Leviticus 26:31
And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) I will make your cities waste.—Not only will the elevated spots outside the cities with their idols be destroyed, and the carcases of the deluded worshippers be scattered among their remains, but the cities themselves will be converted into ruins and desolations (Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 9:11; Ezekiel 6:6; Ezekiel 12:20; Nehemiah 2:17, &c.).

And bring your sanctuaries unto desolation.—Even the sanctuary with all its holy places (Jeremiah 51:51; Ezekiel 21:7; Amos 7:9; Pss. 68:36, Psalm 74:7. &c.), sacred edifices, synagogues, &c. (Leviticus 21:23), will not be spared, God thus reversing the promise which He made to the Israelites, that He will set up His dwelling place in the midst of them (see Leviticus 26:11) if they will walk according to His commandments.

I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.—When this awful destruction of the sanctuary is to take place God will not regard the fact that the odour of sweet sacrifices is there being offered up. (See Leviticus 1:9.) The service which may then be performed to Him will not hinder Him from executing this judgment.

Leviticus 26:31. Your sanctuaries into desolation — The sanctuary of God, though but one, is expressed in the plural number here, as it is also Psalm 73:17; and Psalm 84:7; Jeremiah 51:51; and Ezekiel 28:18; because there were divers apartments in it, each of which was a sanctuary, or holy place. God vouchsafes not to call it his own, but theirs, to show that by their wickedness it would be polluted and rendered unworthy of him, and that therefore he would disown and abhor it, and all the services which they should perform in it; which was most awfully fulfilled. The savour of your sweet odours — The incense made of several sweet spices, which was daily offered to God in the sanctuary. These, though when offered to God with faith and obedience they were sweet and acceptable to him, he here threatens he will not smell, or accept, as being presented in hypocrisy and unbelief. The expression is metaphorical, and signifies that neither their prayers nor sacrifices should be accepted.

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.Sanctuaries - The holy places in the tabernacle and the temple (Psalm 68:35. Compare Psalm 74:7).

I will not smell the savor ... - See Leviticus 1:9.

31. I will make your cities waste—This destruction of its numerous and flourishing cities, which was brought upon Judea through the sins of Israel, took place by the forced removal of the people during, and long after, the captivity. But it is realized to a far greater extent now.

bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours—the tabernacle and temple, as is evident from the tenor of the subsequent clause, in which God announces that He will not accept or regard their sacrifices.

Your sanctuaries; either,

1. God’s sanctuary, called sanctuaries here, as also Psalm 73:17 74:7 Jeremiah 51:51 Ezekiel 28:18, because there were divers apartments in it, each of which was a sanctuary, or, which is all one, a holy place, as they are severally called. And your emphatically, not mine, for I disown and abhor it, and all the services you do in it, because you have defiled it. Or,

2. The temples built by you to idols, therefore called

their sanctuaries, in opposition to God’s. Or,

3. Your synagogues. But the first is most probable, because he speaks of the place where they used to offer their sweet odours here following.

I will not smell, i.e. not own or accept them. See Genesis 8:21 Isaiah 1:11, &c.

Of your sweet odours; either of the incense, or of your sacrifices, which when offered with faith and obedience, are very sweet and acceptable to me.

I will make your cities waste,.... By suffering the enemy to besiege them, enter into them, and plunder them, and destroy the houses in them, and reduce them to the most desolate condition, as Jerusalem, their metropolis, was more than once:

and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation; the temple, so called from the several apartments in it, the court, the holy place, and the most holy; or rather both sanctuaries or temples are intended, the first built by Solomon, and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; the second rebuilt by Zerubbabel, and adorned by Herod, and reduced to ashes by Titus Vespasian: the Jews understand this of their synagogues, which were many both in Jerusalem, and in other parts of their country, but cannot be intended, since it follows:

and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours: of their incense offered on the altar of incense; or the savour of their offerings, as the Targum of Jonathan, of their burnt offerings, and the fat of their other offerings burnt on the altar of burnt offering; signifying, that these would not be acceptable to him, or he smell a savour of rest in them; see Genesis 8:21; now these were only offered in the temple, not in synagogues.

And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I {p} will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.

(p) I will not accept your sacrifices.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. I will not smell, etc.] Cp. Isaiah 1:11 ff.; Amos 5:21 f.

Leviticus 26:31Their towns and their sanctuaries He would destroy, because He took no pleasure in their sacrificial worship. מקדּשׁים are the holy things of the worship of Jehovah, the tabernacle and temple, with their altars and the rest of their holy furniture, as in Psalm 68:36; Psalm 74:7. ניחח ריח (Leviticus 1:9) is the odour of the sacrifice; and ריח, to smell, an anthropomorphic designation of divine satisfaction (cf. Amos 5:21; Isaiah 11:3).
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