Bible: Deuteronomy 27-30

The Assembly at Shechem

27:1 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Pay attention to all the commandments 1  I am giving 2  you today. 27:2 When you cross the Jordan River 3  to the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must erect great stones and cover 4  them with plaster. 27:3 Then you must inscribe on them all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 5  said to you. 27:4 So when you cross the Jordan you must erect on Mount Ebal 6  these stones about which I am commanding you today, and you must cover them with plaster. 27:5 Then you must build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones – do not use an iron tool on them. 27:6 You must build the altar of the Lord your God with whole stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. 27:7 Also you must offer fellowship offerings and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. 27:8 You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.”

27:9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel: “Be quiet and pay attention, Israel. Today you have become the people of the Lord your God. 27:10 You must obey him 7  and keep his commandments and statutes that I am giving you today.” 27:11 Moreover, Moses commanded the people that day: 27:12 The following tribes 8  must stand to bless the people on Mount Gerizim when you cross the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 27:13 And these other tribes must stand for the curse on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

The Covenant Curses

27:14The Levites will call out to every Israelite 9  with a loud voice: 27:15 Cursed is the one 10  who makes a carved or metal image – something abhorrent 11  to the Lord, the work of the craftsman 12 and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 13  27:16 Cursed 14  is the one who disrespects 15  his father and mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:17 Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:18 Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:19 Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:20 Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with 16  his father’s former wife, 17  for he dishonors his father.’ 18  Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:21 Cursed is the one who commits bestiality.’ 19  Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:22 Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:23 Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:24 Cursed is the one who kills 20  his neighbor in private.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:25 Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:26 Cursed is the one who refuses to keep the words of this law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’

The Covenant Blessings

28:1If you indeed 21  obey the Lord your God and are careful to observe all his commandments I am giving 22  you today, the Lord your God will elevate you above all the nations of the earth. 28:2 All these blessings will come to you in abundance 23  if you obey the Lord your God: 28:3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field. 24  28:4 Your children 25  will be blessed, as well as the produce of your soil, the offspring of your livestock, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. 28:5 Your basket and your mixing bowl will be blessed. 28:6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. 26  28:7 The Lord will cause your enemies who attack 27  you to be struck down before you; they will attack you from one direction 28  but flee from you in seven different directions. 28:8 The Lord will decree blessing for you with respect to your barns and in everything you do – yes, he will bless you in the land he 29  is giving you. 28:9 The Lord will designate you as his holy people just as he promised you, if you keep his commandments 30  and obey him. 31  28:10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord, 32  and they will respect you. 28:11 The Lord will greatly multiply your children, 33  the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil in the land which he 34  promised your ancestors 35  he would give you. 28:12 The Lord will open for you his good treasure house, the heavens, to give you rain for the land in its season and to bless all you do; 36  you will lend to many nations but you will not borrow from any. 28:13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always end up at the top and not at the bottom, if you obey his 37  commandments which I am urging 38  you today to be careful to do. 28:14 But you must not turn away from all the commandments I am giving 39  you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship 40  them.

Curses as Reversal of Blessings

28:15But if you ignore 41  the Lord your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force: 42  28:16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field. 28:17 Your basket and your mixing bowl will be cursed. 28:18 Your children 43  will be cursed, as well as the produce of your soil, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. 28:19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. 44 

Curses by Disease and Drought

28:20The Lord will send on you a curse, confusing you and opposing you 45  in everything you undertake 46  until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the evil of your deeds, in that you have forsaken me. 47  28:21 The Lord will plague you with deadly diseases 48  until he has completely removed you from the land you are about to possess. 28:22 He 49  will afflict you with weakness, 50  fever, inflammation, infection, 51  sword, 52  blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish. 28:23 The 53  sky 54  above your heads will be bronze and the earth beneath you iron. 28:24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; it will come down on you from the sky until you are destroyed.

Curses by Defeat and Deportation

28:25The Lord will allow you to be struck down before your enemies; you will attack them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions and will become an object of terror 55  to all the kingdoms of the earth. 28:26 Your carcasses will be food for every bird of the sky and wild animal of the earth, and there will be no one to chase them off. 28:27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, eczema, and scabies, all of which cannot be healed. 28:28 The Lord will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. 56  28:29 You will feel your way along at noon like the blind person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; 57  you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you. 28:30 You will be engaged to a woman and another man will rape 58  her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not even begin to use it. 28:31 Your ox will be slaughtered before your very eyes but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen from you as you watch and will not be returned to you. Your flock of sheep will be given to your enemies and there will be no one to save you. 28:32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you look on in vain all day, and you will be powerless to do anything about it. 59  28:33 As for the produce of your land and all your labor, a people you do not know will consume it, and you will be nothing but oppressed and crushed for the rest of your lives. 28:34 You will go insane from seeing all this. 28:35 The Lord will afflict you in your knees and on your legs with painful, incurable boils – from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. 28:36 The Lord will force you and your king 60  whom you will appoint over you to go away to a people whom you and your ancestors have not known, and you will serve other gods of wood and stone there. 28:37 You will become an occasion of horror, a proverb, and an object of ridicule to all the peoples to whom the Lord will drive you.

The Curse of Reversed Status

28:38You will take much seed to the field but gather little harvest, because locusts will consume it. 28:39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink wine or gather in grapes, because worms will eat them. 28:40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees while still unripe. 61  28:41 You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them, because they will be taken into captivity. 28:42 Whirring locusts 62  will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil. 28:43 The foreigners 63  who reside among you will become higher and higher over you and you will become lower and lower. 28:44 They will lend to you but you will not lend to them; they will become the head and you will become the tail!

28:45 All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping his commandments and statutes that he has given 64  you. 28:46 These curses 65  will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants. 66 

The Curse of Military Siege

28:47Because you have not served the Lord your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have, 28:48 instead in hunger, thirst, nakedness, and poverty 67  you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. They 68  will place an iron yoke on your neck until they have destroyed you. 28:49 The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth 69  as the eagle flies, 70  a nation whose language you will not understand, 28:50 a nation of stern appearance that will have no regard for the elderly or pity for the young. 28:51 They 71  will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil until you are destroyed. They will not leave you with any grain, new wine, olive oil, calves of your herds, 72  or lambs of your flocks 73  until they have destroyed you. 28:52 They will besiege all of your villages 74  until all of your high and fortified walls collapse – those in which you put your confidence throughout the land. They will besiege all your villages throughout the land the Lord your God has given you. 28:53 You will then eat your own offspring, 75  the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege 76  by which your enemies will constrict you. 28:54 The man among you who is by nature tender and sensitive will turn against his brother, his beloved wife, and his remaining children. 28:55 He will withhold from all of them his children’s flesh that he is eating (since there is nothing else left), because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict 77  you in your villages. 28:56 Likewise, the most 78  tender and delicate of your women, who would never think of putting even the sole of her foot on the ground because of her daintiness, 79  will turn against her beloved husband, her sons and daughters, 28:57 and will secretly eat her afterbirth 80  and her newborn children 81  (since she has nothing else), 82  because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict you in your villages.

The Curse of Covenant Termination

28:58If you refuse to obey 83  all the words of this law, the things written in this scroll, and refuse to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 28:59 then the Lord will increase your punishments and those of your descendants – great and long-lasting afflictions and severe, enduring illnesses. 28:60 He will infect you with all the diseases of Egypt 84  that you dreaded, and they will persistently afflict you. 85  28:61 Moreover, the Lord will bring upon you every kind of sickness and plague not mentioned in this scroll of commandments, 86  until you have perished. 28:62 There will be very few of you left, though at one time you were as numerous as the stars in the sky, 87  because you will have disobeyed 88  the Lord your God. 28:63 This is what will happen: Just as the Lord delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he 89  will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land you are about to possess. 28:64 The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. 28:65 Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair. 28:66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next. 90  28:67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ because of the things you will fear and the things you will see. 28:68 Then the Lord will make you return to Egypt by ship, over a route I said to you that you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Narrative Interlude

29:1 91  These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. 92 

The Exodus, Wandering, and Conquest Reviewed

29:2 Moses proclaimed to all Israel as follows: “You have seen all that the Lord did 93  in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, all his servants, and his land. 29:3 Your eyes have seen the great judgments, 94  those signs and mighty wonders. 29:4 But to this very day the Lord has not given you an understanding mind, perceptive eyes, or discerning ears! 95  29:5 I have led you through the desert for forty years. Your clothing has not worn out 96  nor have your sandals 97  deteriorated. 29:6 You have eaten no bread and drunk no wine or beer – all so that you might know that I 98  am the Lord your God! 29:7 When you came to this place King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to make war and we defeated them. 29:8 Then we took their land and gave it as an inheritance to Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.

The Present Covenant Setting

29:9Therefore, keep the terms 99  of this covenant and obey them so that you may be successful in everything you do. 29:10 You are standing today, all of you, before the Lord your God – the heads of your tribes, 100  your elders, your officials, every Israelite man, 29:11 your infants, your wives, and the 101  foreigners living in your encampment, those who chop wood and those who carry water 29:12 so that you may enter by oath into the covenant the Lord your God is making with you today. 102  29:13 Today he will affirm that you are his people and that he is your God, 103  just as he promised you and as he swore by oath to your ancestors 104  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29:14 It is not with you alone that I am making this covenant by oath, 29:15 but with whoever stands with us here today before the Lord our God as well as those not with us here today. 105 

The Results of Disobedience

29:16(For you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we crossed through the nations as we traveled. 29:17 You have seen their detestable things 106  and idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold.) 107  29:18 Beware that the heart of no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you turns away from the Lord our God today to pursue and serve the gods of those nations; beware that there is among you no root producing poisonous and bitter fruit. 108  29:19 When such a person 109  hears the words of this oath he secretly 110  blesses himself 111  and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” 112  This will destroy 113  the watered ground with the parched. 114  29:20 The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger 115  will rage 116  against that man; all the curses 117  written in this scroll will fall upon him 118  and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. 119  29:21 The Lord will single him out 120  for judgment 121  from all the tribes of Israel according to all the curses of the covenant written in this scroll of the law. 29:22 The generation to come – your descendants who will rise up after you, as well as the foreigner who will come from distant places – will see 122  the afflictions of that land and the illnesses that the Lord has brought on it. 29:23 The whole land will be covered with brimstone, salt, and burning debris; it will not be planted nor will it sprout or produce grass. It will resemble the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger. 123  29:24 Then all the nations will ask, “Why has the Lord done all this to this land? What is this fierce, heated display of anger 124  all about? 29:25 Then people will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 29:26 They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods they did not know and that he did not permit them to worship. 125  29:27 That is why the Lord’s anger erupted against this land, bringing on it all the curses 126  written in this scroll. 29:28 So the Lord has uprooted them from their land in anger, wrath, and great rage and has deported them to another land, as is clear today.” 29:29 Secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those that are revealed belong to us and our descendants 127  forever, so that we might obey all the words of this law.

The Results of Covenant Reaffirmation

30:1When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses 128  I have set before you, you will reflect upon them 129  in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you. 30:2 Then if you and your descendants 130  turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being 131  just as 132  I am commanding you today, 30:3 the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he 133  has scattered you. 30:4 Even if your exiles are in the most distant land, 134  from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 30:5 Then he 135  will bring you to the land your ancestors 136  possessed and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. 30:6 The Lord your God will also cleanse 137  your heart and the hearts of your descendants 138  so that you may love him 139  with all your mind and being and so that you may live. 30:7 Then the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hate you and persecute you. 30:8 You will return and obey the Lord, keeping all his commandments I am giving 140  you today. 30:9 The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands 141  abundantly successful and multiply your children, 142  the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more 143  rejoice over you to make you prosperous 144  just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, 30:10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him 145  with your whole mind and being.

Exhortation to Covenant Obedience

30:11This commandment I am giving 146  you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote. 30:12 It is not in heaven, as though one must say, “Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it? 30:13 And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, “Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it? 30:14 For the thing is very near you – it is in your mouth and in your mind 147  so that you can do it.

30:15Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 30:16 What 148  I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are about to possess. 149  30:17 However, if you 150  turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods, 30:18 I declare to you this very day that you will certainly 151  perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. 152  30:19 Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live! 30:20 I also call on you 153  to love the Lord your God, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually 154  in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

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