Deuteronomy 28

Blessings for Obeying the LORD

1 Make sure you obey the LORD your God completely. Be careful to follow all of his commands. I'm giving them to you today. If you do those things, the LORD will honor you more than all of the other nations on earth.
2 If you obey the LORD your God, here are the blessings that will come to you and remain with you.
3 You will be blessed in the cities. You will be blessed out in the country.
4 Your children will be blessed. Your crops will be blessed. The young animals among your livestock will be blessed. That includes your calves and lambs.
5 Your baskets and bread pans will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed no matter where you go.
7 Enemies will rise up against you. But the LORD will help you win the battle over them. They will come at you from one direction. But they'll run away from you in seven directions.
8 The LORD your God will bless your barns with plenty of grain and other food. He will bless everything you do. He'll bless you in the land he's giving you.
9 The LORD your God will make you his holy people. He will set you apart for himself. He took an oath and promised to do that. He promised to do it if you would keep his commands and live exactly as he wants you to live.
10 All of the nations on earth will see that you belong to the Lord. And they will be afraid of you.
11 The LORD will give you more than you need. You will have many children. Your livestock will have many little ones. Your crops will do very well. All of that will happen in the land he promised with an oath to your fathers to give you.
12 The LORD will open up the heavens. That's where he stores his riches. He will send rain on your land at just the right time. He'll bless everything you do. You will lend money to many nations. But you won't have to borrow from any of them.
13 The LORD your God will make you leaders, not followers. Pay attention to his commands that I'm giving you today. Be careful to follow them. Then you will always be on top. You will never be on the bottom.
14 Don't turn away from any of the commands I'm giving you today. Don't turn to the right or the left. Don't follow other gods. Don't worship them.

More Curses for Not Obeying the LORD

15 But suppose you don't obey the LORD your God. And you aren't careful to follow all of his commands and rules I'm giving you today. Then he will send curses on you. They'll catch up with you. Here are those curses.
16 You will be cursed in the cities. You will be cursed out in the country.
17 Your baskets and bread pans will be cursed.
18 Your children will be cursed. Your crops will be cursed. Your calves and lambs will be cursed.
19 You will be cursed no matter where you go.
20 The LORD will send curses on you. You won't know what's going on. In everything you do, he will be angry with you. You will be destroyed suddenly and completely. That will happen because you did an evil thing when you deserted the LORD.
21 He will send all kinds of sicknesses on you. He'll send them until he has destroyed you. He'll remove you from the land you are entering to take as your own.
22 The LORD will make you sick and very weak. He will strike you with fever and swelling. He'll send burning heat. There won't be any rain. The hot winds will completely dry up your crops. All of those things will happen until you die.
23 The sky above you will be like bronze. The ground beneath you will be like 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 help your enemies win the battle over you. You will come at them from one direction. But you will run away from them in seven directions. You will look so bad that all of the kingdoms on earth will be completely shocked when they see you.
26 Birds and wild animals will eat up your dead bodies. There won't be anyone left to scare them away.
27 The LORD will send boils on you, just like the ones he sent on the Egyptians. You will have growths in your bodies and boils on your skin. You will itch all over. No one will be able to heal you.
28 The LORD will make you lose your mind. He will make you blind. You won't know what's going on.
29 Even at noon you will have to feel your way around like a blind person in the dark. You won't have success in anything you do. Day after day you will be robbed and beaten down. No one will be able to save you.
30 You and a woman will promise to get married to each other. But another man will take her and rape her. You will build a house. But you won't live in it. You will plant a vineyard. But you won't eat a single grape from it.
31 Your ox will be killed right in front of your eyes. But you won't eat any of it. Your donkey will be taken away from you by force. And you will never get it back. Your sheep will be given to your enemies. No one will be able to save them.
32 Your children will be given to another nation. Day after day you will watch for them to come back. But you will only wear out your eyes. You won't be able to help your children.
33 A nation you don't know anything about will eat what you work to produce on your land. You will be completely beaten down as long as you live.
34 The things you see will make you lose your mind.
35 The LORD will send painful boils on your knees and legs. No one will be able to heal them. They will cover you from head to toe.
36 The LORD will drive you out of the land. And he will drive out the king you place over you. All of you will go to a nation you and your people long ago didn't know anything about. There you will worship other gods. They will be made out of wood and stone.
37 You will look very bad to all of the nations where the LORD sends you. They will be completely shocked when they see you. They will laugh at you and make fun of you.
38 You will plant many seeds in your field. But you will gather very little food. Locusts will eat it up.
39 You will plant vineyards and take care of them. But you won't drink the wine. You won't gather the grapes. Worms will eat them up.
40 You will have olive trees through your whole country. But you won't use the oil. The olives will drop off the trees.
41 You will have children. But you won't be able to keep them. They'll be taken away as prisoners.
42 Large numbers of locusts will eat up the leaves on all of your trees. They will also eat up the crops on your land.
43 Outsiders who live among you will become your leaders. They will rise higher and higher. But you will sink lower and lower.
44 They will lend money to you. But you won't be able to lend money to them. They will be the leaders. But you will be the followers.
45 The LORD your God will send all of those curses on you. They will follow you everywhere. They'll catch up with you. You will be under the LORD's curse until you are destroyed. That's because you didn't obey him. You didn't keep the commands and rules he gave you.
46 Those curses will remain as miraculous signs and wonders against you and your children after you forever.
47 You didn't serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness when times were good.
48 So he will send enemies against you. You will have to serve them. You will be hungry and thirsty. You will be naked and poor. The LORD will put the iron chains of slavery around your necks until he has destroyed you.
49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away. It will come from the ends of the earth. It will dive down on you like an eagle. You won't understand that nation's language.
50 Its people will look mean. They won't have any respect for old people. They won't show any kindness to young people.
51 They will eat up the young animals among your livestock. They'll eat up the crops on your land. They'll destroy you. They won't leave you any grain, olive oil or fresh wine. They won't leave you any calves or lambs. They'll destroy you.
52 They'll surround all of the cities through your whole land. They'll get ready to attack them. They'll do those things until the high, strong walls you trust in fall down. That's what will happen to the cities in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
53 Your enemies will surround you and get ready to attack you. They will make you suffer greatly. So you will eat your own children. You will eat the dead bodies of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you.
54 There may be a gentle and caring man among you. But he will treat his own brother badly. He'll be just as mean to the wife he loves and to any of his children who are still alive.
55 He won't give to a single one of them any part of the dead bodies of his children that he's eating. It will be all he has left to eat. That's how much your enemies will make you suffer when they surround all of your cities to attack them.
56 There may be a gentle and caring woman among you. She wouldn't even touch the ground with her feet without first putting her sandals on. But she will not share anything with the husband she loves. She won't share with her own children either.
57 She will eat what comes out of her body after she has a baby. Then she'll even eat her baby. She won't share it with anyone in her family. She'll plan to eat it in secret. There won't be anything else for her to eat because the city she lives in will be surrounded. That's an example of how much your enemies will make you suffer when they are getting ready to attack your cities.
58 Be careful to follow all of the words of this law. They are written in this scroll. Have respect for the glorious and wonderful name of the LORD your God. If you don't,
59 he will send terrible plagues on you and your children after you. He'll send horrible and lasting troubles. He'll make you very sick for a long time.
60 He'll bring on you all of the sicknesses you were afraid of getting when you were in Egypt. You won't be able to get rid of them.
61 The LORD will also bring on you all of the other kinds of sickness and trouble I haven't written down in this Scroll of the Law. You will be destroyed.
62 At one time you were as many as the stars in the sky. But there will only be a few of you left. That's because you didn't obey the LORD your God.
63 It pleased the LORD to give you success and to increase your numbers. But it will please him just as much to wipe you out and destroy you. You will be removed from the land you are entering to take as your own.
64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all of the nations. He'll spread you around from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship statues of gods that are made out of wood and stone. You and your people long ago hadn't known anything about those gods.
65 Among those nations you won't find any peace. There won't be any place where you can settle down and rest your feet. There the LORD will give you minds that are filled with worry. He'll give you eyes that are worn out from sobbing. Your hearts won't have any hope.
66 Your lives will always be in danger. You will be filled with fear night and day. You will never be sure you are safe.
67 In the morning you will say, "We wish it were evening!" In the evening you will say, "We wish it were morning!" Your hearts will be filled with fear. The things you see will terrify you.
68 The LORD will send you back to Egypt in ships. He'll send you on a journey I said you should never have to make again. You will offer to sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves in Egypt. 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.

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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