward in case of obedience, on the one hand; and threatenings of punishment for disobedience, on the other. While Israel maintained a national regard to God’s worship, sabbaths, and sanctuary, and did not turn aside to idolatry, the Lord engaged to continue to them temporal mercies and religious advantages. These great and precious promises, though they relate chiefly to the life which now is, were typical of the spiritual blessings made sure by the covenant of grace to all believers, through Christ.
1. Plenty and abundance of the fruits of the earth. Every good and perfect gift must be expected from above, from the Father of lights.
2. Peace under the Divine protection. Those dwell in safety, that dwell in God.
3. Victory and success in their wars. It is all one with the Lord to save by many or by few.
4. The increase of their people. The gospel church shall be fruitful.
5. The favour of God, which is the fountain of all Good.
6. Tokens of his presence in and by his ordinances. The way to have God’s ordinances fixed among us, is to cleave closely to them.
7. The grace of the covenant. All covenant blessings are summed up in the covenant relation, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and they are all grounded upon their redemption. Having purchased them, God would own them, and never cast them off till they cast him off.
Verse 14-39 – After God has set the blessing before them which would make them a happy people if they would be obedient, he here sets the curse before them, the evils which would make them miserable, if they were disobedient. Two things would bring ruin.
1. A contempt of God’s commandments. They that reject the precept, will come at last to renounce the covenant.
2. A contempt of his corrections. If they will not learn obedience by the things they suffer, God himself would be against them; and this is the root and cause of all their misery. And also, The whole creation would be at war with them. All God’s sore judgments would be sent against them. The threatenings here are very particular, they were prophecies, and He that foresaw all their rebellions, knew they would prove so. TEMPORAL judgments are threatened. Those who will not be parted from their sins by the commands of God, shall be parted from them by judgments. Those wedded to their lusts, will have enough of them. SPIRITUAL judgments are threatened, which should seize the mind. They should find no acceptance with God. A guilty conscience would be their continual terror. It is righteous with God to leave those to despair of pardon, who presume to sin; and it is owing to free grace, if we are not left to pine away in the iniquity we were born in, and have lived in.
Verse 40-46 – Among the Israelites, persons were not always prosperous or afflicted according to their obedience or disobedience. But national prosperity was the effect of national obedience, and national judgments were brought on by national wickedness. Israel was under a peculiar covenant. National wickedness will end in the ruin of any people, especially where the word of God and the light of the gospel are enjoyed. Sooner or later, sin will be the ruin, as well as the reproach, of every people. Oh that, being humbled for our sins, we might avert the rising storm before it bursts upon us! God grant that we may, in this our day, consider the things which belong to our eternal peace.