Deuteronomy 28

Listen to Deuteronomy 28

Blessings for Obedience

1 "And 1if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you 2high above all the nations of the earth.
2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and 3overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.
3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and 4blessed shall you be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be 5the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
5 Blessed shall be your basket and your 6kneading bowl.
6 Blessed shall you be 7when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 "The LORD 8 will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 The LORD 9 will command the blessing on you in your barns and 10in all that you undertake. 11And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
9 12The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.
10 And 13all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are 14called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be 15afraid of you.
11 And 16the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in 17the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
12 The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, 18to give the rain to your land in its season and 19to bless all the work of your hands. And 20you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
13 And the LORD will make you 21the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,
14 22and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Curses for Disobedience

15 "But 23if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and 24overtake you.
16 Cursed shall you be 25in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
20 "The LORD 26 will send on you curses, confusion, and 27frustration in all that you undertake to do, 28until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.
21 The LORD will make 29the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
22 30The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought[a] and with 31blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.
23 And 32the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron.
24 The LORD will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 33"The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you 34shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 And 35your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and 36there shall be no one to frighten them away.
27 The LORD will strike you 37with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and 38scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.
28 The LORD will strike you with 39madness and blindness and confusion of mind,
29 and you shall 40grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways.[b] And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.
30 41You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. 42You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. 43You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit.
31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you.
32 44Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, 45but you shall be helpless.
33 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually,
34 so that you are driven mad 46by the sights that your eyes see.
35 The LORD will strike you on the knees and on the legs 47with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.
36 "The LORD will 48bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you 49nor your fathers have known. And 50there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone.
37 And you shall become 51a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away.
38 52You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for 53the locust shall consume it.
39 54You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them.
40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you 55shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.
41 You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for 56they shall go into captivity.
42 57The cricket[c] shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground.
43 58The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower.
44 59He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. 60He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 61"All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you.
46 They shall be 62a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever.
47 63Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,
48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he 64will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
49 65The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, 66swooping down like the eagle, a nation 67whose language you do not understand,
50 a hard-faced nation 68who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.
51 It shall 69eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.
52 "They shall 70besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you.
53 And 71you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, 72in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.
54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will 73begrudge food to his brother, to 74the wife he embraces,[d] and to the last of the children whom he has left,
55 so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, 75in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns.
56 76The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces,[e] to her son and to her daughter,
57 her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, 77in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.
58 "If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, 78the LORD your God,
59 then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.
60 And he will bring upon you again all 79the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.
61 Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed.
62 Whereas 80you were as numerous 81as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
63 And as the LORD 82took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will 83take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
64 "And the LORD 84 will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and 85there you shall serve other gods 86of wood and stone, 87which neither you nor your fathers have known.
65 And 88among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but 89the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and 90a languishing soul.
66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
67 91In the morning you shall say, 'If only it were evening!' and at evening you shall say, 'If only it were morning!' because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and 92the sights that your eyes shall see.
68 And the LORD 93 will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that 94you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer."

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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 94

  • 1. [Exodus 15:26; Exodus 23:22; Leviticus 26:3; Isaiah 55:2]
  • 2. Deuteronomy 26:19
  • 3. ver. 15; Zechariah 1:6
  • 4. [Genesis 39:5]
  • 5. Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 30:9; [Genesis 49:25; Exodus 23:26]
  • 6. ver. 17; [Exodus 8:3; Exodus 12:34]
  • 7. Psalms 121:8
  • 8. Exodus 23:22, 27; Leviticus 26:7, 8; [ver. 25]; See 2 Samuel 22:38-41; Psalms 18:37-40
  • 9. Leviticus 25:21; Psalms 133:3
  • 10. See Deuteronomy 12:7
  • 11. Deuteronomy 15:4
  • 12. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 26:18, 19; Deuteronomy 29:13; See Exodus 19:5, 6
  • 13. [Isaiah 61:9]
  • 14. See Numbers 6:27
  • 15. Deuteronomy 2:25; Deuteronomy 11:25
  • 16. Deuteronomy 30:9
  • 17. [See ver. 4 above]
  • 18. Deuteronomy 11:14; Leviticus 26:4
  • 19. Deuteronomy 14:29
  • 20. Deuteronomy 15:6; [ver. 44; Psalms 37:26]
  • 21. Isaiah 9:14, 15; Isaiah 19:15
  • 22. See Deuteronomy 5:32
  • 23. Leviticus 26:14; Lamentations 2:17; Daniel 9:11, 13; Malachi 2:2
  • 24. ver. 2
  • 25. [ver. 3-6]
  • 26. Malachi 2:2
  • 27. Psalms 80:16; Isaiah 30:17; Isaiah 51:20; Isaiah 66:15
  • 28. Joshua 23:16
  • 29. See Leviticus 26:25
  • 30. Leviticus 26:16
  • 31. 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chronicles 6:28; Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:17
  • 32. Leviticus 26:19
  • 33. Deuteronomy 32:30; Leviticus 26:17, 37; Isaiah 30:17; [ver. 7]
  • 34. Ezekiel 23:46
  • 35. [1 Samuel 17:44, 46; Psalms 79:2; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20]
  • 36. Jeremiah 7:33
  • 37. [ver. 35]
  • 38. Leviticus 21:20; Leviticus 22:22
  • 39. [ver. 34; Zechariah 12:4]
  • 40. Job 5:14; Isaiah 59:10
  • 41. Deuteronomy 20:5-7; Jeremiah 8:10
  • 42. Amos 5:11; Zephaniah 1:13
  • 43. Deuteronomy 20:6; Leviticus 19:23-25; [Micah 6:15]
  • 44. [2 Chronicles 29:9; Joel 3:6]
  • 45. Nehemiah 5:5
  • 46. ver. 67
  • 47. [ver. 27]
  • 48. 2 Kings 17:4, 6; 2 Kings 24:12, 14; 2 Kings 25:7, 11; 2 Chronicles 33:11; 2 Chronicles 36:6, 20
  • 49. Jeremiah 9:16; Jeremiah 16:13
  • 50. ver. 64; Deuteronomy 4:28
  • 51. 1 Kings 9:7, 8; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 25:9; [Ezekiel 14:8]
  • 52. Micah 6:15; Haggai 1:6
  • 53. Joel 1:4; Joel 2:25
  • 54. Zephaniah 1:13
  • 55. Micah 6:15
  • 56. Lamentations 1:5
  • 57. [See ver. 38 above]
  • 58. [ver. 13]
  • 59. [ver. 12]
  • 60. [See ver. 43 above]
  • 61. ver. 15
  • 62. [Isaiah 8:18]
  • 63. Nehemiah 9:35-37
  • 64. Jeremiah 28:14
  • 65. [Jeremiah 5:15-17; Jeremiah 6:22, 23]; See Isaiah 5:26-30
  • 66. Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22; Lamentations 4:19; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8; [Ezekiel 17:3, 12]
  • 67. Isaiah 28:11; Isaiah 33:19; Jeremiah 5:15
  • 68. [2 Chronicles 36:17; Isaiah 47:6]
  • 69. ver. 33; Jeremiah 5:17; [Isaiah 62:8, 9]
  • 70. [2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 25:1, 2, 4]
  • 71. ver. 57; Leviticus 26:29; Jeremiah 19:9; Ezekiel 5:10; [2 Kings 6:28, 29; Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10]
  • 72. ver. 55, 57
  • 73. See Deuteronomy 15:9
  • 74. Deuteronomy 13:6
  • 75. ver. 53
  • 76. ver. 54; Isaiah 47:1
  • 77. [See ver. 55 above]
  • 78. Exodus 6:3
  • 79. See Deuteronomy 7:15
  • 80. Deuteronomy 4:27; [2 Kings 24:14; Nehemiah 7:4; Jeremiah 42:2]
  • 81. See Deuteronomy 10:22
  • 82. Deuteronomy 30:9; Jeremiah 32:41; Zephaniah 3:17
  • 83. [Proverbs 1:26; Isaiah 1:24; Ezekiel 5:13]
  • 84. See Leviticus 26:33
  • 85. ver. 36
  • 86. Deuteronomy 4:28
  • 87. Deuteronomy 13:6; Jeremiah 19:4; Jeremiah 44:3
  • 88. [Amos 9:4]
  • 89. [Leviticus 26:36]
  • 90. Leviticus 26:16
  • 91. Job 7:3, 4
  • 92. ver. 34
  • 93. Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:3; [Jeremiah 43:7]
  • 94. See Deuteronomy 17:16

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or sword
  • [b]. Or shall not succeed in finding your ways
  • [c]. Identity uncertain
  • [d]. Hebrew the wife of his bosom
  • [e]. Hebrew the husband of her bosom

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.