Deuteronomy 28

Blessings for Obedience

1 If 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.
2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4 The 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.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The 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.
8 The 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.
9 The 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.
10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.
11 The 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.
12 The 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.
13 The 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.
14 Do 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.

Curses for Disobedience

15 However, 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:
16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
18 The 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.
19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
20 The 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.[a]
21 The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess.
22 The 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.
23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron.
24 The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.
25 The 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.
26 Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.
27 The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured.
28 The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.
29 At 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.
30 You 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.
31 Your 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.
32 Your 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.
33 A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days.
34 The sights you see will drive you mad.
35 The 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.
36 The 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.
37 You will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule among all the peoples where the LORD will drive you.
38 You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it.
39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.
40 You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off.
41 You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity.
42 Swarms of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your land.
43 The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower.
44 They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail.
45 All 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.
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 joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity,
48 therefore 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.
49 The 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,
50 a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.
51 They 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.
52 They 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 you.
53 Because 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.
54 Even 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,
55 and 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.
56 The 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 daughter
57 the 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.
58 If 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—
59 the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.
60 He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you.
61 The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.
62 You 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.
63 Just 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.
64 Then 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.
65 Among 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.
66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
67 In 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.
68 The 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 buy you.

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Deuteronomy 28 Commentary

Chapter 28

The blessings for obedience. (1-14) The curses for disobedience. (15-44) Their ruin, if disobedient. (45-68)

Verses 1-14 This chapter is a very large exposition of two words, the blessing and the curse. They are real things and have real effects. The blessings are here put before the curses. God is slow to anger, but swift to show mercy. It is his delight to bless. It is better that we should be drawn to what is good by a child-like hope of God's favour, than that we be frightened to it by a slavish fear of his wrath. The blessing is promised, upon condition that they diligently hearken to the voice of God. Let them keep up religion, the form and power of it, in their families and nation, then the providence of God would prosper all their outward concerns.

Verses 15-44 If we do not keep God's commandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness. Observe the justice of this curse. It is not a curse causeless, or for some light cause. The extent and power of this curse. Wherever the sinner goes, the curse of God follows; wherever he is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a curse. All his enjoyments are made bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews, for their apostacy and disobedience. We may observe the fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To complete their misery, it is threatened that by these troubles they should be bereaved of all comfort and hope, and left to utter despair. Those who walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them looks frightful.

Verses 45-68 If God inflicts vengeance, what miseries his curse can bring upon mankind, even in this present world! Yet these are but the beginning of sorrows to those under the curse of God. What then will be the misery of that world where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched! Observe what is here said of the wrath of God, which should come and remain upon the Israelites for their sins. It is amazing to think that a people so long the favourites of Heaven, should be so cast off; and yet that a people so scattered in all nations should be kept distinct, and not mixed with others. If they would not serve God with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve their enemies. We may justly expect from God, that if we do not fear his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues; for one way or other God will be feared. The destruction threatened is described. They have, indeed, been plucked from off the land, ver. ( 63 ) . Not only by the Babylonish captivity, and when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans; but afterwards, when they were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem. They should have no rest; no rest of body, ver. 65, but be continually on the remove, either in hope of gain, or fear of persecution. No rest of the mind, which is much worse. They have been banished from city to city, from country to country; recalled, and banished again. These events, compared with the favour shown to Israel in ancient times, and with the prophecies about them, should not only excite astonishment, but turn unto us for a testimony, assuring us of the truth of Scripture. And when the other prophecies of their conversion to Christ shall come to pass, the whole will be a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the earth, and the forerunner of a general spread of true christianity. The fulfilling of these prophecies upon the Jewish nation, delivered more than three thousand years ago, shows that Moses spake by the Spirit of God; who not only foresees the ruin of sinners, but warns of it, that they may prevent it by a true and timely repentance, or else be left without excuse. And let us be thankful that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us, and bearing in his own person all that punishment which our sins merit, and which we must otherwise have endured for ever. To this Refuge and salvation let sinners flee; therein let believers rejoice, and serve their reconciled God with gladness of heart, for the abundance of his spiritual blessings.

Cross References 124

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 15:5
  • 2. Exodus 15:26; S Leviticus 26:3; Deuteronomy 7:12-26
  • 3. S Numbers 24:7; S Deuteronomy 26:19
  • 4. Jeremiah 32:24; Zechariah 1:6
  • 5. Psalms 144:15; Psalms 128:1,4
  • 6. S Genesis 39:5
  • 7. S Genesis 49:25; S Deuteronomy 8:18; Proverbs 10:22
  • 8. Psalms 121:8
  • 9. 2 Chronicles 6:34
  • 10. S Leviticus 26:8,17
  • 11. Deuteronomy 15:4
  • 12. S Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 13. S Leviticus 26:3
  • 14. S Numbers 6:27; 1 Kings 8:43; Jeremiah 25:29; Daniel 9:18; 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • 15. S Genesis 30:27
  • 16. ver 4; Deuteronomy 30:9; Proverbs 10:22
  • 17. Job 38:22; Psalms 135:7; Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16
  • 18. Psalms 65:11; Psalms 68:10; Jeremiah 31:12
  • 19. S Leviticus 26:4; 1 Kings 8:35-36; 1 Kings 18:1; Psalms 104:13; Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 30:23; Isaiah 32:20
  • 20. Isaiah 61:9; Isaiah 65:23; Jeremiah 32:38-41; Malachi 3:12
  • 21. ver 44; S Leviticus 25:19; S Deuteronomy 15:3,6; Ezekiel 34:26
  • 22. Jeremiah 11:6
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 26:19
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 5:32; Joshua 1:7
  • 25. 1 Kings 9:6; 2 Chronicles 7:19; Leviticus 26:14
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 27:26
  • 27. Deuteronomy 29:27; Joshua 23:15; 2 Chronicles 12:5; Daniel 9:11; Malachi 2:2
  • 28. ver 3
  • 29. ver 5
  • 30. ver 4
  • 31. ver 6
  • 32. ver 8,15; Leviticus 26:16; Jeremiah 42:18; Malachi 2:2; Malachi 3:9; Malachi 4:6
  • 33. Psalms 39:11; Psalms 76:6; Psalms 80:16; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 51:20; Isaiah 54:9; Isaiah 66:15; Ezekiel 5:15
  • 34. Deuteronomy 4:26
  • 35. S Exodus 32:22
  • 36. Leviticus 26:25; Numbers 14:12; Jeremiah 24:10; Amos 4:10
  • 37. ver 48; Deuteronomy 32:24
  • 38. Leviticus 26:16; 2 Kings 8:1; Job 12:15; Psalms 105:16; Jeremiah 14:1; Haggai 1:11; Malachi 3:9
  • 39. Haggai 2:17
  • 40. S Leviticus 26:25
  • 41. Deuteronomy 4:26; Amos 4:9
  • 42. S Leviticus 26:19
  • 43. Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 1 Kings 17:1; Isaiah 5:6; Jeremiah 14:1; Haggai 1:10
  • 44. 1 Samuel 4:10; Psalms 78:62
  • 45. S Leviticus 26:17; Isaiah 30:17
  • 46. ver 37
  • 47. 2 Chronicles 29:8; 2 Chronicles 30:7; Jeremiah 15:4; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 44:12; Ezekiel 23:46
  • 48. S Genesis 40:19
  • 49. Psalms 79:2; Isaiah 18:6; Jeremiah 7:33; Jeremiah 12:9; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20
  • 50. ver 60-61; Deuteronomy 7:15; 1 Samuel 5:6
  • 51. Genesis 19:11; Exodus 10:21; Job 5:14; Job 12:25; Job 24:13; Job 38:15; Isaiah 59:10
  • 52. Judges 3:9; 2 Kings 13:5; Esther 4:14; Isaiah 19:20; Isaiah 43:11; Hosea 13:4; Obadiah 1:21
  • 53. Job 31:10; Jeremiah 8:10
  • 54. Isaiah 65:22; Amos 5:11
  • 55. Jeremiah 12:13
  • 56. ver 41
  • 57. Jeremiah 6:6; Jeremiah 22:17
  • 58. Jeremiah 5:15-17; Ezekiel 25:4
  • 59. ver 67
  • 60. ver 27; Deuteronomy 7:15; Revelation 16:2
  • 61. Job 2:7; Job 7:5; Job 13:28; Job 30:17,30; Isaiah 1:6
  • 62. 1 Samuel 12:25; 2 Kings 17:4,6; 2 Kings 24:12,14; 2 Kings 25:7,11
  • 63. S Deuteronomy 4:27; 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 25:7,11; 2 Chronicles 33:11; 2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 5:12; Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 16:13; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 39:1-9; Jeremiah 52:28; Lamentations 1:3
  • 64. S Deuteronomy 4:28
  • 65. ver 25; Jeremiah 42:18; Ezekiel 5:15
  • 66. Psalms 22:7; Psalms 39:8; Psalms 44:13; Psalms 64:8; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 48:27; Micah 6:16
  • 67. 2 Chronicles 7:20; Ezra 9:7; Jeremiah 44:8
  • 68. 1 Kings 9:7; Psalms 44:14; Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 25:9,18; Jeremiah 29:18; Lamentations 2:15
  • 69. Leviticus 26:20; Psalms 129:7; Isaiah 5:10; Jeremiah 12:13; Hosea 8:7; Micah 6:15; Haggai 1:6,9; Haggai 2:16
  • 70. S Exodus 10:4
  • 71. S Exodus 10:15; Joel 1:4
  • 72. S Leviticus 10:9
  • 73. Joel 1:4; Joel 2:25; Malachi 3:11
  • 74. Isaiah 5:10; Isaiah 17:10-11; Zephaniah 1:13
  • 75. Jeremiah 11:16; Micah 6:15
  • 76. ver 32
  • 77. ver 38; Judges 6:5; Judges 7:12; Jeremiah 46:23
  • 78. ver 13
  • 79. S ver 12
  • 80. ver 13; S Deuteronomy 26:19
  • 81. S Exodus 15:9
  • 82. ver 15; Deuteronomy 4:25-26
  • 83. S Numbers 16:38; Psalms 71:7; Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 20:3; Ezekiel 5:15; Zechariah 3:8; Ezekiel 14:8
  • 84. S Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 32:15
  • 85. S Leviticus 23:40; Nehemiah 9:35
  • 86. Jeremiah 14:3; Lamentations 4:4
  • 87. Jeremiah 28:13-14; Lamentations 1:14
  • 88. Genesis 49:8
  • 89. S Leviticus 26:44
  • 90. Isa 5:26-30,26; Isaiah 7:18-20; Isaiah 39:3; Jeremiah 4:16; Jeremiah 5:15; Jeremiah 6:22; Jeremiah 25:32; Jeremiah 31:8; Habakkuk 1:6
  • 91. 2 Samuel 1:23; Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22; Lamentations 4:19; Ezekiel 17:3; Hosea 8:1
  • 92. S Genesis 11:7; 1 Corinthians 14:21*
  • 93. Isaiah 47:6
  • 94. Psalms 4:7; Isaiah 36:17; Haggai 1:11
  • 95. S Numbers 18:12
  • 96. ver 33; Judges 6:4
  • 97. 2 Kings 6:24
  • 98. Jeremiah 10:18; Ezekiel 6:10; Zep 1:14-16,17
  • 99. ver 57; Leviticus 26:29; 2 Kings 6:28-29; Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10
  • 100. 2 Kings 6:29
  • 101. ver 54; Isaiah 47:1
  • 102. Lamentations 4:10
  • 103. S ver 53
  • 104. Deuteronomy 31:24
  • 105. Psalms 96:4; Jeremiah 5:22; Malachi 1:14; Malachi 2:5; Malachi 3:5,16; Malachi 4:2
  • 106. S Exodus 3:15; S Joshua 7:9; Exodus 6:3
  • 107. Exodus 15:26; ver 27
  • 108. Deuteronomy 29:21; Deuteronomy 30:10; Deuteronomy 31:26; Joshua 1:8; Joshua 8:34; Joshua 23:6; Joshua 24:26; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Chronicles 17:9; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Nehemiah 8:1,18; Malachi 4:4
  • 109. Deuteronomy 4:25-26
  • 110. S Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 10:22; Nehemiah 9:23
  • 111. S Leviticus 26:22
  • 112. Deuteronomy 30:9; Isaiah 62:5; Isaiah 65:19; Jeremiah 32:41; Zephaniah 3:17
  • 113. Proverbs 1:26
  • 114. S Genesis 6:7
  • 115. Psalms 52:5; Jeremiah 12:14; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 45:4
  • 116. Leviticus 26:33; S Deuteronomy 4:27; Ezra 9:7; Isaiah 6:12; Jeremiah 32:23; Jeremiah 43:11; Jeremiah 52:27
  • 117. Nehemiah 1:8; Psalms 44:11; Jeremiah 13:24; Jeremiah 18:17; Jeremiah 22:22
  • 118. S Deuteronomy 4:32; S Jeremiah 8:19
  • 119. Deuteronomy 11:28; Deuteronomy 32:17
  • 120. Lamentations 1:3
  • 121. Job 11:20
  • 122. Leviticus 26:16,36; Hosea 9:17
  • 123. ver 34; Job 7:4
  • 124. S Exodus 13:14

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Moses enlarges on the blessings and the curses which belong, the one to the doers, the other to the transgressors of the law; the blessings, De 28:1-14; the curses, some of which concern individual persons, others the whole nation and body of people, and that both under the former and present dispensations, and which had their fulfilment in their former captivities, and more especially in their present dispersion, De 28:15-68.

Deuteronomy 28 Commentaries

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