Leviticus 26:16
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.
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(16) I also will do this unto you.—That is, He will do the same unto them; He will requite them in the same way, and abhor them.

I will even appoint over you terror.—Better, and I will appoint, &c, that is, God will visit them with terrible things, consisting of consumption and burning ague. These two diseases also occur together in Deuteronomy 28:22, the only passage in the Bible where they occur again. The second of the two, however, which is here translated “burning ague” in the Authorised Version, is, in the Deuteronomy passage, rendered simply by “fever.” The two passages ought to be uniformly rendered.

That shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart.—Better, that shall extinguish the eyes, and cause life to waste away. The rendering of the Authorised Version, “consume the eyes,” though giving the sense, is misleading, inasmuch as it suggests that the verb “consume” is the same as the disease, “consumption” mentioned in the preceding clause. For the phrase “extinguish the eye”—the eye failing—see Job 11:20; Job 17:5; Job 31:16, &c, and for the whole phrase, comp. Deuteronomy 28:65; 1Samuel 2:23.

And ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.—Besides these terrible diseases, the production of the soil, which is necessary for the sustenance of life, and which is to be so abundant and secure against enemies when the Israelites obey the Divine commandments (see Leviticus 26:4-6), will be carried off by strangers. Similar threatenings in case of disobedience are to be found both in the Pentateuch (Deut. xxviii, 33, 51) and in the prophets (Jeremiah 5:17). The most striking parallel is the one in Micah, “Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil” (Micah 6:15). For the reverse state of things, see Isaiah 62:8; Isaiah 65:22-23.

Leviticus 26:16. I will appoint over you terror — The original word, בהלה, behalah, properly signifies a sudden and grievous consternation, and may be intended to denote that slavish fear, pusillanimity, and dejection which are consequent on the loss of confidence in God, and the testimony of a good conscience. Consumption — The word שׁחפת, shachpeth, thus rendered here, and Deuteronomy 28:22, is of very uncertain signification. In the Septuagint it is translated ψωραν, psoran, a scab, scall, the itch, or some cutaneous eruption, perhaps the small pox, or some such grievous complaint. The burning ague (or fever, as the word קדחת, kaddachath evidently signifies) that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart — Two remarkable effects of this distemper, when it continues long. It eminently weakens the sight, and sinks the spirits. All chronical diseases are here included in the consumption, all acute in the burning ague or fever.

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.The first warning for disobedience is disease. "Terror" (literally trembling) is rendered trouble in Psalm 78:33; Isaiah 65:23. It seems here to denote that terrible affliction, an anxious temperament, the mental state ever at war with Faith and Hope. This might well be placed at the head of the visitations on a backslider who had broken the covenant with his God. Compare Deuteronomy 32:25; Jeremiah 15:8; Proverbs 28:1; Job 24:17; Psalm 23:4.

Consumption, and the burning ague - Compare the margin reference. The first of the words in the original comes from a root signifying to waste away; the latter (better, fever), from one signifying to kindle a fire. Consumption is common in Egypt and some parts of Asia Minor, but it is more rare in Syria. Fevers of different kinds are the commonest of all diseases in Syria and all the neighboring countries. The opposite promise to the threat is given in Exodus 15:26; Exodus 23:25.

16. I will even appoint over you terror—the falling sickness [Patrick].

consumption, and the burning ague—Some consider these as symptoms of the same disease—consumption followed by the shivering, burning, and sweating fits that are the usual concomitants of that malady. According to the Septuagint, "ague" is "the jaundice," which disorders the eyes and produces great depression of spirits. Others, however, consider the word as referring to a scorching wind; no certain explanation can be given.

I will even appoint over you; I will give them power over you, that you shall not be able to avoid or resist them. Shall consume the eyes, by the decay of spirits, and affluence of ill humours.

I also will do this unto you,.... Henceforward follow threatenings of dreadful evils to the transgressors and despisers of the commandments of God, which thus begin:

I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart; some, as Aben Ezra observes, take these to design what may affect the seed sown and the increase of it, such as blasting and mildew, because it follows: "ye shall sow in vain"; but no doubt diseases of the body are intended; for what we translate "terror" does not signify terror of mind, but some sudden, hasty, terrible distemper; perhaps the pestilence, as the Targum of Jonathan; some have thought of the falling sickness, as Bishop Patrick, because the word has the signification of haste and precipitance; and the second is a disease well known among us, and so called from its wasting and consuming nature; Jarchi interprets it of a disease which swells the flesh, either fills it with tumours and pustules, the Septuagint calls it the itch; or with wind or water, which has led some to think of the dropsy; and the last of them seems to be rightly rendered a burning ague or fever, though the Septuagint takes it for the jaundice, but that seems not to be so threatening, terrible, and dangerous, as what may be here supposed: now these diseases and all others are by the appointment of God, they come and go by his order, and while they continue have the power over persons, nor can they rid themselves of them at pleasure; and these have such an effect on persons seized by them, as to cause dimness of sight, a hollowness of their eyes, which sink into the head, as well as fill the heart with grief and sorrow; either through present pains and agonies, or in a view of future judgment and wrath to come:

and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it; either eat it up for forage before it is ripe, or, if ripe and gathered in the barn, should come and besiege their cities and plunder their granaries.

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.
16. terror] i.e. terrible things, viz. those that follow.

the soul] your life.

Leviticus 26:16The Curse for Contempt of the Law. - The following judgments are threatened, not for single breaches of the law, but for contempt of all the laws, amounting to inward contempt of the divine commandments and a breach of the covenant (Leviticus 26:14, Leviticus 26:15), - for presumptuous and obstinate rebellion, therefore, against God and His commandments. For this, severe judgments are announced, which were to be carried to their uttermost in a fourfold series, if the hardening were obstinately continued. If Israel acted in opposition to the Lord in the manner stated, He would act towards them as follows (Leviticus 26:16, Leviticus 26:17): He would appoint over them בּחלה terror, - a general notion, which is afterwards particularized as consisting of diseases, sowing without enjoying the fruit, defeat in war, and flight before their enemies. Two kinds of disease are mentioned by which life is destroyed: consumption and burning, i.e., burning fever, πυρετός, febris, which cause the eyes (the light of this life) to disappear, and the soul (the life itself) to pine away; whereas in Exodus 23:25; Exodus 15:26, preservation from diseases is promised for obedience to the law. Of these diseases, consumption is at present very rare in Palestine and Syria, though it occurs in more elevated regions; but burning fever is one of the standing diseases. To these there would be added the invasion of the land by enemies, so that they would labour in vain and sow their seed to no purpose, for their enemies would consume the produce, as actually was the case (e.g., Judges 6:3-4).
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