When God made a covenant with Moses, it was conditional. If the Israelites obeyed, then they would live in a peace filled land of immense wealth that produces fruit, milk, and honey. Their military would be so powerful that a few soldiers could scare away an army 20 times larger.
However, if the Israelites didn’t keep their end of the covenant, horrible judgments would come. History shows us that Leviticus 26 came to fruition for the Israelites.
The Assyrian Captivity occurred around
725 BC. The Jews were taken into Babylonian captivity around 586 BC. Most of them remained in exile when the Persians conquered Babylon 50 years later. The Jews finally got their land back in 165 BC, but were ruled by the Romans by about 60 BC. 70 AD is when the Romans squashed a Jewish uprising and the Temple was destroyed for the second time (“I will bring a sword upon you. . .and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy” Lev. 26:25). In 132 AD, the Jews were forced out of the Promised Land once again and scattered among the heathen (Lev. 26:33).
Agricultural history in Israel shows that since the Jews were exiled, the fertile lands did “not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (v. 20). The mighty military that dominated the region under the leadership of Moses and Joshua became “spent in vain” (v. 20) and futile as promised in this passage.
From 132 AD until 1948 AD, the Jews remained scattered (v. 33) in their enemies’ land (v. 34), where they were constantly uncomfortable and afraid in the land of their enemies and constantly fleeing danger that may not even be there (v. 35). They had no power to stand before their enemies (v. 37) and ultimately fulfilled the promise of verse 38, “And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up,” in both the German Holocaust and perpetual war with Islam.
The Jews had to “pine away in their iniquity” (v. 39) and “confess their iniquity” (v. 40) before God would “remember [his] covenant” with Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (v. 42). God never forgot his promises. He will not completely turn his back and “abhor them” (v. 44).
The return of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948 marked not only the fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy made 2600 years earlier, but a fulfillment of Leviticus 26:45, in which God “will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors.” Centuries of Jewish history, especially from 33 AD to the present, is found in this one chapter of the Bible written 3500 years ago.
The final chapter in Leviticus continues with more legal instruction concerning the financial value of men, women, and animals, and tithes of the bests, the land, and the herd or flocks. Thus, I have completed my journey through one of the least discussed books of the Bible, which, ironically, I have found to be entirely interesting. I hope you have as well.