Leviticus 26:20
And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) And your strength shall be spent in vain.—That is, with the heaven over them as metal, their labour expended in ploughing, digging, and sowing will be perfectly useless.

Your land shall not yield her increase, as no amount of human labour will make up for the want of rain. In Deuteronomy 11:17, where the same punishment is threatened, and the same phrase is used, the Authorised Version unnecessarily obliterates the identity of the words in the original by rendering them “the land yield not her fruit.”

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.The second warning is utter sterility of the soil. Compare Deuteronomy 11:17; Deuteronomy 28:18; Ezekiel 33:28; Ezekiel 36:34-35.19. I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass—No figures could have been employed to convey a better idea of severe and long-continued famine. Your strength shall be spent in vain; ploughing, and sowing, and tilling the ground. And your strength shall be spent in vain,.... In endeavouring to till the ground, to plough, or sow, or to dig about the vines or olives, and prune them:

for your land shall not yield its increase; produce corn, and bring forth grass, the one for the use of men, the other for the use of the cattle, and therefore both must starve:

neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits; such as vines, olives, figs, pomegranates, &c. which were very plentiful in the land of Judea, and on which they much lived, and on which their more comfortable subsistence at least depended, see Habakkuk 3:17; all this is the reverse of Leviticus 26:4.

And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The Curse for Contempt of the Law. - The following judgments are threatened, not for single breaches of the law, but for contempt of all the laws, amounting to inward contempt of the divine commandments and a breach of the covenant (Leviticus 26:14, Leviticus 26:15), - for presumptuous and obstinate rebellion, therefore, against God and His commandments. For this, severe judgments are announced, which were to be carried to their uttermost in a fourfold series, if the hardening were obstinately continued. If Israel acted in opposition to the Lord in the manner stated, He would act towards them as follows (Leviticus 26:16, Leviticus 26:17): He would appoint over them בּחלה terror, - a general notion, which is afterwards particularized as consisting of diseases, sowing without enjoying the fruit, defeat in war, and flight before their enemies. Two kinds of disease are mentioned by which life is destroyed: consumption and burning, i.e., burning fever, πυρετός, febris, which cause the eyes (the light of this life) to disappear, and the soul (the life itself) to pine away; whereas in Exodus 23:25; Exodus 15:26, preservation from diseases is promised for obedience to the law. Of these diseases, consumption is at present very rare in Palestine and Syria, though it occurs in more elevated regions; but burning fever is one of the standing diseases. To these there would be added the invasion of the land by enemies, so that they would labour in vain and sow their seed to no purpose, for their enemies would consume the produce, as actually was the case (e.g., Judges 6:3-4).
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