The Message

Leviticus 26

1“Don’t make idols for yourselves; don’t set up an image or a sacred pillar for yourselves, and don’t place a carved stone in your land that you can bow down to in worship. I am God, your God.

“Keep my Sabbaths; treat my Sanctuary with reverence. I am God.

“If You Live by My Decrees . . .”

3-5 “If you live by my decrees and obediently keep my commandments, I will send the rains in their seasons, the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. You will thresh until the grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting time; you’ll have more than enough to eat and will live safe and secure in your land.

6-10 “I’ll make the country a place of peace—you’ll be able to go to sleep at night without fear; I’ll get rid of the wild beasts; I’ll eliminate war. You’ll chase out your enemies and defeat them: Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand and do away with them. I’ll give you my full attention: I’ll make sure you prosper, make sure you grow in numbers, and keep my covenant with you in good working order. You’ll still be eating from last year’s harvest when you have to clean out the barns to make room for the new crops.

11-13 “I’ll set up my residence in your neighborhood; I won’t avoid or shun you; I’ll stroll through your streets. I’ll be your God; you’ll be my people. I am God, your personal God who rescued you from Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I ripped off the harness of your slavery so that you can move about freely.

“But If You Refuse to Obey Me . . .”

14-17 “But if you refuse to obey me and won’t observe my commandments, despising my decrees and holding my laws in contempt by your disobedience, making a shambles of my covenant, I’ll step in and pour on the trouble: debilitating disease, high fevers, blindness, your life leaking out bit by bit. You’ll plant seed but your enemies will eat the crops. I’ll turn my back on you and stand by while your enemies defeat you. People who hate you will govern you. You’ll run scared even when there’s no one chasing you.

18-20 “And if none of this works in getting your attention, I’ll discipline you seven times over for your sins. I’ll break your strong pride: I’ll make the skies above you like a sheet of tin and the ground under you like cast iron. No matter how hard you work, nothing will come of it: No crops out of the ground, no fruit off the trees.

21-22 “If you defy me and refuse to listen, your punishment will be seven times more than your sins: I’ll set wild animals on you; they’ll rob you of your children, kill your cattle, and decimate your numbers until you’ll think you are living in a ghost town.

23-26 “And if even this doesn’t work and you refuse my discipline and continue your defiance, then it will be my turn to defy you. I, yes I, will punish you for your sins seven times over: I’ll let war loose on you, avenging your breaking of the covenant; when you huddle in your cities for protection, I’ll send a deadly epidemic on you and you’ll be helpless before your enemies; when I cut off your bread supply, ten women will bake bread in one oven and ration it out. You’ll eat, but barely—no one will get enough.

27-35 “And if this—even this!—doesn’t work and you still won’t listen, still defy me, I’ll have had enough and in hot anger will defy you, punishing you for your sins seven times over: famine will be so severe that you’ll end up cooking and eating your sons in stews and your daughters in barbecues; I’ll smash your sex-and-religion shrines and all the paraphernalia that goes with them, and then stack your corpses and the idol-corpses in the same piles—I’ll abhor you; I’ll turn your cities into rubble; I’ll clean out your sanctuaries; I’ll hold my nose at the “pleasing aroma” of your sacrifices. I’ll turn your land into a lifeless moonscape—your enemies who come in to take over will be shocked at what they see. I’ll scatter you all over the world and keep after you with the point of my sword in your backs. There’ll be nothing left in your land, nothing going on in your cities. With you gone and dispersed in the countries of your enemies, the land, empty of you, will finally get a break and enjoy its Sabbath years. All the time it’s left there empty, the land will get rest, the Sabbaths it never got when you lived there.

36-39 “As for those among you still alive, I’ll give them over to fearful timidity—even the rustle of a leaf will throw them into a panic. They’ll run here and there, back and forth, as if running for their lives even though no one is after them, tripping and falling over one another in total confusion. You won’t stand a chance against an enemy. You’ll perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will eat you up. Any who are left will slowly rot away in the enemy lands. Rot. And all because of their sins, their sins compounded by their ancestors’ sins.

“On the Other Hand, If They Confess . . .”

40-42 “On the other hand, if they confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors, their treacherous betrayal, the defiance that set off my defiance that sent them off into enemy lands; if by some chance they soften their hard hearts and make amends for their sin, I’ll remember my covenant with Jacob, I’ll remember my covenant with Isaac, and, yes, I’ll remember my covenant with Abraham. And I’ll remember the land.

43-45 “The land will be empty of them and enjoy its Sabbaths while they’re gone. They’ll pay for their sins because they refused my laws and treated my decrees with contempt. But in spite of their behavior, while they are among their enemies I won’t reject or abhor or destroy them completely. I won’t break my covenant with them: I am God, their God. For their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I, with all the nations watching, brought out of Egypt in order to be their God. I am God.”

46 These are the decrees, laws, and instructions that God established between himself and the People of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai.

New International Reader's Version

Leviticus 26

Rewards for Obeying the Lord

1“ ‘Do not make statues of gods for yourselves. Do not set up a likeness of a god or a sacred stone for yourselves. Do not place a carved stone in your land and bow down in front of it. I am the Lord your God.

“ ‘You must always keep my Sabbath days. Have respect for my sacred tent. I am the Lord.

“ ‘Follow my rules. Be careful to obey my commands. Then I will send you rain at the right time. The ground will produce its crops. The trees will bear their fruit. You will continue to harvest your grain until you gather your grapes. You will continue to gather your grapes until you plant your crops. You will have all you want to eat. And you will live in safety in your land.

“ ‘I will give you peace in the land. You will be able to sleep because no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild animals from the land. There will not be any war in your country. You will hunt down your enemies. You will kill them with your swords. Five of you will chase 100. And 100 of you will chase 10,000. You will kill your enemies with your swords.

“ ‘I will bless you. I will give you many children so that there will be many of you. And I will be faithful to the covenant I made with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s crops when you will have to make room for new crops. 11 I will live among you. I will not turn away from you. 12 I will walk among you. I will be your God. And you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. I did not want you to be slaves in Egypt anymore. I threw off your heavy load. I helped you walk with your heads held high.

Punishment for Not Obeying the Lord

14 “ ‘On the other hand, suppose you do not listen to me. Suppose you do not carry out all my commands. 15 Suppose you say no to my rules and turn away from my laws. And suppose you break my covenant by failing to carry out all my commands. 16 Then here is what I will do to you. All at once I will bring terror on you. I will send sicknesses that will make you weak. I will send fever that will destroy your sight. It will slowly take your strength away. When you plant seeds, it will not do you any good. Instead, your enemies will eat what you have planted. 17 I will turn against you. Then your enemies will win the battle over you. Those who hate you will rule over you. You will run away even when no one is chasing you.

18 “ ‘After all that, suppose you still will not listen to me. Then I will punish you for your sins seven times. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride. I will make the sky above you like iron, and it will not rain. I will make the ground under you like bronze, and you will not be able to farm it. 20 You will work with all your strength, but it will not do you any good. That is because your soil will not produce any crops. The trees of your land will not bear any fruit.

21 “ ‘Suppose you continue to be my enemy. And suppose you still refuse to listen to me. Then I will multiply your troubles many times because of your sins. 22 I will send wild animals against you. They will kill your children. They will destroy your cattle. There will be so few of you left that your roads will be deserted.

23 “ ‘After all those things, suppose you still do not accept my warnings. And suppose you continue to be my enemy. 24 Then I myself will be your enemy. I will make you suffer again and again for your sins. 25 I will send war against you to punish you for breaking my covenant. When you go back into your cities, I will send a plague among you. You will be handed over to your enemies. 26 I will cut off your supply of bread. Ten women will need only one oven to bake your bread. They will weigh out the bread piece by piece. Even when you eat all of it, it will not be enough to satisfy you.

27 “ ‘After all that, suppose you still do not listen to me. And suppose you continue to be my enemy. 28 Then I will be angry with you. I will be your enemy. I myself will again punish you for your sins over and over. 29 You will eat the dead bodies of your sons. You will also eat the dead bodies of your daughters. 30 I will destroy the high places where you worship other gods. I will pull down your incense altars. I will pile up your dead bodies on the lifeless statues of your gods. And I will turn away from you. 31 I will completely destroy your cities. I will destroy your places of worship. The pleasant smell of your offerings will not give me any delight. 32 I myself will destroy your land so completely that your enemies who live there will be shocked. 33 I will scatter you among the nations. I will pull out my sword and hunt you down. Your land and your cities will be completely destroyed. 34 Then the deserted land will enjoy its sabbath years. It will rest. It will not be farmed. It will enjoy its sabbaths. But you will become prisoners in the country of your enemies. 35 The land will rest the whole time it is deserted. It was not able to rest during the sabbaths you lived in it.

36 “ ‘Some of you will be left in the lands of your enemies. I will fill your hearts with fear. The sound of a leaf blown by the wind will scare you away. You will run as if you were escaping from swords. You will fall down, even though no one is chasing you. 37 You will trip over one another as if you were running away from the battle. You will run away, even though no one is chasing you. You will not be able to stand and fight against your enemies. 38 While you are still scattered among the nations, you will die. The lands of your enemies will destroy you. 39 You who are left in those lands will become weaker and weaker. You will die because of your sins and the sins of your people who lived before you.

40 “ ‘But suppose you admit that both you and your people who lived before you have sinned. You admit the evil and dishonest things you have done against me. And you admit you have become my enemy. 41 What you did made me become your enemy. I let your enemies take you into their land. But suppose you stop being stubborn. You stop being proud. And you pay for your sin. 42 Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob. I will remember my covenant with Isaac. I will remember my covenant with Abraham. I will remember what I said to them about the land. 43 You will leave the land. It will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies deserted because you are not there. You will pay for your sins because you said no to my laws. You turned away from my rules. 44 But even after all that, I will not say no to you or turn away from you. I will not destroy you completely in the land of your enemies. I will not break my covenant with you. I am the Lord your God. 45 Because of you, I will remember the covenant I made with the people of Israel who lived before you. I brought them out of Egypt to be their God. The nations saw me do it. I am the Lord.’ ”

46 These are the orders, the laws and the rules of the covenant the Lord made on Mount Sinai. He made it between himself and the Israelites through Moses.