Leviticus 26 and God's Patience

What does Leviticus 26 teach us about God's patience in bringing divine judgment?

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It's interesting to make a comparison of the covenant curses in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26. Curses in Deuteronomy 28 are fairly straightforward, but in Leviticus 26 they're staged, giving the opportunity at each stage for Israel to repent. The recitation of the curses are designed in Leviticus to provide an opportunity to repent, and at the end of those lists of curses, there's a section, I think it's verses 40-41, actually making provision for the Israelites to confess their sins with the hopes that the Lord will honor the covenant that he made with the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and bring about a restoration… In the Prophets, and their use of covenant curses in judgment, sometimes they proclaim those curses using a transition word in Hebrew that's translated "therefore" — lahen in Hebrew — where it's giving God's verdict on their sins and proclaiming the judgments that is to come. But sometimes the prophets use another term that's often also translated "therefore," but I think should be translated "that is why" — alken in Hebrew — and it's really giving an explanation for why the covenant curses are already beginning to be realized. And in that sense, we see in the Prophets, the unfolding of the curses together with an implicit call for Israel to repent so as to bring an end to the full realization of the curses, mirroring the staging of the curses that we have in Leviticus 26.

Answer by Dr. Douglas Gropp

Dr. Douglas Gropp was formerly Professor of Old Testament and Associate Academic Dean at Redeemer Seminary