Leviticus ot esources collection compiled and prepared by Dr. Ted Hildebrandt Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Rd. Wenham, ma 01984 faculty gordon edu—Biblical Studies Dept. For my students and students of the Bible

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compiled and prepared by

Dr. Ted Hildebrandt

Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Rd.

Wenham, MA 01984

faculty.gordon.edu—Biblical Studies Dept.

For my students and students of the Bible


Table of Contents for

Leviticus Articles at Gordon College

available online in *.doc, *.pdf, *.html, and audio *.mp3
Compiled and prepared by Ted Hildebrandt

Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Rd., Wenham, MA 01984

freely available at: faculty.gordon.edu – Humanities/Biblical Studies Dept.

also available are:

Bonar’s Commentary on Leviticus (518 pgs.),

Barrick’s Dissertation on Lev. 26 (244 pgs.), and

Kurtz’s Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament (450 pgs.).
any errors or suggestions write to: thildebrandt@gordon.edu


Barrick, William D. “The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26.”

Paper presented at the National Evangelical Theological Society,

Nov. 1999. p. 4

---. “Inter-Covenantal Truth and Relevance Leviticus 26 and the Biblical Covenants.” 1999. p.36

Cole, H. R. “The Sabbath and the Alien,” Andrews University Seminary

Studies 38.2 (Autumn 2000) 223-29. p. 56

De Young, James. “A Critique of Prohomosexual Interpretations of the Old

Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha,” Bibliotheca Sacra 147

(588) (1990) 437-54. p. 63

Feinberg, Charles L. “The Scapegoat of Leviticus Sixteen,” Bibliotheca

115 (1958) 320-33. p. 81

Gardiner, Frederic. “The Relation of Ezekiel to the Levitical Law,”

Journal of Biblical Literature 1 (1881) 172-205. p. 95

Helm, Robert. “Azazel in Early Jewish Tradition,” Andrews University

Seminary Studies, 32.3 (Autumn 1994) 217-26. p. 129

Hubbard, R. L. “The Go’el in Ancient Israel: Theological Reflections

on an Israelite Institution,” BBR 1 (1991) 3-19. p. 139

Hui, Timothy K. “The Purpose of Israel’s Annual Feasts,” Bibliotheca

Sacra 147 (1990) 143-54. p. 156

Jastrow, M. "The So-Called 'Leprosy' Laws." Jewish Quarterly Review

(1913-14) 357-418. p. 168

Key, Thomas and Robert Allen. “The Levitical Dietary Laws in the Light

of Modern Science,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation

26 (1974) 61-64. p. 230

Klingbeil, Gerald. “The Anointing of Aaron: A Study of Leviticus 8:12

In Its OT and ANE Context,” Andrews University Seminary Studies

38.2 (Autumn 2000) 231-43. p. 240

Leder, Arie C. and David A. Vroege. “Reading and Hearing Leviticus,”

Calvin Theological Journal 34 (1999) 431-42. p. 253

Masterman, E. "Hygiene and Disease in Palestine in Modern and in Biblical

Times." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 50 (1918): 13-20, 56-71,

112-19. p. 265

Moore, M. “Haggo’el: The Cultural Gyroscope of Ancient Hebrew

Society,” Restoration Quarterly 23 (1980) 27-35. p. 297

Paton, Lewis B. “The Holiness-Code and Ezekiel,” The Presbyterian and

Reformed Review 26 (1896) 98-115. p. 306

Peritz, Ismar J. “Woman in the Ancient Hebrew Cult,” Journal of Biblical

Literature 17 (1898) 111-48. p. 324

Rodriguez, Angel M. “Leviticus 16: Its Literary Structure,” Andrews

University Seminary Studies 34.2 (Autumn 1996) 269-86. p. 362

Ryrie, Charles C. “The Cleansing of the Leper,” Bibliotheca Sacra 113

(1956) 262-67. p. 380

Strawn, Brent A. “The X-Factor: Revisioning Biblical Holiness,”

The Asbury Theological Journal 54.2 (Fall, 1999) 73-92. p. 386

Ukleja, P. Michael. “Homosexuality and the Old Testament,”

Bibliotheca Sacra 140 (1983) 259-66. p. 406

Unger, Merrill F. “The Significance of the Sabbath,” Bibliotheca Sacra

123 (1966) 51-59. p. 414

End p. 420

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26

Copyright © 1999 by William D. Barrick. Cited with permission.

William D. Barrick, Th. D.

Professor of OT

The Master's Seminary

Sun Valley, CA

At the outset of this paper I wish to draw attention to its incompleteness and imperfections. Many factors

have contributed to this condition, not the least of which was the flooding of our household in the week

prior to ETS. The reader will note that there is no formal conclusion. This paper is presented as a work in

progress intended to incite its author and its readers to a more extensive study of Leviticus 26 and its

eschatological significance.

The Book of Leviticus is not noted for its eschatological content. Its theological

focus is on holiness.1 As the people of God, the Israelites were called to holiness in their

worship and in their daily living. Chapters 1--7 present the elements of a sacrificial

system providing for an outward manifestation of individual and corporate covenant

communion. The chief purpose of the sacrificial system was to exhibit continual

fellowship between the people of the covenant and the God of the covenant.

Chapters 8-10 define the priestly ministry. The priests were the caretakers of the

covenant relationship exhibited in the sacrificial system. Chapters 11-15 describe the

purity Yahweh required of His people in order that surrounding nations might recognize

Israel's identification with Him. The covenant community was summoned to a lifestyle

distinct from neighboring nations. Chapter 16 reveals that the Day of Atonement

provided the community with an annual renewal of the covenant. That day highlighted

the sovereign rule of Yahweh over the nation of Israel. The divine Suzerain blessed His

covenanted people by granting them His continued presence among them (16:16; cf. vv.


Chapters 17-24 prescribe in detail the ordinances by which the covenant

community was bound. This legislation affected their diet, social relationships, religious

leadership, calendar, and center of worship. The calendar (chapter 23) focused on the

seventh month with its three major observances (vv. 23-43). Eschatological overtones in

the realm of kingship and kingdom were especially prominent in the New Year

celebration (also known as the Feast of Trumpets, vv. 23-25).2

Chapters 25 and 26 emphasize the monotheistic and sabbatical principles that were

the two great supporting pillars of the Sinaitic Covenant (cf. 25:55-26:3 and Exod 20:2-

11). Gerstenberger admits that Isaiah 61:1-2 together with Luke 4:16-21 suggests that

Leviticus 25 should be read eschatologically. He himself, however, found nothing
1 Philip J. Budd, Leviticus, New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans

Publishing Company, 1996), 34.

2 For arguments against connecting the Old Testament New Year festival to an enthronement festival, cf.

Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 2 vols. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965), 2:502-6. See,

also, Norman H. Snaith, The Jewish New Year Festival: Its Origin and Development (London: Society for

Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1947).


The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 2

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999

eschatological in the Levitical instruction concerning the year of Jubilee.3 On the other

hand, Gordon Wenham correctly connected Christ's quotation of Isaiah 61:1 with

Leviticus 25. rOrD; ("release") in Isaiah 61:1 is the same term employed in Leviticus


It seems quite likely, therefore, that the prophetic description of the "acceptable year

of the Lord" was partly inspired by the idea of the jubilee year. The messianic age

brings liberty to the oppressed and release to the captives....

... The jubilee, then, not only looks back to God's first redemption of his people from

Egypt (Lev. 25:38, 55), but forward to the "restitution of all things," "for new

heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (Acts 3:21; 2 Pet. 3:13).4

The twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus has been the threefold victim of perpetual

neglect: (1) In the synagogue it has been avoided because of its unpleasant subject

matter.5 (2) In commentaries (past and present, Jewish and Christian) it has been given

sketchy treatment. (3) In materials dedicated to the concept of covenant in the Old

Testament its covenant affinities are rarely discussed. Occasional references, however,

demonstrate that some biblical scholars are aware of its significance in the realm of

covenantal studies. Thirty-five years ago Delbert Hillers placed this section of the Torah

on a par with Deuteronomy 28:

In the first place, the prophets did employ much traditional material in composing

their threats of doom. This is not a new idea by any means, but it is worth pointing

out that the parallels gathered here fully support it. Secondly, this inherited material

in the prophets is related to the Israelite tradition of curses as preserved in Deut 28

and Lev 26.6

The many similarities between Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 catapults the

former pericope into the same sphere of significance as the latter. Meredith Kline

tantalizingly suggested that the curses of Deuteronomy 28 were "anticipated in the

promises and threats ... in Leviticus (chap. 26)."7 Assuming Mosaic authorship for both

pericopes, it is perfectly consistent with the composition of the Pentateuch to assume that

Leviticus 26 was written prior to Deuteronomy 28. It could be argued, therefore, that the

latter passage is an exposition of the former.

Leviticus 26 consists of parenetic revelation given at Sinai on the threshold of

Israel's wilderness wanderings. The pericope's relevance is best understood in the light

of the apparent tension with the Abrahamic Covenant created by the promulgation of the

Mosaic Covenant. After three disturbing apostasies at Sinai, Leviticus 26 explained the

relationship between the two covenants and reemphasized the exclusive lordship of

3 Erhard S. Gerstenberger, Leviticus: A Commentary, The Old Testament Library, trans. Douglas W. Stott

(Louisville, Ken.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 398.

4 Gordon J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament,

ed. R. K. Harrison (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), 324. See, also, the

extensive discussion of the eschatological implications of Jubilee in John E. Hartley, Leviticus, vol. 4 in

Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, Publisher, 1992), 446-48.

5 Bernard J. Bamberger, Leviticus, vol. 3 of The Torah: A Modern Commentary, 5 vols. (New York: Union

of American Hebrew Congregations, 1979), 290.

6 Delbert R. Hillers, Treaty-Curses and the Old Testament Prophets, Biblica et Orientalia 16 (Rome:

Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1964), 78.

7 Meredith G. Kline, Treaty of the Great King: The Covenant Structure of Deuteronomy: Studies and

Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972), 124.

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 3

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999

Yahweh. The chapter revealed that the Mosaic Covenant had not nullified the

eschatological promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. Paul's teaching in Galatians 3:17

was anticipated by Leviticus 26 fifteen centuries earlier.

The blessings and curses in the chapter advance the respective emphases of the

Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The blessings are directly related to the Abrahamic

Covenant's eschatological promises regarding land and blessing. The cursings

represented the Mosaic Covenant's five-stage process designed to produce confession of

guilt, humility, and restitution--elements that anticipated the New Covenant and its

eschatological elements. The element of restitution involved the sabbatical principle so

central to both the Mosaic Covenant and Leviticus 26. Indeed, the sabbatical principle is

itself eschatologically significant. The Land-Giver and Exodus-Causer will always be

loyal to His covenants and to His covenanted people. He is Lord of both space (the land)

and time (the sabbaths). Yahweh's future loyalty and work on behalf of Israel were

described by the Old Testament prophets. Along with Deuteronomy 27-28, Leviticus 26

anchored prophetic revelation's concepts of covenant.

Yahweh continues to be presented as the only deity, the sole Lord of all that exists. In

particular the Lord remains the God who has created, blessed, sustained and judged

Israel depending on whether the people have kept or broken the Sinai covenant.

The covenant principles found in the Law lead the prophets to approve or

denounce the chosen nation's activities during their own lifetimes. The covenant

blessings and consequences announced in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-28

help the prophets assess Israel's past, and these same concepts give them hope that

the Lord has not finished with sinful Israel. The God who forgave once can surely do

so again, as Deuteronomy 30:1-10 indicates.8

An Outline of Leviticus 26
The following outline represents the contents of this significant chapter. The bulk

of this paper's discussion will be in the third major division regarding penalty (26:14-45),

especially the consequence of deportation or exile (vv. 27-38) and the contingency for

repentance (vv. 39-45).

I. Precept (26:1-2)

A. Prohibition of Idols (v. 1)

B. Preservation of Sabbaths and Sanctuary (v. 2)

1. The Sabbath Observance (v. 2a)

2. The Sanctuary Reverence (v. 2b)

II. Promise (26:3-13)

A. The Prerequisite: Obedience: (v. 3)

B. The Product: Blessing (vv. 4-12)

1. Productivity (vv. 4-5)

2. Peace (v. 6)

3. Power (vv. 7-8)

4. Population (v. 9)

8 Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 398.

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 4

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999

5. Provision (v. 10)

6. Presence (vv. I1-12)

C. The Premise: Yahweh's Salvation (v. 13)

III. Penalty (26:14-45)

A. The Cause: Disobedience (vv. 14-15)

B. The Consequence: Retribution (vv. 16-38)

1. Debilitation and Defeat (vv. 16-17)

2. Drought (vv. 18-20)

3. Devastation by Wild Beasts (vv. 21-22)

4. Deprivation by Siege (vv. 23-26)

5. Deportation (vv. 27-38)

a. Introduction (vv. 27-28)

b. Dehumanization--Cannibalism (v. 29)

c. Desolation (vv. 30-32)

d. Dispersion -Exile (v. 33)

e. Desertion of the Land (vv. 34-38)

(1) The Sabbath Rest (vv. 34-35)

(2) The Stricken Remnant (vv. 36-38)

C. The Contingency: Repentance (vv. 39-45)

1. Repentance: Israel's Acceptance of Retribution (vv. 39-41)

2. Remembrance: Yahweh's Acceptance of Repentance (v. 42)

3. Repetition: A Summary Concerning Retribution (v. 43)

4. Reaffirmation: Yahweh's Promise to the Exiles (vv. 44-45)

Retributive Dispersion/Exile (Lev 26:33)

The emphatic preverbal position of the direct object in the disjunctive clause

presents the adversative: "but I shall disperse (hr,zAx< Piel) you (Mk,t;x,v;) among the

nations." Dispersion (hrz) is a subject common to this pericope and key sections in

Ezekiel (e.g., 5:2, 10, 12; 6:8; 12:14, 15; 20:23). hrz is often employed "in agricultural

contexts of the winnowing process (e.g. Ruth 3:2; Isa. 30:24; 41:16)."9 Perhaps this

figure points to a remnant by implication (cf. Zech 1:18-21 [Heb. 2:1-4] and 13:8-9).10 At

Sinai Yahweh warned Israel about their complacency during the time of their residence

in the land. Dispersion would disrupt their complacency.11 The nation's apathy toward

Yahweh and His covenants would make them landless again. They would return to the

bondage out of which Yahweh had delivered them. Return to bondage would eventually
9 Ibid., 373.

10 In his study of the remnant, Hasel only refers to Leviticus 26 in passing. Summarizing the viewpoint of

Othmar Schilling, he writes: "the origin of the prophetic remnant motif is grounded in the sanctions of the

law, especially in Lev. 26 and its Deuteronomic parallels." Gerhard F. Hasel, The Remnant: The History

and Theology of the Remnant Idea from Genesis to Isaiah, 3rd ed., Andrews University Monographs:

Studies in Religion, vol. 5 (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 1980), 26; with reference to

Othmar Schilling, "’Rest’ in der Prophetie des Alten Testaments" (unpublished Th.D.

Inaugural dissertation, Universitat Munster, 1942). Hasel disagrees with Schilling because Schilling had

ignored early references in Genesis and had accepted too early a date for Leviticus 26. The author of this

paper would agree that the remnant motif is earlier than Leviticus 26, but would argue that the chapter had

a significant effect upon the prophetic development of the theology of remnant.

11 Budd, Leviticus, 372.

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 5

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999
cure their selective amnesia. Brueggemann's poignant observation applies here: “It is

hard enough for landed people to believe land will be lost. It is harder to imagine

Yahweh will do it” 12 (cf. Lev 26:32a, 33a).

The goal of the Abrahamic Covenant was to give an inheritance to the people of the

covenant in accordance with Yahweh's promise (cf. Gen 12:7; 13:14-17).13 Exile delays

the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises. Therefore, it could be said that exile itself has

eschatological implications. Exile and dispersion indicate that the ultimate fulfillment of

the promise is yet future, or eschatological in nature.

“Yea, I shall unsheath (ytiqoyrihEva Hiph’il) the sword (br,HA) behind you (Mk,yreHExa).” In

all four instances in the Old Testament where the idiom yrHx brH qyrh ("unsheath the

sword behind") occurs (here; Ezek 5:2, 12; 12:14) it is preceded by the employment of

hrz ("disperse") and it is always a reference to Israel. brH qyrh ("unsheath the sword")

is employed in three other passages but always in reference to the judgment of a nation

outside Israel (Egypt: Exod 15:9, Ezek 30:11; Tyre: Ezek 28:7). In these occurrences

neither hrz nor yrHx("behind") are employed.14 The idiom in Leviticus 26:33 is reserved

for Yahweh's dealing with Israel. Emptying (qyr) His scabbard is an act of hostility.

Yahweh will place the sword "behind" Israel for, on the one hand, they would be fleeing,

and, on the other hand, the path of return would be blocked by the divine sword. Shades

of Eden! As Adam and Eve were prevented reentry to Eden by the flaming sword of the

cherubim (Gen 3:24), so Israel would be prevented reentry to Canaan by the avenging

covenant sword of Yahweh.

The summation of deportation's effects on the land comes next in 33b: "thus your

land shall be (htAy;hAv;) for devastation (hmAmAw;) and your cities shall be (Uyh;yi) ruins

(hBAr;HA)."15 Yahweh consigns the land and its cities to a state of devastation. This

declaration, in its conceptualization and its syntax, corresponds to the earlier statement of

divinely confirmed blessing:

:MfAl; yli-Uyh;Ti MT,xav; Myhloxle Mk,lA ytiyyihAv; -12b

and you yourselves shall be my people so that I shall be your God

:hBAr;HA Uyh;yi Mk,yrefAv; hmAmAw; Mk,c;r;xa htAy;hAv; -33b

and your cities shall be ruins thus your land shall be for devastation

The deviations from strict correspondence in these two statements are instructive:

(1) The circumlocutions for the possessives "your" (Mk,lA) and "my" (yli) in 12b

emphasize mutual identification in the covenant relationship.

(2) The phrase Mk,c;r;xa htAy;hAv; in 33b may be an allusion to Genesis 1:2

(UhbovA Uhto htAy;hA Cr,xAhAv;, "and the earth was empty and void"). Such an

allusion potentially serves three purposes:

12 Walter Brueggemann, The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith (Philadelphia,

Penn.: Fortress Press, 1977), 113.

13 Hartley, Leviticus, 468.

14 Cf. lf in Ezek 28:7 and 30:11, and no preposition in Exod 15:9. The h A of both substantives is clearly

assonant, drawing attention to the state of the land.

15 The alternation of the qatal and yiqtol of hyh is characteristic (cf. 12b).

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 6

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999

(a) to remind Israel that Yahweh is historically the Lord, the Creator, of all

the earth--not just the Giver of the promised land;

(b) to emphasize the totality of the dispersion: the land would be without

inhabitants; and,

(c) to imply that the dispersion was but the commencement of something new

which Yahweh would do.

The possibility of an allusion to Genesis 1:2 in Leviticus 26:33b is noteworthy for

several reasons:

(1) The re-creation or new creation of the earth is a key eschatological theme in

apocalyptic Scripture (cf. Isa 65:17; 2 Pet 3:10-12; Rev 21:1).

Eschatologically, judgment precedes emptying or emptiness followed by

renewal and restoration (cf. Isa 24-26). Eichrodt recognized that "the thought

of God's activity as Creator and Giver in the berit. . . with the prophets--

and even in P [including Leviticus 26] as well--was definitely primary.16

(2) Jeremiah 4:23 employs the very terms of Genesis 1:2 (UhbovA Uhto, "empty

and void") to describe the land of Israel following judgment.17

(3) It is recognized also that removal from the land or "exile is the way to new life

in new land."18

The Sabbath Rest (Lev 26:34-35).

The following pattern of correspondences and emphatic logical development

occurs in these verses:

Main clauses (a):

hAyt,toB;wa -tx, Cr,xAhA hc,r;Ti zxA -a1

then the land shall enjoy the restitution of its sabbaths

:hAyt,toB;wa -tx, tcAr;hiv; Cr,xAhA tBaw;Ti zxA - a2

then the land shall rest, yea, it shall enjoy the restitution of its sabbaths

Mk,ytetoB;waB; htAb;wA-xlo rw,xE txe tBow;Ti - a3

it shall rest on account of your sabbaths in which it did not rest

16 Walter Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament,:2 vols., trans. J. A. Baker, Old Testament Library

(Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster Press, 1961), 1:63. The liberal theologians' ascription of the creation

narratives to "P" cannot be accepted but their association of the two bodies of literature is important to

recognize and the reason for the biblical association must be sought in order not to miss the intended

message therein. Cf Ralph W. Klein, Israel in Exile: A Theological Interpretation (Philadelphia, Penn.:

Fortress Press, 1979), 125-48.

17 A significant reference to the "presence" of Yahweh in judgment may be seen in Jer 4:26b if hvAhy; yneP;mi

("from the presence of Yahweh") can be interpreted thus (in spite of the bound form yneP;mi cf the next

phrase in that context.

18 Brueggemann, The Land, 122. Cf. Jer 24:4-10.

The Eschatological Significance of Leviticus 26 7

Barrick, National ETS, November 19, 1999
Temporal clauses (b):

hm.Awa.hI ymey; lKo - b1

all the days of its devastation

Mk,ybey;xo Cr,x,B; MT,xav; - b2

while you are in the land of your enemies

hm.Aw.ahA ymey;-lKA - b1

all the days of its devastation

hAyl,fA Mk,T;b;wiB; - b3

while you were dwelling upon it
The schematization of the two verses helps to demonstrate the following points:

1. The triple chiasm and the repetition of b1 keep the temporal clauses together

in order to emphasize the time factor in these verses--it is about the time of

Israel's exile.

2. The repetition of tbw emphasizes the sabbatical principle.

3. Making Crx the subject of all three main clauses emphasizes the centrality

of the land and its relationship to the sovereign decrees of Yahweh.

4. The juxtaposition of hcr and tbw demonstrates their theological

equivalence. Verse 34b is transitional, employing the epexegetical waw to

join these two terms in the middle member of the construction. While 34a

employs hcr, 35 utilizes only tbw, having made the full transition.

The initial zxA ("then") of v. 34 sets that verse apart from the preceding context. It

serves, as it does sometimes in poetry, "to throw emphasis on a particular feature of the

description."19 The emphasis is upon the land's hcr. hcr is variously translated

"enjoy"20 and "make or obtain restitution,21 "Making restitution" could imply that the

land shared in the guilt of Israel's failure to observe the sabbatical years. This is unlikely

since the context appears to make hcr practically equivalent to tbw. The more positive

concept of "obtaining restitution" might indicate the basis for the land being able to enjoy

rest. The land might be depicted as being "pleased" at receiving "its due portion."22 The

"due portion" is defined as "its sabbaths." When will this take place? According to the

immediate context, "all the days of its devastation" (v. 35). Devastation will bring about

a forced sabbatical rest--a rest the land had been denied under Israel's plows:

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