Leviticus 26:36
And on them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursues.
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(36, 37) And upon them that are left alive of you.—Better, And as to those that remain of you, as the Authorised Version generally renders this expression. This obviates the insertion of the expression “alive,” which is not in the original, and is not put in the Authorised Version in Leviticus 26:39, where the same phrase occurs. Where these will remain is explained in the next clause.

I will send a faintness into their hearts.—That is, He will implant in them such timidity and cowardice that they will be frightened at the faintest sound. He will make life a misery to them. (Comp. Deuteronomy 28:65-67.)

Leviticus 26:36. The sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them — A very significant phrase, importing that they should sink into a state of the most slavish fear and despicable cowardice.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.More literally: All the days of its desolation shall it rest that time which it rested not in your Sabbaths while ye dwelt upon it. That is, the periods of rest of which the land had been deprived would be made up to it. Compare 2 Chronicles 36:20-21.34. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, &c.—A long arrear of sabbatic years had accumulated through the avarice and apostasy of the Israelites, who had deprived their land of its appointed season of rest. The number of those sabbatic years seems to have been seventy, as determined by the duration of the captivity. This early prediction is very remarkable, considering that the usual policy of the Assyrian conquerors was to send colonies to cultivate and inhabit their newly acquired provinces. Faintness: the word notes a tenderness and softness of mind, whereby they are disenabled from bearing the present miseries, and are in continual dread of further and sorer miseries. And upon them that are left alive of you,.... In the land of Judea, or rather scattered about among the nations, suggesting that these would be comparatively few:

I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; or "a softness" (y); so that they should be effeminate, pusillanimous, and cowardly, have nothing of a manly spirit and courage in them; but be mean spirited and faint hearted, as the Jews are noted to be at this day, as Bishop Patrick observes; who also adds,"it being scarce ever heard, that a Jew listed himself for a soldier, or engaged in the defence of his country where he lives:"

and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; either the sound of a leaf that falls from the tree, as the Targum of Jonathan, or which the wind beats one against another, as Jarchi, which makes some little noise; even this should terrify them, taking it to be the noise of some enemy near at hand, just ready to fall on them; such poor faint hearted creatures should they be:

and they shall flee as fleeing from the sword; as if there were an army of soldiers with their swords drawn pursuing them:

and they shall fall when none pursueth; fall upon the ground, and into a fit, and drop down as if dead, as if they had been really wounded with a sword and slain, see Proverbs 28:1.

(y) "mollitiem", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall {s} flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.

(s) As if their enemies chased them.

36. the sound of driven leaf] Cp. Leviticus 26:17; Proverbs 28:1.Verses 36-39. - The final punishment. Upon them that are left, that is, the surviving captives and exiles, I will send a faintness into their hearts, - so Ezekiel 21:7, "And every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water" -... and the sound of a shaken (or driven) leaf shall chase them;... and they shall fall,... and ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands. This is the concluding threat. It is conditional in its nature, and the condition having been fulfilled, we may say with reverence that it has been accomplished. Those of the ten tribes who did not find their way to Babylon, and so became absorbed in the body which returned to Jerusalem, have been eaten up by the land of their enemies, and have pined away in their enemies' lands. Neither they nor their descendants are to be found in any part of the globe, however much investigation may employ itself in searching for them. They have been absorbed by the populations among which they were scattered. Fourth and severest stage. - If they should still persist in their opposition, God would chastise them with wrathful meeting, yea, punish them so severely in His wrath, that they would be compelled to eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, i.e., to slay their own children and eat them in the extremity of their hunger, - a fact which literally occurred in Samaria in the period of the Syrians (2 Kings 6:28-29), and in Jerusalem in that of the Chaldeans (Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10), and in the Roman war of extermination under Titus (Josephus bell. jud. v. 10, 3) in the most appalling manner. Eating the flesh of their own children is mentioned first, as indicating the extremity of the misery and wretchedness in which the people would perish; and after this, the judgment, by which the nation would be brought to this extremity, is more minutely described in its four principal features: viz., (1) the destruction of all idolatrous abominations (Leviticus 26:30); (2) the overthrow of the towns and sanctuaries (Leviticus 26:31); (3) the devastation of the land, to the amazement of the enemies who dwelt therein (Leviticus 26:32); and (4) the dispersion of the people among the heathen (Leviticus 26:33). The "high places" are altars erected upon heights and mountains in the land, upon which sacrifices were offered both to Jehovah in an unlawful way and also to heathen deities. חמּנים, sun-pillars, are idols of the Canaanitish nature-worship, either simple pillars dedicated to Baal, or idolatrous statues of the sun-god (cf. Movers Phnizier i. pp. 343ff.). "And I give your carcases upon the carcases of your idols." גּלּלים, lit., clods, from גּלל to roll, a contemptuous expression for idols. With the idols the idolaters also were to perish, and defile with their corpses the images, which had also become corpses as it were, through their overthrow and destruction. For the further execution of this threat, see Ezekiel 6:4. This will be your lot, for "My soul rejects you." By virtue of the inward character of His holy nature, Jehovah must abhor and reject the sinner.
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