"However, if you do not listen to me or obey my commands,
and if you break my covenant by rejecting my laws and treating my regulations with contempt,
I will punish you. You will suffer from sudden terrors, with wasting diseases, and with burning fevers, causing your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them.
I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by all your enemies. They will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!
"And if, in spite of this, you still disobey me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.
I will break down your arrogant spirit by making the skies above as unyielding as iron and the earth beneath as hard as bronze.
All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.
"If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins.
I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted.
"And if you fail to learn a lesson from this and continue your hostility toward me,
then I myself will be hostile toward you, and I will personally strike you seven times over for your sins.
I will send armies against you to carry out these covenant threats. If you flee to your cities, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be conquered by your enemies.
I will completely destroy your food supply, so the bread from one oven will have to be stretched to feed ten families. They will ration your food by weight, and even if you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.
"If after this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me,
then I will give full vent to my hostility. I will punish you seven times over for your sins.
You will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters.
I will destroy your pagan shrines and cut down your incense altars. I will leave your corpses piled up beside your lifeless idols, and I will despise you.
I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of worship, and I will take no pleasure in your offerings of incense.
Yes, I myself will devastate your land. Your enemies who come to occupy it will be utterly shocked at the destruction they see.
I will scatter you among the nations and attack you with my own weapons. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins.
Then at last the land will make up for its missed Sabbath years as it lies desolate during your years of exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy its Sabbaths.
As the land lies in ruins, it will take the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.
"And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies far away. You will live there in such constant fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though chased by a warrior with a sword, and you will fall even when no one is pursuing you.
Yes, though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other in flight, as though fleeing in battle. You will have no power to stand before your enemies.
You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies.
Those still left alive will rot away in enemy lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
"But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me.
Finally, when I have given full expression to my hostility and have brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their disobedient hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins.
Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, with Isaac, and with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
And the land will enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will receive the due punishment for their sins, for they rejected my regulations and despised my laws.
"But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out. I, the LORD, am their God.
I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of Egypt while all the nations watched. I, the LORD, am their God."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)