|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:14-39 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.
Verses 34, 35. - The land had not participated in the sins of its inhabitants. The latter had thought that, by the neglect of the sabbatical years, they had enriched themselves by the fruits of those years which would otherwise have been wasted. The result was that they lost the land altogether for a period equal to that during which it ought to have kept sabbath, and the land "as long as she lay desolate kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years" (2 Chronicles 36:21). From the entrance into the holy land until the Babylonish Captivity there elapsed eight hundred and sixty-three years, in which time there ought to have been kept one hundred and twenty-three sabbatical years. As only seventy are made up by the duration of the Captivity, it may be concluded that fifty-three sabbatical years were observed by the Israelites; but this conclusion is very doubtful. It is more likely that seventy, being a multiple of the sacred number seven, was regarded as sufficient to purge all previous neglects, whatever they might have been.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths,.... The sabbatical years, or seventh year sabbaths, when, according to the law in the preceding chapter, it was to rest from tillage, Leviticus 25:2,
as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; so long it should lie uncultivated, at least in part, there not being a sufficient number left to till it in general, or as it should be; this was the case during the seventy years' captivity in Babylon:
even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths; or complete them, as Aben Ezra, which is a bitter sarcasm upon them for their neglect of observance of the law concerning the sabbatical years; but now the land should have its sabbaths of rest whether they would or not; and it seems as if it was on account of this sin, as well as others, that they were carried captive; and it is remarkable, if what Maimonides (x) says is right, that it was at the going out or end of a sabbatical year, that the first temple was destroyed, and the Jews carried captive, and endured a seventy years' captivity; which some say was because they had neglected seventy sabbatical years; see 2 Chronicles 36:21.
(x) Hilchot Shemitah Vejobel, c. 10. sect. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, &c.—A long arrear of sabbatic years had accumulated through the avarice and apostasy of the Israelites, who had deprived their land of its appointed season of rest. The number of those sabbatic years seems to have been seventy, as determined by the duration of the captivity. This early prediction is very remarkable, considering that the usual policy of the Assyrian conquerors was to send colonies to cultivate and inhabit their newly acquired provinces.
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