Curses for Disobedience

15 “But if you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all His commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you:(A)

16 You will be cursed in the city
and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and kneading bowl will be cursed.
18 Your descendants[a] will be cursed,
and your land’s produce,
the young of your herds,
and the newborn of your flocks.
19 You will be cursed when you come in
and cursed when you go out.

20 The Lord will send against you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything you do[b] until you are destroyed and quickly perish, because of the wickedness of your actions in abandoning Me. 21 The Lord will make pestilence cling to you until He has exterminated you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will afflict you with wasting disease, fever, inflammation, burning heat, drought,[c] blight, and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish. 23 The sky above you will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your land into falling[d] dust; it will descend on you from the sky until you are destroyed. 25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will march out against them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions. You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your corpses will be food for all the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land, with no one to scare them away.(B)

27 “The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, tumors, a festering rash, and scabies, from which you cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness, and mental confusion, 29 so that at noon you will grope as a blind man gropes in the dark.(C) You will not be successful in anything you do. You will only be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will help you. 30 You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not enjoy its fruit. 31 Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it. Your donkey will be taken away from you and not returned to you. Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will help you. 32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another people, while your eyes grow weary looking for them every day. But you will be powerless to do anything.[e] 33 A people you don’t know will eat your land’s produce and everything you have labored for. You will only be oppressed and crushed continually. 34 You will be driven mad by what you see. 35 The Lord will afflict you with painful and incurable boils on your knees and thighs—from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.(D)

36 “The Lord will bring you and your king that you have appointed to a nation neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone. 37 You will become an object of horror, scorn, and ridicule among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.(E)

38 “You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it. 39 You will plant and cultivate vineyards but not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. 40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but not anoint yourself with oil, because your olives will drop off. 41 You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will be taken prisoner. 42 Whirring insects will take possession of all your trees and your land’s produce. 43 The foreign resident among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you, but you won’t lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.

45 “All these curses will come, pursue, and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the Lord your God and keep the commands and statutes He gave you. 46 These curses will be a sign and a wonder against you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything, 48 you will serve your enemies the Lord will send against you, in famine, thirst, nakedness, and a lack of everything. He will place an iron yoke(F) on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation from far away, from the ends of the earth, to swoop down on you like an eagle, a nation whose language you don’t understand, 50 a ruthless nation,[f] showing no respect for the old and not sparing the young. 51 They will eat the offspring of your livestock and your land’s produce until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, oil, young of your herds, or newborn of your flocks until they cause you to perish. 52 They will besiege you within all your gates until your high and fortified walls, that you trust in, come down throughout your land. They will besiege you within all your gates throughout the land the Lord your God has given you.

53 “You will eat your children,[g] the flesh of your sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you(G) during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you. 54 The most sensitive and refined man among you will look grudgingly[h] at his brother, the wife he embraces,[i] and the rest of his children, 55 refusing to share with any of them his children’s flesh that he will eat because he has nothing left during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you in all your towns. 56 The most sensitive and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her refinement and sensitivity, will begrudge the husband she embraces, her son, and her daughter, 57 the afterbirth that comes out from between her legs and the children she bears, because she will secretly eat them for lack of anything else during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you within your gates.

58 “If you are not careful to obey all the words of this law, which are written in this scroll, by fearing this glorious and awesome name—Yahweh, your God— 59 He will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses. 60 He will afflict you again with all the diseases of Egypt, which you dreaded, and they will cling to you. 61 The Lord will also afflict you with every sickness and plague not recorded in the book of this law, until you are destroyed. 62 Though you were as numerous as the stars of the sky, you will be left with only a few people, because you did not obey the Lord your God. 63 Just as the Lord was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so He will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be deported from the land you are entering to possess. 64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place(H) for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’—because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see. 68 The Lord will take you back in ships to Egypt by a route that I said you would never see again.(I) There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 28:18 Lit The fruit of your womb
  2. Deuteronomy 28:20 Lit you put your hand to
  3. Deuteronomy 28:22 Or sword
  4. Deuteronomy 28:24 Lit powder and
  5. Deuteronomy 28:32 Lit day, and not for power your hand
  6. Deuteronomy 28:50 Lit a nation strong of face
  7. Deuteronomy 28:53 Lit eat the fruit of your womb
  8. Deuteronomy 28:54 Lit you his eye will be evil
  9. Deuteronomy 28:54 Lit wife of his bosom

Abandoning the Covenant

16 “Indeed, you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and passed through the nations where you traveled. 17 You saw their detestable images and idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which were among them. 18 Be sure there is no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Be sure there is no root among you bearing poisonous and bitter fruit.(A) 19 When someone hears the words of this oath, he may consider himself exempt,[a] thinking, ‘I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart.’ This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land. 20 The Lord will not be willing to forgive him. Instead, His anger and jealousy will burn against that person, and every curse written in this scroll will descend on him. The Lord will blot out his name under heaven, 21 and single him out for harm from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.

22 “Future generations of your children who follow you and the foreigner who comes from a distant country will see the plagues of the land and the sicknesses the Lord has inflicted on it. 23 All its soil will be a burning waste of sulfur and salt, unsown, producing nothing, with no plant growing on it, just like the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord demolished in His fierce anger.(B) 24 All the nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ 25 Then people will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of Yahweh, the God of their fathers, which He had made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26 They began to worship other gods, bowing down to gods they had not known—gods that the Lord had not permitted them to worship.(C) 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, and He brought every curse written in this book on it. 28 The Lord uprooted them from their land in His anger, rage, and great wrath, and threw them into another land where they are today.’ 29 The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.

Returning to the Lord

30 “When all these things happen to you—the blessings and curses I have set before you—and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul by doing[b] everything I am giving you today, then He will restore your fortunes,[c] have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.(D) Even if your exiles are at the ends of the earth,[d] He will gather you and bring you back from there.(E) The Lord your God will bring you into the land your fathers possessed, and you will take possession of it.(F) He will cause you to prosper and multiply you more than He did your fathers. The Lord your God will circumcise your heart(G) and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. Then you will again obey Him and follow all His commands I am giving you today. The Lord your God will make you prosper abundantly in all the work of your hands(H) with children,[e] the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce. Indeed, the Lord will again delight in your prosperity, as He delighted in that of your fathers, 10 when you obey the Lord your God by keeping His commands and statutes that are written in this book of the law and return to Him with all your heart and all your soul.

Choose Life

11 “This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach. 12 It is not in heaven so that you have to ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ 13 And it is not across the sea so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ 14 But the message is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it.(I) 15 See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity.(J) 16 For[f] I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live[g] and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not live long in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life(K) so that you and your descendants may live, 20 love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful[h] to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers(L) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 29:19 Lit may bless himself in his heart
  2. Deuteronomy 30:2 Lit soul according to
  3. Deuteronomy 30:3 Or will end your captivity
  4. Deuteronomy 30:4 Lit skies
  5. Deuteronomy 30:9 Lit hands in the fruit of your womb
  6. Deuteronomy 30:16 LXX reads If you obey the commands of the Lord your God that
  7. Deuteronomy 30:16 LXX reads ordinances, then you will live
  8. Deuteronomy 30:20 Lit and hold on

22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished,(A) they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord

Read full chapter