Bible: Deuteronomy 28:15-32:42

Curses as Reversal of Blessings

28:15But if you ignore 1  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: 2  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 3  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. 4 

Curses by Disease and Drought

28:20The Lord will send on you a curse, confusing you and opposing you 5  in everything you undertake 6  until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the evil of your deeds, in that you have forsaken me. 7  28:21 The Lord will plague you with deadly diseases 8  until he has completely removed you from the land you are about to possess. 28:22 He 9  will afflict you with weakness, 10  fever, inflammation, infection, 11  sword, 12  blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish. 28:23 The 13  sky 14  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 15  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. 16  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; 17  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 18  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. 19  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 20  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. 21  28:41 You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them, because they will be taken into captivity. 28:42 Whirring locusts 22  will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil. 28:43 The foreigners 23  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 24  you. 28:46 These curses 25  will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants. 26 

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 27  you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. They 28  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 29  as the eagle flies, 30  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 31  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, 32  or lambs of your flocks 33  until they have destroyed you. 28:52 They will besiege all of your villages 34  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, 35  the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege 36  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 37  you in your villages. 28:56 Likewise, the most 38  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, 39  will turn against her beloved husband, her sons and daughters, 28:57 and will secretly eat her afterbirth 40  and her newborn children 41  (since she has nothing else), 42  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 43  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 44  that you dreaded, and they will persistently afflict you. 45  28:61 Moreover, the Lord will bring upon you every kind of sickness and plague not mentioned in this scroll of commandments, 46  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, 47  because you will have disobeyed 48  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 49  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. 50  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 51  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. 52 

The Exodus, Wandering, and Conquest Reviewed

29:2 Moses proclaimed to all Israel as follows: “You have seen all that the Lord did 53  in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, all his servants, and his land. 29:3 Your eyes have seen the great judgments, 54  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! 55  29:5 I have led you through the desert for forty years. Your clothing has not worn out 56  nor have your sandals 57  deteriorated. 29:6 You have eaten no bread and drunk no wine or beer – all so that you might know that I 58  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 59  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, 60  your elders, your officials, every Israelite man, 29:11 your infants, your wives, and the 61  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. 62  29:13 Today he will affirm that you are his people and that he is your God, 63  just as he promised you and as he swore by oath to your ancestors 64  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. 65 

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 66  and idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold.) 67  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. 68  29:19 When such a person 69  hears the words of this oath he secretly 70  blesses himself 71  and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” 72  This will destroy 73  the watered ground with the parched. 74  29:20 The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger 75  will rage 76  against that man; all the curses 77  written in this scroll will fall upon him 78  and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. 79  29:21 The Lord will single him out 80  for judgment 81  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 82  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. 83  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 84  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. 85  29:27 That is why the Lord’s anger erupted against this land, bringing on it all the curses 86  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 87  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 88  I have set before you, you will reflect upon them 89  in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you. 30:2 Then if you and your descendants 90  turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being 91  just as 92  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 93  has scattered you. 30:4 Even if your exiles are in the most distant land, 94  from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 30:5 Then he 95  will bring you to the land your ancestors 96  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 97  your heart and the hearts of your descendants 98  so that you may love him 99  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 100  you today. 30:9 The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands 101  abundantly successful and multiply your children, 102  the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more 103  rejoice over you to make you prosperous 104  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 105  with your whole mind and being.

Exhortation to Covenant Obedience

30:11This commandment I am giving 106  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 107  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 108  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. 109  30:17 However, if you 110  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 111  perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. 112  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 113  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 114  in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Succession of Moses by Joshua

31:1 Then Moses went 115  and spoke these words 116  to all Israel. 31:2 He said to them, “Today I am a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, 117  and the Lord has said to me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ 31:3 As for the Lord your God, he is about to cross over before you; he will destroy these nations before you and dispossess them. As for Joshua, he is about to cross before you just as the Lord has said. 31:4 The Lord will do to them just what he did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and to their land, which he destroyed. 31:5 The Lord will deliver them over to you and you will do to them according to the whole commandment I have given you. 31:6 Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you! 31:7 Then Moses called out to Joshua 118  in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will accompany these people to the land that the Lord promised to give their ancestors, 119  and you will enable them to inherit it. 31:8 The Lord is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”

The Deposit of the Covenant Text

31:9 Then Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all Israel’s elders. 31:10 He 120  commanded them: “At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the cancellation of debts, 121  at the Feast of Temporary Shelters, 122  31:11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses, you must read this law before them 123  within their hearing. 31:12 Gather the people – men, women, and children, as well as the resident foreigners in your villages – so they may hear and thus learn about and fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the words of this law. 31:13 Then their children, who have not known this law, 124  will also hear about and learn to fear the Lord your God for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

The Commissioning of Joshua

31:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The day of your death is near. Summon Joshua and present yourselves in the tent 125  of meeting 126  so that I can commission him.” 127  So Moses and Joshua presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 31:15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud that 128  stood above the door of the tent. 31:16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die, 129  and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they 130  are going. They 131  will reject 132  me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 133  31:17 At that time 134  my anger will erupt against them 135  and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome 136  them 137  so that they 138  will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters 139  overcome us 140  because our 141  God is not among us 142 ?’ 31:18 But I will certainly 143  hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they 144  will have done by turning to other gods. 31:19 Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites! 31:20 For after I have brought them 145  to the land I promised to their 146  ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they 147  eat their fill 148  and become fat, then they 149  will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 31:21 Then when 150  many disasters and distresses overcome them 151  this song will testify against them, 152  for their 153  descendants will not forget it. 154  I know the 155  intentions they have in mind 156  today, even before I bring them 157  to the land I have promised.” 31:22 So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, 31:23 and the Lord 158  commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.” 159 

Anticipation of Disobedience

31:24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 31:25 he 160  commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 31:26 Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 31:27 for I know about your rebellion and stubbornness. 161  Indeed, even while I have been living among you to this very day, you have rebelled against the Lord; you will be even more rebellious after my death! 162  31:28 Gather to me all your tribal elders and officials so I can speak to them directly about these things and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 31:29 For I know that after I die you will totally 163  corrupt yourselves and turn away from the path I have commanded you to walk. Disaster will confront you in the days to come because you will act wickedly 164  before the Lord, inciting him to anger because of your actions.” 165  31:30 Then Moses recited the words of this song from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel.

Invocation of Witnesses

32:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;

hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

32:2 My teaching will drop like the rain,

my sayings will drip like the dew, 166 

as rain drops upon the grass,

and showers upon new growth.

32:3 For I will proclaim the name 167  of the Lord;

you must acknowledge the greatness of our God.

32:4 As for the Rock, 168  his work is perfect,

for all his ways are just.

He is a reliable God who is never unjust,

he is fair 169  and upright.

32:5 His people have been unfaithful 170  to him;

they have not acted like his children 171 this is their sin. 172 

They are a perverse 173  and deceitful generation.

32:6 Is this how you repay 174  the Lord,

you foolish, unwise people?

Is he not your father, your creator?

He has made you and established you.

32:7 Remember the ancient days;

bear in mind 175  the years of past generations. 176 

Ask your father and he will inform you,

your elders, and they will tell you.

32:8 When the Most High 177  gave the nations their inheritance,

when he divided up humankind, 178 

he set the boundaries of the peoples,

according to the number of the heavenly assembly. 179 

32:9 For the Lord’s allotment is his people,

Jacob is his special possession. 180 

32:10 The Lord 181  found him 182  in a desolate land,

in an empty wasteland where animals howl. 183 

He continually guarded him 184  and taught him; 185 

he continually protected him 186  like the pupil 187  of his eye.

32:11 Like an eagle that stirs up 188  its nest,

that hovers over its young,

so the Lord 189  spread out his wings and took him, 190 

he lifted him up on his pinions.

32:12 The Lord alone was guiding him, 191 

no foreign god was with him.

32:13 He enabled him 192  to travel over the high terrain of the land,

and he ate of the produce of the fields.

He provided honey for him from the cliffs, 193 

and olive oil 194  from the hardest of 195  rocks, 196 

32:14 butter from the herd

and milk from the flock,

along with the fat of lambs,

rams and goats of Bashan,

along with the best of the kernels of wheat;

and from the juice of grapes you drank wine.

Israel’s Rebellion

32:15 But Jeshurun 197  became fat and kicked,

you 198  got fat, thick, and stuffed!

Then he deserted the God who made him,

and treated the Rock who saved him with contempt.

32:16 They made him jealous with other gods, 199 

they enraged him with abhorrent idols. 200 

32:17 They sacrificed to demons, not God,

to gods they had not known;

to new gods who had recently come along,

gods your ancestors 201  had not known about.

32:18 You have forgotten 202  the Rock who fathered you,

and put out of mind the God who gave you birth.

A Word of Judgment

32:19 But the Lord took note and despised them

because his sons and daughters enraged him.

32:20 He said, “I will reject them, 203 

I will see what will happen to them;

for they are a perverse generation,

children 204  who show no loyalty.

32:21 They have made me jealous 205  with false gods, 206 

enraging me with their worthless gods; 207 

so I will make them jealous with a people they do not recognize, 208 

with a nation slow to learn 209  I will enrage them.

32:22 For a fire has been kindled by my anger,

and it burns to lowest Sheol; 210 

it consumes the earth and its produce,

and ignites the foundations of the mountains.

32:23 I will increase their 211  disasters,

I will use up my arrows on them.

32:24 They will be starved by famine,

eaten by plague, and bitterly stung; 212 

I will send the teeth of wild animals against them,

along with the poison of creatures that crawl in the dust.

32:25 The sword will make people childless outside,

and terror will do so inside;

they will destroy 213  both the young man and the virgin,

the infant and the gray-haired man.

The Weakness of Other Gods

32:26I said, ‘I want to cut them in pieces. 214 

I want to make people forget they ever existed.

32:27 But I fear the reaction 215  of their enemies,

for 216  their adversaries would misunderstand

and say, “Our power is great, 217 

and the Lord has not done all this!”’

32:28 They are a nation devoid of wisdom,

and there is no understanding among them.

32:29 I wish that they were wise and could understand this,

and that they could comprehend what will happen to them.”

32:30 How can one man chase a thousand of them, 218 

and two pursue ten thousand;

unless their Rock had delivered them up, 219 

and the Lord had handed them over?

32:31 For our enemies’ 220  rock is not like our Rock,

as even our enemies concede.

32:32 For their vine is from the stock 221  of Sodom,

and from the fields of Gomorrah. 222 

Their grapes contain venom,

their clusters of grapes are bitter.

32:33 Their wine is snakespoison,

the deadly venom of cobras.

32:34Is this not stored up with me?” says the Lord, 223 

“Is it not sealed up in my storehouses?

32:35 I will get revenge and pay them back

at the time their foot slips;

for the day of their disaster is near,

and the impending judgment 224  is rushing upon them!

32:36 The Lord will judge his people,

and will change his plans concerning 225  his servants;

when he sees that their power has disappeared,

and that no one is left, whether confined or set free.

32:37 He will say, “Where are their gods,

the rock in whom they sought security,

32:38 who ate the best of their sacrifices,

and drank the wine of their drink offerings?

Let them rise and help you;

let them be your refuge!

The Vindication of the Lord

32:39See now that I, indeed I, am he!” says the Lord, 226 

“and there is no other god besides me.

I kill and give life,

I smash and I heal,

and none can resist 227  my power.

32:40 For I raise up my hand to heaven,

and say, ‘As surely as I live forever,

32:41 I will sharpen my lightning-like sword,

and my hand will grasp hold of the weapon of judgment; 228 

I will execute vengeance on my foes,

and repay those who hate me! 229 

32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,

and my sword will devour flesh

the blood of the slaughtered and captured,

the chief 230  of the enemy’s leaders!’

NET Bible Study Environment