- A general enforcement of the preceding laws, by promises of reward, and threats of punishment: Wherein is, I. A repetition of some principal commandments, verse 1, 2.
- II. A promise of all good to the obedient, verse 3-13.
- III. A threatening of terrible judgments to the disobedient, verse 14-39.
- IV. A promise of mercy to the penitent, verse 40-46.
An image - Or pillar, that is, to worship it, or bow down to it, as it follows. Otherwise this was not simply prohibited, being practised by holy men, both before and after this law.
My sanctuary - By purging and preserving it from all uncleanness, by approaching to it and managing all the services of it with reverence, and in such manner only as God hath appointed.
Rain - Therefore God placed them not in a land where there were such rivers as the Nile, to water it and make it fruitful, but in a land which depended wholly upon the rain of heaven, the key whereof God kept in his own hand, that so he might the more effectually oblige them to obedience, in which their happiness consisted.
The vintage - That is, you shall have so plentiful an harvest, that you shall not be able to thresh out your corn in a little time, but that work will last till the vintage.
The sword - That is, war, as the sword is oft taken. It shall not enter into it, nor have passage through it, much less shall your land be made the seat of war.
Five - A small number; a certain number for an uncertain.
Establish my covenant - That is, actually perform all that I have promised in my covenant made with you.
Bring forth - Or, cast out, throw them away as having no occasion to spend them, or give them to the poor, or even to your cattle, that you may make way for the new corn, which also is so plentiful, that of itself it will fill up your barns.
I will set - As I have placed it, so I will continue it among you, and not remove it from you, as once I did upon your miscarriage, Exodus 33:7.
I will walk among you - As I have hitherto done, both by my pillar of cloud and fire, and by my tabernacle, which have walked or gone along with you in all your journeys, and staid among you in all your stations, to protect, conduct, instruct, and comfort you. And I will own you for that peculiar people which I have singled out of mankind, to bless you here and to save you hereafter.
Upright - With heads lifted up, not pressed down with a yoke. It notes their liberty, security, confidence and glory.
Break my covenant - Break your part of that covenant made between me and you, and thereby discharge me from the blessings promised on my part.
That shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart - Two remarkable effects of this distemper, when it continues long. It eminently weakens the sight, and sinks the spirit. All chronical diseases are here included in the consumption, all acute in the burning ague or fever.
The pride of your power - That is, your strength of which you are proud, your numerous and united forces, your kingdom, yea, your ark and sanctuary. I will make your heaven as iron - The heavens shall yield you no rain, nor the earth fruits.
In vain - in plowing, and sowing, and tilling the ground.
The quarrel of my covenant - That is, my quarrel with you for your breach of your covenant made with me.
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.
The flesh of your sons - Through extreme hunger. See Lamentations 4:10.
High places - In which you will sacrifice after the manner of the Heathens. The carcases of your idols - So he calls them, either to signify that their idols how specious soever or glorious in their eyes, were in truth but lifeless and contemptible carcases; or to shew that their idols should be so far from helping them, that they should be thrown down and broken with them, and both should lie together in a forlorn and loathsome state.
Sanctuaries - God's sanctuary, called sanctuaries here, as also Psalms 73:17; ; Jeremiah 51:51; Ezekiel 28:18, because there were divers apartments in it, each of which was a sanctuary, or, which is all one, an holy place, as they are severally called. And yours emphatically, not mine, for I disown and abhor it, and all the services you do in it, because you have defiled it. I will not smell - Not own or accept them. Your sweet odours - Either of the incense, or of your sacrifices, which when offered with faith and obedience, are sweet and acceptable to me.
Who dwell therein - Having driven you out and possessed your places.
After you - The sword shall follow you into strange lands, and you shall have no rest there.
The land shall enjoy her sabbaths - It shall enjoy those sabbatical years of rest from tillage, which you through covetousness would not give it.
When none pursueth - Your guilt and fear causing you to imagine that they do pursue when indeed they do not.
Pine away - Be consumed and melt away by degrees through diseases, oppressions, griefs, and manifold miseries.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they have trespassed against me - That is, with their prevarication with me and defection from me to idolatry, which by way of eminency he calls their trespass: and that also they have walked contrary to me, Leviticus 26:41, and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies - That is, that they are not come into these calamities by chance, nor by the misfortune of war, but by my just judgment upon them. And, if then their uncircumcised, that is, impure, carnal, profane, and impenitent hearts be humbled, that is, subdued, purged, reformed: if to this confession they add sincere humiliation and reformation, I will do what follows.
If they accept of - The meaning is, if they sincerely acknowledge the righteousness of God and their own wickedness, and patiently submit to his correcting hand; if with David they are ready to say, it is good for them that they are afflicted, that they may learn God's statutes, and yield obedience to them for the future, which is a good evidence of true repentance.
I will remember my covenant - So as to make good all that I have promised in it. For words of knowledge or remembrance in scripture, commonly denote affection and kindness. I will remember the land - Which now seems to be forgotten and despised, as if I had never chosen it to be the peculiar place of my presence and blessing.
For I am the Lord their God - Therefore neither the desperateness of their condition, nor the greatness of their sins, shall make me wholly make void my covenant with them and their ancestors, but I will in due time remember them for good, and for my covenant's sake return to them in mercy. From this place the Jews take great comfort, and assure themselves of deliverance out of their present servitude and misery. And from this, and such other places, St. Paul concludes, that the Israelitish nation, tho' then rejected and ruined, should be gathered again and restored.
These are the laws which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel - Hereby his communion with his church is kept up. He manifests not only his dominion over them, but his favour to them, by giving them his law. And they manifest not only their holy fear, but their holy love by the observance of it. And thus it is made between them rather as a covenant than as a law: for he draws them with the cords of a man.