Leviticus 26:26
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 you shall eat, and not be satisfied.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26)And when I have broken the staff of your bread.—Better, when I break you the staff of bread, that is, when God cuts off their supply of bread, which is the staff of life. “To break the staff of bread” denotes to take away or to destroy the staff or the support which bread is to man. This metaphor also occurs in other parts of Scripture (Isaiah 3:1; Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 14:13; Psalm 105:16). This, in addition to the pestilence in the cities, which will drive them to deliver themselves up to the enemy, or rather the cause of this pestilence will be the famine which will rage in the town whither they fled for protection.

Ten women shall bake your bread in one oven.—Better, then ten women, &c., that is, so great will be the famine when God cuts off the supply, that one ordinary oven will suffice to bake the bread of ten families, who are represented by their ten women, whilst in ordinary times one oven was only sufficient for one family.

And they shall deliver you your bread again by weight.—When it is brought from the bake-house each one will not be allowed to eat as much as he requires, but will have his stinted allowance most carefully served out to him by weight. Parallel to this picture of misery is the appalling scene described by Ezekiel, “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; that they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity” (Ezekiel 4:16-17).

Leviticus 26:26. When I have broken the staff of your bread — By sending a famine, or scarcity of bread, which is the staff and support of man’s present life. Ten women — That is, ten or many families, for the women took care for the bread and food of all the family. By weight — This is a sign and consequence both of a famine, and of the baking of the bread of several families together in one oven, wherein each family took care to weigh their bread, and to receive the same proportion which they put in.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.Omit "and." "To break the staff of bread," was a proverbial expression for cutting off the supply of bread, the staff of life (Psalm 105:16; Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 14:13; compare Isaiah 3:1). The supply was to be so reduced that one oven would suffice for baking the bread maple by ten women for ten families, and when made it was to be dealt out in sparing rations by weight. See 2 Kings 6:25; Jeremiah 14:18; Lamentations 4:9; Ezekiel 5:12; Hosea 4:10; Micah 6:14; Haggai 1:6.26. ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, &c.—The bread used in families is usually baked by women, and at home. But sometimes also, in times of scarcity, it is baked in public ovens for want of fuel; and the scarcity predicted here would be so great, that one oven would be sufficient to bake as much as ten women used in ordinary occasions to provide for family use; and even this scanty portion of bread would be distributed by weight (Eze 4:16). Broken the staff of your bread; either,

1. By taking away that power and virtue of nourishing which I have put into bread or food, which when I withdraw it will be unable to nourish. Or rather,

2. By sending a famine, or scarcity of bread, which is the staff and support of man’s present life, Psalm 104:15; for so this phrase is commonly used, and elsewhere explained, as Psalm 105:16 Ezekiel 4:16, and so the following words expound it here. Ten women, i.e. ten or many families, for the women took care for the bread and food of all the family. Bread by weight: this is a sign and consequence both of a famine, and of the baking of the bread of several families together in one oven, wherein each family took care to weigh their bread, and to receive the same proportion which they put in. Compare Ezekiel 4:16. And when I have broken the staff of your bread,.... Brought a famine, at least a scarcity of provisions upon them, deprived them of bread, the staff of life, by which it is supported; or however made it very scarce among them, so that they had hardly a sufficiency to sustain nature, and perhaps the blessing of nourishment withheld from that; see Isaiah 3:1,

ten women shall bake your bread in one oven; for want of wood, according to Jarchi; or rather through scarcity of bread corn, they should have so little to bake every week, that one oven would be sufficient for ten families, which in a time of plenty each made use of one for themselves; and so Aben Ezra says, it was a custom in Israel for every family to bake in an oven by themselves, which they ate the whole week. Ten is a certain number for an uncertain, and denotes many, as in Zechariah 8:23. Making and baking bread was the work of women in the eastern countries, as we find it was particularly among the Persians (n), and continues to this day among the Moors and Arabs (o):

and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight; there being not enough for everyone to eat what they pleased, but were obliged to a rationed allowance, therefore everyone in the family should have their share delivered to him by weight; see Ezekiel 4:16,

and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied; not having enough to eat to satisfaction; or what they did eat, God would withhold a blessing from it for their nourishment, the reverse of Leviticus 26:5.

(n) Herodot. Polymnia, sive. l. 4. c. 187. (o) Shaw's Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.

And when I have broken the {n} staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one {o} oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

(n) That is, the strength by which life is sustained, Eze 4:16,5:16.

(o) One oven will be sufficient for ten families.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. your staff of bread] the bread which sustains life. For the expression see Psalm 105:16; Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 14:13, and cp. Isaiah 3:1. The rest of the v. means that the amount available for baking, and therefore the frequency with which the oven is used, will be so limited that one oven will be sufficient to serve ten families. Moreover, instead of the bread being brought home from the oven in such an abundant quantity that there is no need of weighing it, as there is obviously enough for all comers, it will then be needful to weigh it with the utmost precision, that the scanty supply may be measured out carefully to each, lest any should get more than their share.First stage of the aggravated judgments. - If they did not hearken אלּה עד, "up to these" (the punishments named in Leviticus 26:16, Leviticus 26:17), that is to say, if they persisted in their disobedience even when the judgments reached to this height, God would add a sevenfold chastisement on account of their sins, would punish them seven times more severely, and break down their strong pride by fearful drought. Seven, as the number of perfection in the works of God, denotes the strengthening of the chastisement, even to the height of its full measure (cf. Proverbs 24:16). עז גּאון, lit., the eminence or pride of strength, includes everything upon which a nation rests its might; then the pride and haughtiness which rely upon earthly might and its auxiliaries (Ezekiel 30:6, Ezekiel 30:18; Ezekiel 33:28); here it signifies the pride of a nation, puffed up by the fruitfulness and rich produce of its land. God would make their heaven (the sky of their land) like iron and their earth like brass, i.e., as hard and dry as metal, so that not a drop of rain and dew would fall from heaven to moisten the earth, and not a plant could grow out of the earth (cf. Deuteronomy 28:23); and when the land was cultivated, the people would exhaust their strength for nought. תּמם, consumi.
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