Leviticus 26:22
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.
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(22) I will also send wild beasts.—Better, and I will send wild beasts. Wild beasts, which abounded in Palestine (Exodus 23:29), are used as a punishment for sin (Deuteronomy 32:24; 2Kings 17:25; Isaiah 13:21-22; Ezekiel 14:15, &c.).

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 third warning is the multiplication of destructive animals, etc. Compare Deuteronomy 32:24; Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 14:15; Judges 5:6-7; Isaiah 33:8.22. I will also send wild beasts among you—This was one of the four judgments threatened (Eze 14:21; see also 2Ki 2:4).

your highways shall be desolate—Trade and commerce will be destroyed—freedom and safety will be gone—neither stranger nor native will be found on the roads (Isa 33:8). This is an exact picture of the present state of the Holy Land, which has long lain in a state of desolation, brought on by the sins of the ancient Jews.

By reason of the fewness of travellers and people, and the terror of wild beasts growing more numerous thereby. I will also send wild beasts among you,.... Either in a literal sense, as lions, bears, wolves, &c. and so is the reverse of what is promised to them on their doing well, Leviticus 26:6; or figuratively, mighty monarchs and cruel oppressors, such as were the kings of Assyria and Babylon, Jeremiah 50:17,

which shall rob you of your children; as the bears, in a literal sense, destroyed the children of them in the times of Elisha, 2 Kings 2:24,

and destroy your cattle; the tame beasts, who often become a prey to the wild ones, as both those of the flock, and of the herd, sheep and oxen, do to lions, wolves, &c.

and make you few in number; or diminish them, their number, by bereaving them of their children, and their wealth and substance, by destroying their cattle:

and your high ways shall be desolate; or ways, the word high not being in the text, and may signify both their public and private ones, which would be all forsaken, none caring to venture to walk in them for fear of beasts of prey.

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

(l) Read 2Ki 17:25.

(m) Because no one dares to pass by it for fear of the beasts.

22. the beast of the field] savage animals. Cp. 2 Kings 17:25.The 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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