The Bible – Old Testament
1 “Thus, then, shall it be: if you continue to heed the voice of the LORD, your God, and are careful to observe all his commandments which I enjoin on you today, the LORD, your God, will raise you high above all the nations of the earth.
When you hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, all these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you:
“May you be blessed in the city, and blessed in the country!
“Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks!
“Blessed be your grain bin and your kneading bowl!
2 “May you be blessed in your coming in, and blessed in your going out!
3 “The LORD will beat down before you the enemies that rise up against you; though they come out against you from but one direction, they will flee before you in seven.
The LORD will affirm his blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings, blessing you in the land that the LORD, your God, gives you.
Provided that you keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and walk in his ways, he will establish you as a people sacred to himself, as he swore to you;
4 so that, when all the nations of the earth see you bearing the name of the LORD, they will stand in awe of you.
The LORD will increase in more than goodly measure the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil, in the land which he swore to your fathers he would give you.
The LORD will open up for you his rich treasure house of the heavens, to give your land rain in due season, blessing all your undertakings, so that you will lend to many nations and borrow from none.
5 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail, and you will always mount higher and not decline, as long as you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I order you today to observe carefully;
not turning aside to the right or to the left from any of the commandments which I now give you, in order to follow other gods and serve them.
“But if you do not hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, and are not careful to observe all his commandments which I enjoin on you today, all these curses shall come upon you and overwhelm you:
“May you be cursed in the city, and cursed in the country!
“Cursed be your grain bin and your kneading bowl!
“Cursed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks!
“May you be cursed in your coming in, and cursed in your going out!
“The LORD will put a curse on you, defeat and frustration in every enterprise you undertake, until you are speedily destroyed and perish for the evil you have done in forsaking me.
The LORD will bring a pestilence upon you that will persist until he has exterminated you from the land you are entering to occupy.
The LORD will strike you with wasting and fever, with scorching, fiery drought, with blight and searing wind, that will plague you until you perish.
The sky over your heads will be like bronze and the earth under your feet like iron.
For rain the LORD will give your land powdery dust, which will come down upon you from the sky until you are destroyed.
The LORD will let you be beaten down before your enemies; though you advance against them from one direction, you will flee before them in seven, so that you will become a terrifying example to all the kingdoms of the earth.
Your carcasses will become food for all the birds of the air and for the beasts of the field, with no one to frighten them off.
The LORD will strike you with Egyptian boils and with tumors, eczema and the itch, until you cannot be cured.
And the LORD will strike you with madness, blindness and panic,
so that even at midday you will grope like a blind man in the dark, unable to find your way. “You will be oppressed and robbed continually, with no one to come to your aid.
Though you betroth a wife, another man will have her. Though you build a house, you will not live in it. Though you plant a vineyard, you will not enjoy its fruits.
Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, and you will not eat of its flesh. Your ass will be stolen in your presence, but you will not recover it. Your flocks will be given to your enemies, with no one to come to your aid.
Your sons and daughters will be given to a foreign nation while you look on and grieve for them in constant helplessness.
A people whom you do not know will consume the fruit of your soil and of all your labor, and you will be oppressed and crushed at all times without surcease,
until you are driven mad by what your eyes must look upon.
6 The LORD will strike you with malignant boils of which you cannot be cured, on your knees and legs, and from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head.
“The LORD will bring you, and your king whom you have set over you, to a nation which you and your fathers have not known, and there you will serve strange gods of wood and stone,
and will call forth amazement, reproach and barbed scorn from all the nations to which the LORD will lead you.
“Though you spend much seed on your field, you will harvest but little, for the locusts will devour the crop.
Though you plant and cultivate vineyards, you will not drink or store up the wine, for the grubs will eat the vines clean.
Though you have olive trees throughout your country, you will have no oil for ointment, for your olives will drop off unripe.
Though you beget sons and daughters, they will not remain with you, but will go into captivity.
Buzzing insects will infest all your trees and the crops of your soil.
The alien residing among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower.
He will lend to you, not you to him. He will become the head, you the tail.
“All these curses will come upon you, pursuing you and overwhelming you, until you are destroyed, because you would not hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, nor keep the commandments and statutes he gave you.
7 They will light on you and your descendants as a sign and a wonder for all time.
Since you would not serve the LORD, your God, with joy and gratitude for abundance of every kind,
therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and utter poverty, you will serve the enemies whom the LORD will send against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck, until he destroys you.
“The LORD will raise up against you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, that swoops down like an eagle, a nation whose tongue you do not understand,
a nation of stern visage, that shows neither respect for the aged nor pity for the young.
They will consume the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil, until you are destroyed; they will leave you no grain or wine or oil, no issue of your herds or young of your flocks, until they have brought about your ruin.
They will besiege you in each of your communities, until the great, unscalable walls you trust in come tumbling down all over your land. They will so besiege you in every community throughout the land which the LORD, your God, has given you,
that in the distress of the siege to which your enemy subjects you, you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your own sons and daughters whom the LORD, your God, has given you.
The most refined and fastidious man among you will begrudge his brother and his beloved wife and his surviving children,
any share in the flesh of his children that he himself is using for food when nothing else is left him in the straits of the siege to which your enemy will subject you in all your communities.
The most refined and delicate woman among you, so delicate and refined that she would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground, will begrudge her beloved husband and her son and daughter
the afterbirth that issues from her womb and the infant she brings forth when she secretly uses them for food for want of anything else, in the straits of the siege to which your enemy will subject you in your communities.
“If you are not careful to observe every word of the law which is written in this book, and to revere the glorious and awesome name of the LORD, your God,
he will smite you and your descendants with severe and constant blows, malignant and lasting maladies.
8 He will again afflict you with all the diseases of Egypt which you dread, and they will persist among you.
Should there be any kind of sickness or calamity not mentioned in this book of the law, that too the LORD will bring upon you until you are destroyed.
Of you who were numerous as the stars in the sky, only a few will be left, because you would not hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God.
“Just as the LORD once took delight in making you grow and prosper, so will he now take delight in ruining and destroying you, and you will be plucked out of the land you are now entering to occupy.
The LORD will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve strange gods of wood and stone, such as you and your fathers have not known.
9 Among these nations you will find no repose, not a foot of ground to stand upon, for there the LORD will give you an anguished heart and wasted eyes and a dismayed spirit.
You will live in constant suspense and stand in dread both day and night, never sure of your existence.
In the morning you will say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ for the dread that your heart must feel and the sight that your eyes must see.
10 The LORD will send you back in galleys to Egypt, to the region I told you that you were never to see again; and there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”
These are the words of the covenant which the LORD ordered Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which he made with them at Horeb.
1 [1-69] This chapter would read better immediately after Deut 26.
2  In your coming in . . . in your going out: at the beginning and end of every action, or in all actions in general.
3 [7,25] From but one direction . . . in seven: in one compact mass, contrasted with many scattered groups.
4  You bearing the name of the LORD: literally, “The LORD’S name is called over you,” an expression signifying ownership and protection. Cf ⇒ 2 Sam 12:28; ⇒ 1 Kings 8:43; ⇒ Isaiah 4:1; ⇒ 63:19; ⇒ Jeremiah 7:10-11; ⇒ 14:9; ⇒ 15:16; ⇒ 25:29; ⇒ Amos 9:12.
6  This verse is best read with ⇒ Deut 28:27.
7  A sign and a wonder: an ominous example, attracting attention; cf ⇒ Deut 29:21-28.
8  He will again afflict you with all the diseases of Egypt: such as the Lord had promised to remove from his people; cf ⇒ Deut 7:15.
9  Wasted eyes: worn out and disappointed in their longing gaze.