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The Blessings for Obedience

28 If you fully obey the voice of the Lord your God by carefully carrying out all his commandments that I am giving you today, then the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All of the following blessings will come upon you and overtake you, if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the fields.
You will be blessed in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your soil, and in the fruit of your animals: the calves of your cattle and the lambs of your flock.
You will be blessed in your basket and in your kneading trough.
You will be blessed when you come in, and you will be blessed when you go out.
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. From one direction they will come out against you, but they will flee from you in seven directions.
The Lord will command a blessing on you in your storehouses and in regard to every action of your hand, and he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, just as he swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and you walk in his ways.
10 Then all the people of the earth will see that the name of the Lord has been proclaimed over you, and they will fear you.
11 The Lord will cause you to be overflowing with good things: with the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your animals, and the fruit of the soil of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
12 The Lord will open for you his good storehouse, the heavens, by giving rain for your land in its season and by blessing all the work of your hand.
Then you will cause many nations to borrow from you, but you yourself will not borrow.
13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will be only at the top and never at the bottom, if you conscientiously obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today to carry out, 14 and if you do not turn away to the right or to the left from all the words that I am commanding you today, to walk after other gods and serve them.

The Curses for Disobedience

15 If you do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do not carefully carry out all of his commandments and statutes that 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 you will be cursed in the fields.
17 You will be cursed in your basket and in your kneading trough.
18 You will be cursed in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your soil, in the calves of your cattle and in the lambs of your flock.
19 You will be cursed when you come in, and you will be cursed when you go out.
20 The Lord will send on you a curse and confusion and opposition in every undertaking of your hand that you carry out, until you are destroyed and until you quickly perish, because of the evil you have done by forsaking me.
21 The Lord will cause epidemics to cling to you until he has removed you from your land that you are going to possess.
22 The Lord will strike you with wasting diseases, fever, and inflammation, with intense heat and with drought,[a] and with blight and with mildew.[b] They will pursue you until you perish.
23 The skies over your head will become bronze, and the earth under you will become iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your land to dust. From the heavens it will come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. In one direction you will go out against them, but in seven directions you will flee from them, and you will become a horrible sight to all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 Your dead bodies will become food for every bird of the sky and every animal of the earth, and there will not be anyone to scare them away.
27 The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, scabs, and itch, from which you cannot be healed.
28 The Lord will strike you with insanity and with blindness and with a confused mind.
29 You will grope at noon as a blind person gropes in the dark, and you will not prosper in your ways.
You will be cheated and robbed all the time, and there will be no one to rescue you.
30 You will be pledged in marriage to a woman, but another man will violate her.
You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not enjoy its fruit.
31 Your ox will be slaughtered in front of your eyes, but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be seized right in front of your face, and it will not return to you. Your flock will be given to your enemies, but there will be no one to help you.
32 Your sons and your daughters will be given to another people, and your eyes will grow weak as you look longingly for them all day long, but your hands will be powerless.
33 A people that you do not know will eat what your soil and all your work produces.
You will be squeezed and crushed throughout the days 34 until you go insane from the sights that your eyes will see.
35 The Lord will strike you on your knees and legs with distressing boils from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

36 The Lord will lead you and the king, whom you will set over you, to a nation that you and your fathers have not known, and there you will serve other gods of wood and stone.

37 You will become an object of horror, the subject of proverbs, and the butt of sarcastic taunts among all the people to whom the Lord will send you.

38 You will take a lot of seed out to the field, but you will harvest little, because locusts will finish it off.

39 You will plant and tend vineyards, but you will not drink the wine and store it, because worms will eat them up.

40 You will have olive trees covering your whole property, but you will not anoint yourselves with oil, because your olives will fall off the trees.

41 You will produce sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will go into captivity.

42 Locusts will take possession of all of your trees and all the fruit of your land.

43 The alien who resides among you will ascend higher and higher over you, and you will descend lower and lower. 44 He will cause you to borrow, but you will not cause him to borrow. He will become the head, and you will become the tail.

45 All of these curses will come upon you, and they will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord your God by keeping his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. 46 They will be signs and wonders against you and your descendants perpetually.

47 Because you would not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness in your heart flowing from the abundance of everything he gave you, 48 you will serve your enemies that the Lord will unleash against you in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and a lack of everything, and he will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.

49 He will bring a nation from far away against you, from the end of the earth, as fast as an eagle soars through the air, a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a fierce nation that does not show any regard for the old or any mercy to the young. 51 That nation will eat the produce from your animals and the fruit from your soil until you are destroyed. It will leave you no grain, no new wine, no fresh oil, no calves of your cattle or lambs from your flock until it has caused you to perish. 52 That nation will besiege you in all of your cities until the high, fortified walls that you were trusting collapse throughout your land. When that nation besieges you in all of the cities throughout your whole land that the Lord your God is giving you, 53 you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, because of the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you.

54 The most sensitive and refined man among you will be so begrudging against his brother, against the wife he embraces, and against any of his children who still survive, 55 that he will not give to any one of them some of the flesh of his children that he is eating, because then he would have nothing left for himself, because of the siege and distress that your enemy will inflict on you in all of your cities.

56 The most sensitive and refined woman among you, so refined and sensitive that she would not venture to touch the sole of her foot to the ground, will begrudge the husband she embraces and her son and daughter 57 the afterbirth that goes out from between her legs and the babies that she gives birth to, because she plans to eat them secretly since she has nothing else, as a result of the siege and the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in all of your cities.

58 If you are not careful to carry out all the words of this law that are written in this book,[c] to fear this honored and awesome Name, the Lord your God, 59 then the Lord will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants: severe, long-lasting plagues and distressing, long-lasting sicknesses.

60 Then he will bring back on you all the sicknesses of Egypt that you feared, and they will cling to you. 61 More than that, the Lord will bring on you all other sicknesses and plagues that are not written in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.

62 Then you will be left as just a few people instead of being as numerous as the stars in the heavens, because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.

63 Just as the Lord delighted in making you prosperous and making you many in number, likewise the Lord will delight in causing you to perish and in destroying you. You will be torn away from your land that you are going to possess.

64 The Lord will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods, gods made of wood and stone, gods that you and your fathers have not known. 65 Still, among those nations you will find no peace, nor will the sole of your foot find a place to rest. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart and longing eyes and a despairing soul.

66 Your life will be hung out in front of you. Night and day you will live in dread, and you will not expect to survive.

67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” In the evening you will say, “If only it were morning!” because of the dread you feel in your heart and because of what your eyes see.

68 The Lord will send you back to Egypt in ships on a journey that I said you would never again experience. There you will try to sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 28:22 The translation follows an alternate reading of the Hebrew. The main Hebrew reading is sword.
  2. Deuteronomy 28:22 The identification of some of these plagues is uncertain.
  3. Deuteronomy 28:58 Ancient books were written on scrolls, not in bound books.

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