Deuteronomy 28: The Blessings & Curses
5: Ch.26-30 Preparing to Enter Commitment Issues
26 – First-Fruits, Tithes
27 – Ceremonies of Blessing
– The Blessings
– Renewal of the Covenant
for Now & the Future
The Form of the Blessings for Obedience
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience
detailed comment on this chapter, see end of text.]
The Form of the Blessings for Obedience
you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his
commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high
above all the nations on earth.
these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey
the Lord your God:
will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land
and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the
lambs of your flocks.
basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will
be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction
but flee from you in seven.
Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you
put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land
he is giving you.
Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you
on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk
in obedience to him.
all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name
of the Lord , and they will fear you.
Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb,
the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the
land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send
rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your
hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention
to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day
and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never
at the bottom.
not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the
right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: General
if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow
all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these
curses will come on you and overtake you:
will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land,
and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything
you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden
ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Health (1)
Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you
from the land you are entering to possess.
Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation,
with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which
will plague you until you perish.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Weather
sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron.
Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder;
it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.
Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Defeat by Enemies
Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will
come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and
you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.
carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals,
and there will be no one to frighten them away.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Health (2)
Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumours,
festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured.
Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of
midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You
will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will
be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Life Frustrated by Defeat
will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take
her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live
in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin
to enjoy its fruit.
ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none
of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not
be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no
one will rescue them.
sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will
wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless
to lift a hand.
people that you do not know will eat what your land and labour
produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Health (3)
sights you see will drive you mad.
Lord will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that
cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the
top of your head.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Exile & Dishonour
Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation
unknown to you or your ancestors. There you will worship other
gods, gods of wood and stone.
will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule
among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Crop Failures
will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because
locusts will devour it.
will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink
the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.
will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not
use the oil, because the olives will drop off.
The Form of
the Curses for Disobedience: Overrun
will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because
they will go into captivity.
of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your
foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and
higher, but you will sink lower and lower.
will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be
the head, but you will be the tail.
these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake
you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord
your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.
will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever.
you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the
time of prosperity,
in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will
serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron
yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends
of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language
you will not understand,
fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for
will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your
land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new
wine or olive oil, nor any calves of your herds or lambs of your
flocks until you are ruined.
will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the
high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege
all the cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving
of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege,
you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and
daughters the Lord your God has given you.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: The Horror of Siege
the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion
on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children,
he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children
that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering
your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities.
most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle
that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of
her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or
afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her
dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering
your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.
The Form of the Curses for Disobedience: Health (4)
you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are
written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome
name—the Lord your God—
Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh
and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.
will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded,
and they will cling to you.
Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster
not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.
who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but
few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God.
as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number,
so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted
from the land you are entering to possess.
the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the
earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of
wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known.
those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the
sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind,
eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.
will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and
day, never sure of your life.
the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the
evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that
will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.
Lord will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said
you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for
sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will
Questions may arise over how these various blessings
and curses work. The following are offered as starter thoughts
because this is such a significant subject in Scripture.
Lord or natural outworking? Both, we suggest. An examination of
‘judgments' (or curses) throughout scripture indicate the following:
God pronounces judgments, that is obvious – but they always come
with warning to enable individuals or people to escape the outcomes
– Ezek 18:23,32, 33:11 & 2 Pet 3:9. How those come about,
is not so clear.
In that a ‘blessing' is a divine decree for good, it appears from
Scripture that God often acts to bring a good outcome where it
is otherwise not possible, for example in the case of enabling
various women to conceive when the circumstances denied it was
possible. We have also seen Aaron's staff supernaturally blossoming
with fruit within twelve hours [Num17]. We also find in Scripture
the Lord intervening to give victories against enemies through
a variety of means.
In at least two instances the Lord uses Satan, by giving him permission
to intervene in human affairs. In one instance [see Job 1 &
2] Satan, it would appear, put the thought into the minds of marauders
to attack Job's property etc. In another, a lying spirit [2 Chron
18:19-22] led astray a foolish king's false prophets – although
God's man pointed out what was happening. In such cases he simply
puts suggestions in already godless and unrighteous minds, provoking
them to act as they do.
the apostle Paul in Romans 1, three times talks about God “giving
over” already ungodly and unrighteous people to even worse behaviour
which will bring about self-destruction if repentance is not forthcoming.
There is an implication there that God usually provides a measure
of protection which our wrong-thinking does away with. Judgments
are often cases of self-harm or self-destruction, i.e. individuals
or peoples bringing judgment on themselves, especially where,
for disciplinary purposes God has removed His own protection.
in the book of Judges this protection of God being removed as
a disciplinary act is seen again and again, whereby He simply
does not intervene and hold back the otherwise hostile neighbours.
His answer in each case, when repentance is forthcoming, is to
anoint someone with the Holy Spirit, who stirs faith and courage
in that person to come against the enemy and deliver Israel.
observing the last years of Israel, and later Judah, before both
go into exile, reveals the Lord warning them both again and again
against the path they are following, which results in them becoming
vulnerable to hostile enemy takeover.
such ‘curses' thus appear a combination of act of God, failure
to act by God, act of Satan, and act of sinful men, as well as
self-destruction. Although most of us don't realise it, over-eating
[resulting in obesity and following possible life-threatening
health issues], excessive use of alcohol or drugs [also resulting
in serious further life-threatening issues], are examples of this
last one, as are many of the behaviours of modern men and women
that are contrary to God's design.
although most of the ‘curses' in the text above are attributed
to God, how God brings those things about is thus likely to be
a combination of these things just noted.]