And if you will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary to me;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And if ye will not be reformed.—The fourth warning (Leviticus 26:23-26) threatens the rebellious Israelites with a more intensified form of the punishment partially mentioned in the first warning. (See Leviticus 26:17.)Jeremiah 2:30). He will avenge the outraged cause of His covenant, by the sword, pestilence, famine, and captivity.
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.
but will walk contrary unto me; See Gill on Leviticus 26:21.And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. be reformed unto] rather, be disciplined by. See mg.Verses 23-26. - Punishment in its fourth degree. I will bring a sword upon yon, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant:... I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy - that is, ye shall go into captivity... and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. Cf. Ezekiel 5:12, "A third part of thee shall die with pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them." The famine that is to come upon them is described as making ten women bake bread in one oven, - whereas in ordinary times one oven was only sufficient for one woman's baking - and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight; that is, the quantity baked will have to be weighed out in rations, before any one is allowed to take it. See 2 Kings 6:25; Isaiah 3:1; Jeremiah 14:18; and as illustrative of the last point, Ezekiel 4:16, "Behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment." Leviticus 26:36).
But if these punishments did not answer their purpose, and bring Israel back to fidelity to its God, the Lord would punish the disobedient nation still more severely, and chasten the rebellious for their sin, not simply only, but sevenfold. This He would do, so long as Israel persevered in obstinate resistance, and to this end He would multiply His judgments by degrees. This graduated advance of the judgments of God is so depicted in the following passage, that four times in succession new and multiplied punishments are announced: (1) utter barrenness in their land, - that is to say, one heavier punishment (Leviticus 26:18-20); (2) the extermination of their cattle by beasts of prey, and childlessness, - two punishments (Leviticus 26:21, Leviticus 26:22); (3) war, plague, and famine, - three punishments (Leviticus 26:23-26); (4) the destruction of all idolatrous abominations, the overthrow of their towns and holy places, the devastation of the land, and the dispersion of the people among the heathen-four punishments which would bring the Israelites to the verge of destruction (Leviticus 26:27-33). In this way would the Lord punish the stiffneckedness of His people. - These divine threats embrace the whole of Israel's future. But the series of judgments mentioned is not to be understood historically, as a prediction of the temporal succession of the different punishments, but as an ideal account of the judgments of God, unfolding themselves with inward necessity in a manner answering to the progressive development of the sin. As the nation would not resist the Lord continually, but times of disobedience and apostasy would alternate with times of obedience and faithfulness, so the judgments of God would alternate with His blessings; and as the opposition would not increase in uniform progress, sometimes becoming weaker and then at other times gaining greater force again, so the punishments would not multiply continuously, but correspond in every case to the amount of the sin, and only burst in upon the incorrigible race in all the intensity foretold, when ungodliness gained the upper hand.
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