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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



LEVITICUS 26

 

CHAPTER XXVI.

 

Ver. 1.  To adore it.  This explains the prohibition of making graven things, &c.  The Protestants translate as usual, "Ye shall make you no idols, nor graven image, neither rear ye up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land to bow down unto it."  They seem terribly afraid of images, as if they were all idols.  See Ex. xx. 4.  H. --- Pillars.  Heb. mattseba, "statue, or monument."  Such were erected by Jacob, Josue, and even by Moses himself, without any offence or danger of idolatry.  Gen. xxviii. 18.  Jos. iv. 4.  Ex. xxiv. 4.  Apuleius (Flor.) makes mention, among other species of superstition, "of a stone anointed, and of an altar crowned with flowers." --- The stone, which is here condemned, is one set up "for adoration."  Onkelos. --- Heb. "a stone of sight," placed on some eminence, or on the high roads.  Strabo, (xvii.) speaking of those which he had seen in Egypt along the roads, says, "they are lofty, polished, and almost like a sphere, some 12 feet in diameter.  There are sometimes three, of different dimensions, one upon another.  Some were to be seen upon Mount Libanus.  They were objects of adoration."  The Greeks raised heaps of stones on the high roads, in  honour of Mercury.  Prov. xxvi. 7.  C. --- We are not forbidden to place land-marks, &c.: but we must not adore them.  D.

 

Ver. 2.  Reverence.  The Rabbins inform us, with what respect their ancestors appeared in the temple.  They left their sticks and shoes behind them, and washed their feet; entering solely to perform some act of religion, and not to go a shorter road to another street.  When they had ended their devotions, they retired slowly without turning their back to the sanctuary.  Outram, Sacrif. lib. 3. n. 7.

 

Ver. 3.  Due seasons.  Before harvest, in spring; and after that in autumn, when they sow their wheat and barley in Palestine.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Time.  So great shall be the abundance, that you will scarcely have time to get all the work done before you will be called off to something else.  H. --- These promises would be so much the more agreeable to them, as in Egypt they had been forced to keep in their houses two or three months together, on account of the overflowing of the Nile.  In that country, as well as in Greece and Palestine, people sow both wheat and barley about October; while in other countries the latter is sown in spring.  The harvest is ready in about six months, and that of wheat in seven.  Plin. xiii. 19.  Hesiod, ep. 2.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Five.  Thus Gedeon's 300 men put to flight the great army of the Madianites; (Jud. vii. 22,) and the Machabees destroyed vast numbers with a small force.

 

Ver. 10.  Old; Being unable to consume all.  M. --- Heb. "ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new."  Sept. "you shall eat the old of old, and you shall bring out the old from the face of the new."  Like a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasury new things and old.  Matt. xiii. 52.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Upright; and be no longer bowed down with a heavy yoke, like oxen.  "I have broken the locks of your prison, and have set you at liberty."  Arab.  C. --- A Greek proverb says, "Never was a slave's head right, but always crooked, like his neck."  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Heat.  Heb. kaddachath, is rendered "scab and jaundice," by the Sept.: and by others "a dangerous wind," like that which causes so many diseases in Egypt.  The precise meaning of some terms in this verse is not well known.

 

Ver. 18.  More, (septuplum.)  "Very often, or very much;" in which sense it is used in this chapter.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  As brass (├Žneam).  "Brazen," without moisture, and barren.  Onkelos.

 

Ver. 22.  Desolate, none being left to frequent them; or the few who remain, shall keep within doors, lest the wild beasts should meet and devour them.  Isai. xxxiii. 8.

 

Ver. 26.  Bread; or that which supports you.  You shall be deprived of the necessaries of life. --- One oven shall be used by 10 families, so little bread shall be baked, and even that little shall be delivered out by weight.  I will also deprive it of its nutritive qualities, so that it shall not satisfy your craving appetite.  C.  See Ps. civ. 16.  Isai. iii. 1.

 

Ver. 28.  Fury.  You will gain nothing by opposing me, but your own destruction.  I will treat you, as you would deal with me.  H.

 

Ver. 29.  Daughters.  To such extremities were the Jews reduced, at the sieges of Samaria and Jerusalem.  4 K. vi. 28.  Lament. iv. 10.  Josep. Bel. vii. 8.

 

Ver. 30.  Places.  The temple of Solomon was built on Mount Moria or Sion.  The Persians sacrificed upon the mountains, and the Romans and Athenians built their most magnificent temples on the highest parts of their respective cities. --- Idols.  Heb. chammanim, denotes the chariots dedicated to the sun; (4 K. xxiii. 11,) or the pyreia, or enclosures for the sacred fire, in honour of the god Homanus, (Strabo xv.) whose name is probably derived from this Hebrew word, (C.) as well as Hammon, a title of Jupiter.  M. --- Ruins.  Heb. "and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your gods of dirt, and my soul shall vomit you out."  The Egyptians embalmed the carcasses of their sacred animals.  God threatens that, if his people be so stupid as to adore them, they shall die, and be deprived of sepulture.

 

Ver. 31.  Odours.  Even the sanctuary of the Lord shall be destroyed, as you will be unworthy to have it among you, or to offer sacrifices to me.  H.

 

Ver. 34.  Desolation.  It shall be uncultivated; and though you would not comply with my injunctions to let it rest one year out of seven, it shall now remain desolate for many years together.  H. --- Theodoret (q. 37,) says for 70 years; the number of sabbatic years, from the reign of Saul till the captivity of Babylon, during the space of 490 years.  This verse seems evidently to allude to those days of distress.  C.  2 Par. xxxvi. 21. --- But we can hardly suppose that none of the sabbatic years should have been duly observed during the reigns of David, Solomon, &c.  H. --- Instead of enjoy, Heb. may be "shall expiate her sabbaths," or the neglect of them.  The same term, tirtse, is used, (v. 41. 43,) and the Vulg. generally renders it agreeable, speaking of sacrifices.  C. i. 4. xxii. 20.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  Your sabbaths, holidays and years of rest, and of jubilee.  The earth is represented as entering into the views of God, and rejoicing at his judgments.  H.

 

Ver. 36.  Fear.  Sept. "timidity, or slavishness."  Heb. morec, "softness and inactivity."  C. --- Their haughty temper shall be broken; and though they have dared to rebel against their God, the fall of a leaf shall now terrify them.  H.

 

Ver. 37.  Brethren, in their flight; while each one is endeavouring to save himself.  The Rabbins say they shall be punished for the sins of their brethren, if they have not endeavoured to prevent them.

 

Ver. 38.  Consume you.  The Hebrew spies said that the land of Chanaan devoured its inhabitants.  Such shall be in reality the enemies' country in your regard.  You shall not be able to establish yourselves or be happy there.

 

Ver. 39.  Own.  The sins of their fathers, which they have imitated, shall fall upon them; so that they shall pine away with remorse and misery.

 

Ver. 41.  Mind.  Heb. "heart," wicked, rebellious, and unclean.  M. --- Pray for.  Heb. and Syr. "please themselves in," &c.  They shall see what advantage they have derived from their sins.  C. --- Then they shall enter into themselves, like the prodigal son.  H.

 

Ver. 42.  Jacob is placed first because he was the father of no other nation; as Abraham and Isaac were.  W.

 

Ver. 44.  I did not.  He speaks of a future event, which he sees will certainly come to pass, as if it had already happened.  As God had preserved his people, in Egypt, conformably to his covenant with the patriarchs, so he will be reconciled to them, after they shall have done penance, and acknowledged all their excesses, in the captivity of Babylon.  H. --- The church never ceases all together.  W.

 

Ver. 45.  Moses.  What has been hitherto recorded, was mostly prescribed by God at Mount Sinai, as some of the following laws were also.  C. --- It would seem as if this were the conclusion of Leviticus.  We must remember, however, that these divisions were not introduced by Moses, as he wrote his five books without any interruption, like one verse.  So S. John seems to conclude his Gospel, (C. xx. 31.) though he afterwards adds another chapter.  H.

 

 








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