New English Translation
Exhortation to Obedience
26 “‘You must not make for yourselves idols,[a] so you must not set up for yourselves a carved image or a pillar, and you must not place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down before[b] it, for I am the Lord your God. 2 You must keep my Sabbaths and reverence[c] my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
The Benefits of Obedience
3 “‘If you walk in my statutes and are sure to obey my commandments,[d] 4 I will give you your rains in their time so that[e] the land will give its yield and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.[f] 5 Threshing season will extend for you until the season for harvesting grapes,[g] and the season for harvesting grapes will extend until sowing season, so[h] you will eat your bread until you are satisfied,[i] and you will live securely in your land. 6 I will grant peace in the land so that[j] you will lie down to sleep without anyone terrifying you.[k] I will remove harmful animals[l] from the land, and no sword of war[m] will pass through your land. 7 You will pursue your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword.[n] 8 Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. 9 I will turn to you, make you fruitful, multiply you, and maintain[o] my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating stored produce from the previous year[p] and will have to clean out what is stored from the previous year to make room for new.[q]
11 “‘I will put my tabernacle[r] in your midst and I will not abhor you.[s] 12 I will walk among you, and I will be your God and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from being their slaves,[t] and I broke the bars of your yoke and caused you to walk upright.[u]
The Consequences of Disobedience
14 “‘If, however,[v] you do not obey me and keep[w] all these commandments— 15 if you reject my statutes and abhor my regulations so that you do not keep[x] all my commandments and you break my covenant— 16 I for my part[y] will do this to you: I will inflict horror on you, consumption and fever, which diminish eyesight and drain away the vitality of life.[z] You will sow your seed in vain because[aa] your enemies will eat it.[ab] 17 I will set my face against you. You will be struck down before your enemies, those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when there is no one pursuing you.
18 “‘If, in spite of all these things,[ac] you do not obey me, I will discipline you seven times more on account of your sins.[ad] 19 I will break your strong pride and make your sky like iron and your land like bronze. 20 Your strength will be used up in vain, your land will not give its yield, and the trees of the land[ae] will not produce their fruit.
21 “‘If you walk in hostility against me[af] and are not willing to obey me, I will increase your affliction[ag] seven times according to your sins. 22 I will send the wild animals[ah] against you and they will bereave you of your children,[ai] annihilate your cattle, and diminish your population[aj] so that your roads will become deserted.
23 “‘If in spite of these things[ak] you do not allow yourselves to be disciplined and you walk in hostility against me,[al] 24 then I myself will also walk in hostility against you and strike you[am] seven times on account of your sins. 25 I will bring on you an avenging sword, a covenant vengeance.[an] Although[ao] you will gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you and you will be given into enemy hands.[ap] 26 When I break off your supply of bread,[aq] ten women will bake your bread in one oven; they will ration your bread by weight,[ar] and you will eat and not be satisfied.
27 “‘If in spite of this[as] you do not obey me but walk in hostility against me,[at] 28 I will walk in hostile rage against you[au] and I myself will also discipline you seven times on account of your sins. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.[av] 30 I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars,[aw] and I will stack your dead bodies on top of the lifeless bodies of your idols.[ax] I will abhor you.[ay] 31 I will lay your cities waste[az] and make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will refuse to smell your soothing aromas. 32 I myself will make the land desolate and your enemies who live in it will be appalled. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and unsheathe the sword[ba] after you, so your land will become desolate and your cities will become a waste.
34 “‘Then the land will make up for[bb] its Sabbaths all the days it lies desolate while you are in the land of your enemies; then the land will rest and make up its Sabbaths. 35 All the days of the desolation it will have the rest it did not have[bc] on your Sabbaths when you lived on it.
36 “‘As for[bd] the ones who remain among you, I will bring despair into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a blowing leaf will pursue them, and they will flee as one who flees the sword and will fall down even though there is no pursuer. 37 They will stumble over each other as those who flee before a sword, though[be] there is no pursuer, and there will be no one to take a stand[bf] for you before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will consume you.
Restoration through Confession and Repentance
39 “‘As for the ones who remain among you, they will rot away because of[bg] their iniquity in the lands of your enemies, and they will also rot away because of their ancestors’[bh] iniquities which are with them. 40 However, when[bi] they confess their iniquity and their ancestors’ iniquities which they committed by trespassing against me,[bj] by which they also walked[bk] in hostility against me[bl] 41 (and I myself will walk in hostility against them and bring them into the land of their enemies), and[bm] then their uncircumcised hearts become humbled and they make up for[bn] their iniquities, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham,[bo] and I will remember the land. 43 The land will be abandoned by them[bp] in order that it may make up for[bq] its Sabbaths while it is made desolate[br] without them,[bs] and they will make up for their iniquity because[bt] they have rejected my regulations and have abhorred[bu] my statutes. 44 In spite of this, however, when they are in the land of their enemies I will not reject them and abhor them to make a complete end of them, to break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God. 45 I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors[bv] whom I brought out from the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.’”
- Leviticus 26:1 sn For the literature regarding the difficult etymology and meaning of the term for “idols” (אֱלִילִם, ʾelilim), see the literature cited in the note on Lev 19:4. It appears to be a diminutive play on words with אֵל (ʾel, “god, God”) and, perhaps at the same time, recalls a common Semitic word for “worthless, weak, powerless, nothingness.” Snaith suggests a rendering of “worthless godlings.”
- Leviticus 26:1 tn Heb “on.” The “sculpted stone” appears to be some sort of stone with images carved into (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 181, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 449).
- Leviticus 26:2 tn Heb “and my sanctuary you shall fear.” Cf. NCV “respect”; CEV “honor.”
- Leviticus 26:3 tn Heb “and my commandments you shall keep and do them.” This appears to be a kind of verbal hendiadys, where the first verb is a modifier of the action of the second verb (see GKC 386 §120.d, although שָׁמַר [shamar, “to keep”] is not cited there; cf. Lev 20:8; 25:18, etc.).
- Leviticus 26:4 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.
- Leviticus 26:4 tn Heb “the tree of the field will give its fruit.” As a collective singular this has been translated as plural.
- Leviticus 26:5 tn Heb “will reach for you the vintage season.”
- Leviticus 26:5 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.
- Leviticus 26:5 tn Heb “to satisfaction”; KJV, ASV, NASB “to the full.”
- Leviticus 26:6 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.
- Leviticus 26:6 tn Heb “and there will be no one who terrifies.” The words “to sleep” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Leviticus 26:6 tn Heb “harmful animal,” singular, but taken here as a collective plural (so almost all English versions).
- Leviticus 26:6 tn Heb “no sword”; the words “of war” are supplied in the translation to indicate what the metaphor of the sword represents.
- Leviticus 26:7 tn Heb “to the sword.”
- Leviticus 26:9 tn Heb “cause to arise,” but probably used here for the Lord’s intention of confirming or maintaining the covenant commitment made at Sinai. Cf. KJV “establish”; NASB “will confirm”; NAB “carry out”; NIV “will keep.”
- Leviticus 26:10 tn Heb “old [produce] growing old.”
- Leviticus 26:10 tn Heb “and old from the presence of new you will bring out.”
- Leviticus 26:11 tn LXX codexes Vaticanus and Alexandrinus have “my covenant” rather than “my tabernacle.” Cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV “my dwelling.”
- Leviticus 26:11 tn Heb “and my soul [נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh] will not abhor you.”
- Leviticus 26:13 tn Heb “from being to them slaves.”
- Leviticus 26:13 tn In other words, to walk as free people and not as slaves. Cf. NIV “with (+ your CEV, NLT) heads held high”; NCV “proudly.”
- Leviticus 26:14 tn Heb “And if.”
- Leviticus 26:14 tn Heb “and do not do.”
- Leviticus 26:15 tn Heb “to not do.”
- Leviticus 26:16 tn Or “I also” (see HALOT 76 s.v. אַף 6.b).
- Leviticus 26:16 tn Heb “soul.” These expressions may refer either to the physical effects of consumption and fever as the rendering in the text suggests (e.g., J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 452, 454, “diminishing eyesight and loss of appetite”), or perhaps the more psychological effects, “which exhausts the eyes” because of anxious hope “and causes depression” (Heb “causes soul [נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh] to pine away”), e.g., B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 185.
- Leviticus 26:16 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have causal force here.
- Leviticus 26:16 tn That is, “your enemies will eat” the produce that grows from the sown seed.
- Leviticus 26:18 tn Heb “And if until these.”
- Leviticus 26:18 tn Heb “I will add to discipline you seven [times] on your sins.”
- Leviticus 26:20 tn Heb “the tree of the land will not give its fruit.” The collective singular has been translated as a plural. One Hebrew ms from Cairo Geniza, other medieval Hebrew mss, Smr, LXX, and Tg. Ps.-J. have “the field” as in v. 4, rather than “the land.”
- Leviticus 26:21 tn Heb “hostile with me,” but see the added preposition ב (bet) on the phrase “in hostility” in v. 24 and 27.
- Leviticus 26:21 tn Heb “your blow, stroke”; cf. TEV “punishment”; NLT “I will inflict you with seven more disasters.”
- Leviticus 26:22 tn Heb “the animal of the field.” This collective singular has been translated as a plural. The expression “animal of the field” refers to a wild (i.e., nondomesticated) animal.
- Leviticus 26:22 tn The words “of your children” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
- Leviticus 26:22 tn Heb “and diminish you.”
- Leviticus 26:23 tn Heb “And if in these.”
- Leviticus 26:23 tn Heb “with me,” but see the added preposition ב (bet) on the phrase “in hostility” in vv. 24 and 27.
- Leviticus 26:24 tn Heb “and I myself will also strike you.”
- Leviticus 26:25 tn Heb “vengeance of covenant”; cf. NAB “the avenger of my covenant.”
- Leviticus 26:25 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) has a concessive force in this context.
- Leviticus 26:25 tn Heb “in hand of enemy,” but Tg. Ps.-J. and Tg. Neof. have “in the hands of your enemies” (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 454).
- Leviticus 26:26 tn Heb “When I break to you staff of bread” (KJV, ASV, and NASB all similar).
- Leviticus 26:26 tn Heb “they will return your bread in weight.”
- Leviticus 26:27 tn Heb “And if in this.”
- Leviticus 26:27 tn Heb “with me.”
- Leviticus 26:28 tn Heb “in rage of hostility with you”; NASB “with wrathful hostility”; NRSV “I will continue hostile to you in fury”; CEV “I’ll get really furious.”
- Leviticus 26:29 tn Heb “and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.” The phrase “you will eat” has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Leviticus 26:30 sn Regarding these cultic installations, see the remarks in B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 188, and R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:903. The term rendered “incense altars” might better be rendered “sanctuaries [of foreign deities]” or “stelae.”
- Leviticus 26:30 tn The translation reflects the Hebrew wordplay “your corpses…the corpses of your idols.” Since idols, being lifeless, do not really have “corpses,” the translation uses “dead bodies” for people and “lifeless bodies” for the idols.
- Leviticus 26:30 tn Heb “and my soul will abhor you.”
- Leviticus 26:31 tn Heb “And I will give your cities a waste”; NLT “make your cities desolate.”
- Leviticus 26:33 tn Heb “and I will empty sword” (see HALOT 1228 s.v. ריק 3).
- Leviticus 26:34 tn There are two Hebrew roots רָצָה (ratsah), one meaning “to be pleased with; to take pleasure” (HALOT 1280-81 s.v. רצה; cf. “enjoy” in NASB, NIV, NRSV, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 452), and the other meaning “to restore” (HALOT 1281-82 s.v. II רצה; cf. NAB “retrieve” and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 189).
- Leviticus 26:35 tn Heb “it shall rest which it did not rest.”
- Leviticus 26:36 tn Heb “And.”
- Leviticus 26:37 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) is used in a concessive sense here.
- Leviticus 26:37 tn The term rendered “to stand up” is a noun, not an infinitive. It occurs only here and appears to designate someone who would take a powerful stand for them against their enemies.
- Leviticus 26:39 tn Heb “in” (so KJV, ASV; also later in this verse).
- Leviticus 26:39 tn Heb “fathers’” (also in the following verse).
- Leviticus 26:40 tn Heb “And.” Many English versions take this to be a conditional clause (“if…”) though there is no conditional particle (see, e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV; but see the very different rendering in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 190). The temporal translation offered here (“when”) takes into account the particle אָז (ʾaz, “then”), which occurs twice in v. 41. The obvious contextual contrast between vv. 39 and 40 is expressed by “however” in the translation.
- Leviticus 26:40 tn Heb “in their trespassing which they trespassed in me.” See the note on Lev 5:15, although the term is used in a more technical sense there in relation to the “guilt offering.”
- Leviticus 26:40 tn Heb “and also which they walked.”
- Leviticus 26:40 tn Heb “with me.”
- Leviticus 26:41 tn Heb “or then,” although the LXX has “then” and the Syriac “and then.”
- Leviticus 26:41 tn Heb “and then they make up for.” On the verb “make up for” see the note on v. 34 above.
- Leviticus 26:42 tn Heb “my covenant with Abraham I will remember.” The phrase “I will remember” has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Leviticus 26:43 tn Heb “from them.” The preposition “from” refers here to the agent of the action (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 455).
- Leviticus 26:43 tn The jussive form of the verb with the simple vav (ו) here calls for a translation that expresses purpose.
- Leviticus 26:43 tn The verb is the Hophal infinitive construct with the third feminine singular suffix (GKC 182 §67.y; cf. v. 34).
- Leviticus 26:43 tn Heb “from them.”
- Leviticus 26:43 tn Heb “because and in because,” a double expression, which is used only here and in Ezek 13:10 (without the vav) for emphasis (GKC 492 §158.b).
- Leviticus 26:43 tn Heb “and their soul has abhorred.”
- Leviticus 26:45 tn Heb “covenant of former ones.” sn For similar expressions referring back to the ancestors who refused to follow the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant see, for example, Deut 19:14, Jer 11:10, and Ps 79:8 (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 192, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 471).
- Leviticus 26:46 tn Heb “gave” (so NLT); KJV, ASV, NCV “made.”
- Leviticus 26:46 tn Heb “by the hand of” (so KJV).