Blessings for Obeying the Law
28 “Now, if you will be careful to obey the Lord your God and follow all his commands that I tell you today, the Lord your God will put you high above all the nations on earth. 2 If you will obey the Lord your God, all these blessings will come to you and be yours:
3 “He will bless you
in the city and in the field.
4 He will bless you
and give you many children.
He will bless your land
and give you good crops.
He will bless your animals
and let them have many babies.
He will bless you with calves and lambs.
5 He will bless your baskets and pans
and fill them with food.
6 He will bless you at all times
in everything you do.
7 “The Lord will help you defeat your enemies who come to fight against you. Your enemies will come against you one way, but they will run away from you seven different ways!
8 “The Lord will bless you and fill your barns. He will bless everything you do. The Lord your God will bless you in the land that he is giving you. 9 If you follow the Lord your God and obey his commands, he will do what he promised. The Lord will make you his own special people. 10 Then all the people in that land will see that you are called to be the Lord’s people, and they will be afraid of you.
11 “And the Lord will give you many good things. He will give you many children. He will give your cows many calves. He will give you a good harvest in the land that the Lord promised your ancestors to give you. 12 The Lord will open his storehouse where he keeps his rich blessings. He will send rain at the right time for your land. He will bless everything you do. You will have money to lend to many nations. And you will not need to borrow anything from them. 13 The Lord will make you be like the head, not the tail. You will be on top, not on the bottom. This will happen if you listen to the commands of the Lord your God that I tell you today. You must carefully obey these commands. 14 You must not turn away from any of the teachings that I give you today. You must not turn away to the right or to the left. You must not follow other gods to serve them.
Curses for Not Obeying the Law
15 “But if you don’t listen to what the Lord your God tells you—if you don’t obey all his commands and laws that I tell you today—then all these bad things will happen to you:
16 “The Lord will curse you
in the city and in the field.
17 He will curse you
with empty baskets and pans.
18 He will curse you,
and you will not have many children.
He will curse your land,
and you will not have good crops.
He will curse your animals,
and they will not have many babies.
He will curse your calves and lambs.
19 He will curse you at all times
in everything you do.
20 “If you do evil and turn away from the Lord, he will make bad things happen to you. You will have frustration and trouble in everything you do. He will continue to do this until you are quickly and completely destroyed. He will do this because you turned away from him and left him. 21 The Lord will send you terrible diseases until you no longer exist, until you are completely gone from the land. 22 The Lord will punish you with diseases, fever, and swelling. He will send you terrible heat and you will have no rain. Your crops will die from the heat and disease.[a] All these bad things will happen until you are destroyed! 23 There will be no clouds in the sky—the sky will look like polished brass. And the ground under you will be hard like iron. 24 The Lord will not send rain—only sand and dust will fall from the sky. It will come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 “The Lord will let your enemies defeat you. You will go to fight against your enemies one way, but you will run away from them seven different ways. The bad things that happen to you will make all the people on earth afraid. 26 Your dead bodies will be food for the wild birds and animals. There will be no one to scare them away from your dead bodies.
27 “The Lord will punish you with boils, like those he sent on the Egyptians. He will punish you with tumors, sores that run, and an itch that cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will punish you by making you crazy. He will make you blind and confused. 29 In daylight you will have to feel your way like a blind man. You will fail in everything you do. Again and again people will hurt you and steal from you. And there will be no one to save you.
30 “You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will have sexual relations with her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not gather anything from it. 31 People will kill your cattle in front of you, but you will not eat any of the meat. People will take your donkeys, and they will not give them back to you. Your enemies will get your sheep, and there will be no one to help you.
32 “Other people will be allowed to take your sons and your daughters. Day after day you will look for your children. You will look for them until your eyes become weak and blind—but you will not find them. And God will not help you.
33 “A nation that you don’t know will take all your crops and everything you worked for. People will treat you badly and abuse you. 34 The things you see will make you go crazy. 35 The Lord will punish you with sore boils that cannot be healed. These boils will be on your knees and legs. The boils will be on every part of your body—from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
36 “The Lord will send you and your king away to a nation you don’t know. You and your ancestors have never seen that nation. There you will serve false gods made of wood and stone. 37 In the countries where the Lord will send you, the people will be shocked at the terrible things that happen to you. They will laugh at you and say bad things about you.
The Curse of Failure
38 “Your fields will produce plenty of grain. But your harvest will be small, because the locusts will eat your harvest. 39 You will plant vineyards and work hard in them. But you will not gather the grapes or drink the wine from them, because the worms will eat them. 40 You will have olive trees everywhere on your land. But you will not have any of the oil to use, because the olives will drop to the ground and rot. 41 You will have sons and daughters. But you will not be able to keep them, because they will be captured and taken away. 42 Locusts will destroy all your trees and the crops in your fields. 43 The foreigners living among you will get more and more power, and you will lose the power you had. 44 The foreigners will have money to loan you, but you will not have any money to loan them. They will control you the way the head controls the body. You will be like the tail.
45 “All these curses will come on you. They will keep chasing you and catching you, until you are destroyed, because you did not listen to what the Lord your God told you. You did not obey the commands and laws that he gave you. 46 These curses will show people that God judged you and your descendants forever. People will be amazed at the terrible things that happen to you.
47 “The Lord your God gave you many blessings. But you did not serve him with joy and a glad heart. 48 So you will serve the enemies the Lord will send against you. You will be hungry, thirsty, naked, and poor. He will put a load on you that cannot be removed. You will carry that load until he destroys you.[b]
The Curse of an Enemy Nation
49 “The Lord will bring a nation from far away to fight you. You will not understand their language. They will come quickly, like an eagle coming down from the sky. 50 These people will be cruel. They will not care about old people or show mercy to young children. 51 They will take your animals and the food you grow. They will take everything until they destroy you. They will not leave you any grain, wine, oil, cattle, sheep, or goats. They will take everything, until they destroy you.
52 “That nation will surround and attack your cities. You think that the tall, strong walls around your cities will protect you. But those walls will fall down. The enemy will surround all your cities everywhere in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 53 You will suffer very much. The enemy will surround your cities. They will not let you have any food. You will get very hungry. You will be so hungry that you will eat your own sons and daughters—you will eat the bodies of the children the Lord your God gave you.
54 “Even the most kind and gentle man among you will become cruel. He will be cruel to his family, and he will be cruel to his wife he loves so much. And he will be cruel to his children who are still alive. 55 He will have nothing left to eat, so he will eat his own children. And he will not share that meat with anyone—not even the other people in his own family. All these bad things will happen when your enemy comes to surround your cities and make you suffer.
56 “Even the most kind and gentle woman among you will become cruel. She might be a lady so gentle and delicate that she never put her feet on the ground to walk anywhere. But she will become cruel to her husband she loves so much. And she will be cruel to her own son and daughter. 57 She will hide and give birth to a baby. And she will eat the baby and everything that comes out of her body with it. All these bad things will happen when your enemy comes to surround your cities and make you suffer.
58 “You must obey all the commands and teachings that are written in this book. And you must respect the wonderful and awesome name of the Lord your God. If you don’t obey, 59 the Lord will punish you and your descendants with terrible diseases. He will cause you to suffer illnesses that have no cure. And you will find no relief for your misery! 60 He will bring on you all the diseases you saw in Egypt that filled you with fear, and you will not be able to avoid them. 61 The Lord will even bring troubles and diseases that are not written in this Book of Teachings. He will continue to do this until you are destroyed. 62 You might have as many people as the stars in the sky. But only a few of you will be left, because you did not listen to the Lord your God.
63 “The Lord was happy to be good to you and to make your nation grow. In the same way the Lord will be happy to ruin and destroy you. You are going to take that land to be yours. But people will take you out of that land! 64 The Lord will scatter you among all the people in the world. He will scatter you from one end of the earth to the other. There you will serve false gods made of wood and stone. They are false gods that you or your ancestors never worshiped.
65 “You will not have any peace among these nations. You will have no place to rest. The Lord will fill your mind with worry. Your eyes will feel tired. You will be very upset. 66 You will live with danger and always be afraid. You will be afraid night and day. You will never feel sure about your life. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘I wish it were evening!’ In the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ This will happen because of the fear in your heart and the terrible things you will see. 68 The Lord will send you back to Egypt in ships. I said you would never have to go to that place again, but he will send you there. In Egypt you will try to sell yourselves as slaves to your enemies, but no one will buy you.”
The Agreement in Moab
29 The Lord made an agreement with the Israelites at Mount Horeb. In addition to that agreement, he also commanded Moses to make another agreement with them while they were in Moab. This is that agreement.
2 Moses called together all the Israelites. He said to them, “You saw everything the Lord did in the land of Egypt. You saw what he did to Pharaoh, to Pharaoh’s officers, and to his whole country. 3 You saw the great troubles he gave them. You saw the miracles and amazing things he did. 4 But even today, you still don’t understand what happened. The Lord has not let you really understand what you saw and heard. 5 He led you through the desert for 40 years, and in all that time, your clothes and sandals did not wear out. 6 You did not have any food with you. You did not have any wine or anything else to drink. But he took care of you so that you would understand that he is the Lord your God.
7 “You came to this place, and King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to fight against us. But we defeated them. 8 Then we took their land and gave it to the people in the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to half the tribe of Manasseh. 9 If you obey all the commands in this agreement, you will continue to succeed in everything you do.
10 “Today all of you are standing here before the Lord your God. Your leaders, your officials, your elders, and all the other men are here. 11 Your wives and children are here and also the foreigners living among you—the people who cut your wood and bring you water. 12 You are all here to enter into an agreement with the Lord your God. The Lord your God is making this agreement with you today. 13 With this agreement he is making you his own special people, and he himself will become your God. He told you this. He promised this to your ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 14 The Lord is making this agreement with its promises with you people, but not only with you. 15 Yes, he is making this agreement with all of you who stand here with us today before the Lord our God. But this agreement is also for our descendants who are not here with us today. 16 You remember how we lived in the land of Egypt. And you remember how we traveled through the countries that were on our way here. 17 You saw their hated things—the idols they had made from wood, stone, silver, and gold. 18 Be sure that there is no man, woman, family or tribe here today who turns away from the Lord our God. No one should go and serve the gods of the other nations. People who do that are like a plant that grows bitter and poisonous fruit.
19 “Some people might hear these curses and comfort themselves by saying, ‘I will continue doing what I want. Nothing bad will happen to me.’ But that attitude will bring total disaster. 20-21 The Lord will not forgive them for that. No, the Lord will be angry and upset with them and punish them. The Lord will separate them from the tribes of Israel. He will completely destroy them. All the curses that are written in this book will happen to them. They are a part of the agreement that is written in this Book of Teachings.
22 “In the future, your descendants and foreigners from faraway countries will see how the land has been ruined. They will see the diseases that the Lord has brought to it. 23 All the land will be useless—destroyed by burning sulfur and covered with salt. The land will have nothing planted in it. Nothing will be growing—not even weeds. The land will be destroyed like Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, the cities the Lord destroyed when he was very angry.
24 “All the other nations will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land? Why was he so angry?’ 25 The answer will be, ‘This happened because the Israelites left the agreement of the Lord, the God of their ancestors. They stopped following the agreement he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 The Israelites started serving other gods—gods they never worshiped before. The Lord told his people not to worship those gods. 27 That is why the Lord became very angry with the people of this land. So he brought to them all the curses that are written in this book. 28 The Lord became very angry and upset with them. So he took them out of their land. He put them in another land, where they are today.’
29 “There are some things that the Lord our God has kept secret. Only he knows these things. But he told us about some things. And these teachings are for us and our descendants forever. And we must obey all the commands in that law.
The Israelites Will Return to Their Land
30 “Everything that I have mentioned will happen to you—both the blessings and the curses. And you will remember these words when the Lord your God sends you away to other nations. 2 Then you and your descendants will turn back to the Lord your God. You will follow him with all your heart and completely obey all his commands that I have given you today. 3 Then the Lord your God will be kind to you. The Lord your God will make you free again! He will bring you back from the nations where he sent you. 4 Even if you were sent to the farthest parts of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back. 5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land your ancestors had, and the land will become yours. He will do good to you, and you will have more than your ancestors had. You will have more people in your nation than they ever had. 6 The Lord your God will make you and your descendants want to obey him.[c] Then you will love the Lord your God with all your heart. And you will live!
7 “Then the Lord your God will make all these bad things happen to your enemies, who hate you and cause you trouble. 8 And you will again obey the Lord. You will obey all his commands that I give you today. 9 The Lord your God will make you successful in everything you do. He will bless you with many children. He will bless your cows—they will have many calves. He will bless your fields—they will grow many good crops. He will be good to you. The Lord will again enjoy doing good for you, the same as he enjoyed doing good for your ancestors. 10 But you must do what the Lord your God tells you to do. You must obey his commands and follow the rules that are written in this Book of Teachings. You must obey the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Then these good things will happen to you.
Life or Death
11 “This command that I give you today is not too hard for you. It is not a secret hidden in some far away land. 12 This command is not in heaven so that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it to us, so that we can hear and do it?’ 13 This command is not on the other side of the sea so that you should say, ‘Who will go across the sea for us and bring it to us, so that we can hear it and do it?’ 14 No, the word is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart. So you can obey it.
15 “Today I have given you a choice between life and death, success and disaster.[d] 16 I command you today to love the Lord your God. I command you to follow him and to obey his commands, laws, and rules. Then you will live, and your nation will grow larger. And the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take for your own. 17 But if you turn away from your God and refuse to listen, if you are led away to worship and serve other gods, 18 you will be destroyed. I am warning you today, if you turn away from God, you will not live long in that land across the Jordan River that you are ready to enter and take for your own.
19 “Today I am giving you a choice of two ways. And I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses of your choice. You can choose life or death. The first choice will bring a blessing. The other choice will bring a curse. So choose life! Then you and your children will live. 20 You must love the Lord your God and obey him. Never leave him, because he is your life. And he will give you a long life in the land that he, the Lord, promised to give to your ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
- Deuteronomy 28:22 disease This might be mildew, a disease that turns the heads of grain yellow and stops them from growing seeds.
- Deuteronomy 28:48 He … destroys you Literally, “He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he destroys you.”
- Deuteronomy 30:6 make you … obey him Literally, “circumcise the hearts of you and your seed.”
- Deuteronomy 30:15 success and disaster Or “good and evil.”