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Blessings at Gerizim

28 “Now it shall be, if you diligently listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all of His commandments which I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you pay attention to the voice of the Lord your God.

“You will be blessed in the city, and you will be blessed in the field.

“The [a]offspring of your [b]body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your animals, the offspring of your herd and the young of your flock will be blessed.

“Your basket and your kneading bowl will be blessed.

“You will be blessed when you come in and you will be blessed when you go out.

“The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way, but flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your storehouses and in [c]all that you undertake, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy [and set apart] to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk [that is, live your life each and every day] in His ways. 10 So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. 11 The Lord will give you great prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open for you His good treasure house, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. 13 The Lord will make you the head (leader) and not the tail (follower); and you will be above only, and you will not be beneath, if you listen and pay attention to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, to observe them carefully. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the words which I am commanding you today, to the right or to the left, to follow and serve other gods.

Consequences of Disobedience

15 “But it shall come about, if you do not listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today, then all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

16 “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field.

17 “Your basket and your kneading bowl will be cursed.

18 “The offspring of your body and the produce of your land, the offspring of your herd and the young of your flock will be cursed.

19 “You will be cursed when you come in and you will be cursed when you go out.

20 “The Lord will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed, perishing quickly because of the evil of your deeds, because you have [d]turned away from Me. 21 The Lord will make the pestilence and plague cling to you until He has consumed and eliminated you from the land which you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with consumption [causing you to waste away] and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew [on your crops]; and they will pursue you until you perish. 23 The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze [giving no rain and blocking all prayers], and the earth which is under you, iron [hard to plow and yielding no produce]. 24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it will come down on you until you are destroyed.

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out against them one way, but flee before them seven ways, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth [when they see your destruction].(A) 26 Your carcasses will be food for all the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.

27 “The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and the itch that you cannot heal. 28 The Lord will strike you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart and mind; 29 and you will be groping at noon [in broad daylight], just as the blind grope in the darkness, and nothing you do will prosper; but you will only be oppressed and exploited and robbed continually, with no one to save you. 30 You will be pledged to marry a wife, but another man will be intimate with her [before you]; you will build a house, but you will not live in it; you will plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit. 31 Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it; your donkey will be torn away from you, and it will not be returned to you; your sheep will be given to your enemies, and you will have no one to save you. 32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another people, while your eyes look on and long for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do.(B) 33 A people whom you do not know will eat the produce of your land and all the products of your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and exploited and crushed continually.(C) 34 You shall be driven mad by the sight of [e]the things you see. 35 The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with sore boils that you cannot heal, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36 The Lord will bring you and your king, whom you appoint over you, to a nation which you and your fathers have never known; there you will [be forced to] serve other gods, [lifeless gods of] wood and stone.(D) 37 And you will become a horror, a proverb [a mere object lesson], and a taunt [a derisive joke] among all the people to which the Lord drives you.

38 “You will bring out a great quantity of seed to the field, but you will gather in little, because the locusts will consume it.(E) 39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because the worm will eat them. 40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not [f]anoint yourselves with the oil, because your olives will drop off. 41 You will have sons and daughters, but they will not be yours [for long], because they will go into captivity.(F) 42 The cricket will take possession of all your trees and the produce of your ground.(G) 43 The stranger who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, and you will go down lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you [out of his affluence], but you will not lend to him [because of your poverty]; he will be the head, and you the tail.

45 “So all these curses will come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He has commanded you. 46 They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever.

47 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with a heart full of joy and gladness for the abundance of all things [with which He blessed you], 48 you will therefore serve your enemies whom the Lord sends against you, in hunger and in thirst, in nakedness and in lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke [of slavery] on your neck until He has destroyed you.

49 “The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, [as swift] as the eagle swoops down [to attack], a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a [g]defiant nation who will [h]have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young, 51 and it will eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who will leave you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the offspring of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. 52 They will besiege you in all your cities until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land; and they will besiege you in all your cities throughout your land which the Lord your God has given you. 53 Then you will eat the offspring of your own body [to avoid starvation], the flesh of your sons and daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, during the siege and the misery by which your enemy will oppress you.(H) 54 The man who is most refined and well-bred among you [i]will be cruel and hostile toward his brother and toward [j]the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55 so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children [k]which he will eat, [l]because he has nothing else left, during the siege and the misery by which your enemy will oppress you in all your cities. 56 The most refined and well-bred woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and pampered, [m]will be cruel and hostile toward [n]the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, 57 and toward her afterbirth that comes from between her legs and toward the children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the misery by which your enemy will oppress you in your cities.

58 “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, to fear and honor with reverence this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 59 then the Lord will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses. 60 Moreover, He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you. 61 Also the Lord will bring on you every sickness and every plague which is not written in this book of this law, until you are destroyed. 62 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, you who were as numerous as the stars of heaven shall be left few in number. 63 It shall come about that just as the Lord delighted over you to make you prosper and multiply, so the Lord will delight over you to bring you to ruin and destruction; and you will be [o]uprooted [violently] from the land which you are entering to possess. 64 And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other; and there you will [be forced to] serve other gods, [lifeless gods of] wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.(I) 65 Among those nations you will find no peace (rest), and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despairing soul. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; night and day you will be filled with anxiety and have no assurance of living. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘I wish it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’—because of the dread in your heart with which you tremble, and because of the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68 The Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I said to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no one to buy you.(J)

The Covenant in Moab

29 These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the sons of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which He made with them at Horeb (Sinai).

[p]Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his servants, and to all his land; the great trials [of Pharaoh] which your eyes have seen, the signs and those great wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart and mind to understand, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. I have led you in the wilderness forty years; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or strong drink, so that you might know that I am the Lord your God [on whom you must depend]. When you reached this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out to meet us in battle, but we defeated them; and we took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. So keep the words of this covenant and obey them, so that you may prosper and be successful in everything that you do.

10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God—your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) who is in your camps, from [q]the one who chops and gathers your firewood to the one who draws your water— 12 so that you may enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, and into His oath and agreement which the Lord your God is making with you today, 13 so that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

14 “It is not with you alone that I am making this covenant and this oath, 15 but with those [future Israelites] who are not here with us today, as well as with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we passed through the nations along the way; 17 and you have seen their detestable acts and their [repulsive] idols of wood and stone, [lifeless images] of silver and gold, which they had with them), 18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the [false] gods of these nations; so that there will not be among you a root [of idolatry] bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood (bitterness). 19 It will happen that when he (a renegade) hears the words of this oath, and he [r]imagines himself as blessed, saying, ‘I will have peace and safety even though I walk within the stubbornness of my heart [rejecting God and His law], in order that the watered land dwindles away along with the dry [destroying everything],’ 20 the Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but then the anger of the Lord and His [s]jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him; the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for disaster from all the tribes of Israel [making an example of him], according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law.

22 Now the next generation, your children who come after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of this land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it, will say, 23 ‘The whole land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it; it is like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and wrath.’ 24 All the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done this thing to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ 25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned (broke) the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26 For they went and served other gods and worshiped them, [false] gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted (given) to them. 27 So the anger of the Lord burned against this land, bringing on it every curse that is written in this book; 28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in wrath and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’

29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed and disclosed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may do all of the words of this law.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 28:4 Lit fruit and so throughout.
  2. Deuteronomy 28:4 Lit womb.
  3. Deuteronomy 28:8 Lit all to which you set your hand.
  4. Deuteronomy 28:20 Lit forsaken.
  5. Deuteronomy 28:34 Lit your eyes which you.
  6. Deuteronomy 28:40 Olive oil was commonly used like a cosmetic to soften the skin, and as a hair dressing.
  7. Deuteronomy 28:50 Lit strong of face. Assyria and Babylonia have been suggested as prophetic fulfillments for this nation, and prophecy often has more than one fulfillment.
  8. Deuteronomy 28:50 Lit not lift up the face of.
  9. Deuteronomy 28:54 Lit his eye will be evil toward.
  10. Deuteronomy 28:54 Lit the wife of his bosom.
  11. Deuteronomy 28:55 The horror of the situation is understated: this self-absorbed father begins killing some of his children to feed himself. The rest of the family, also starving under the brutal conditions, probably want some of the macabre meal but the father keeps it all for himself.
  12. Deuteronomy 28:55 The implication is that under ordinary conditions, such a person would undoubtedly gag at eating perfectly good food that might be slightly stale or otherwise unappealing to him.
  13. Deuteronomy 28:56 Lit her eye will be evil toward.
  14. Deuteronomy 28:56 Lit the husband of her bosom.
  15. Deuteronomy 28:63 There have been many “uprootings” from the land, notably those by Nebuchadnezzar (605, 587, 586 b.c.), Titus (a.d. 70), and later by the Emperor Hadrian (a.d. 135) who issued a proclamation forbidding Jews to live in Judea, or even to approach its border. In his attempt to eradicate Judaism, among other things, Hadrian renamed the Roman province of Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines).
  16. Deuteronomy 29:2 Ch 29:1 in Hebrew.
  17. Deuteronomy 29:11 This probably refers to a permanent slave population (Josh 9:27).
  18. Deuteronomy 29:19 Lit blesses himself in his heart. That is, the renegade imagines that the agreement is one-sided, requiring God to bless him no matter what he does.
  19. Deuteronomy 29:20 I.e. intolerance of unfaithfulness.

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