Deut. 28:1 ¶ And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
Deut. 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
This chapter begins with a much more enjoyable subject—the blessings of God. The key to experiencing blessing vs. cursing is to be diligent in living life in submission and obedience to God’s will as revealed through all the instructions delivered to the people through Moses. “If” they listen and obey, God promises to set them “on high” above ALL nations on earth. The Hebrew for overtake in verse two stated to “wax rich;” in other words, the blessings would continue to grow and grow.
How sad to know that they gave up so much through pride, deceit, and the desire to be like everyone else—but hasn’t the “church” done the same.
Deut. 28:3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
This is a general statement that this blessing will extend to those in the city as well as those in the country. No one in the nation will be left out.
Deut. 28:4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
This verse specifies that these blessings will result in fruit in abundance—fruit of the womb, ground, cattle, oxen, and sheep. Scripture is everywhere clear that it is God who is in control of all these areas of blessing.
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
Genesis 30:2 “And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?”
Deuteronomy 11:17 “And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.”
Psalms 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”
Deut. 28:5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
This verse seems to be referencing having a well stocked kitchen and pantry from which to feed your family.
Deut. 28:6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
I wasn’t quite sure how to clarify this verse, but the NIV Commentary made sense in applying it to one’s daily business.
Deut. 28:7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
This verse is declaring that they will experience victory when confronted with attack by their enemies. Their enemies may come against God’s people in orderly ranks with confidence that they are stronger and better equipped, but they will end up fleeing in fear through God’s supernatural intervention.
Although Israel as a nation is not in right relationship with God, I couldn’t help but think specifically of the coming attack of Gog and his armies as described in Ezekiel 38-39.
Deut. 28:8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
This verse seems to be an exclamation point on the blessings enumerated to this point. They will experience the blessing of full storehouses of grain and an abundant and profitable result to all that they set their hand to. God’s desire is to bless His people in the land He is giving them. There is a beautiful verse in Zephaniah that applies here.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Deut. 28:9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
It’s easy to get caught up in contemplating the wonderful blessings that God wants to give you, so Moses takes a moment to remind them that these blessings are only guaranteed “if” they will live in obedience to His commands. God is setting them apart as a “holy people unto Himself,” but with that position comes responsibilities. I am reminded of another verse.
Luke 12:48 “….For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required….”
Deut. 28:10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
God’s abundant blessings upon His people were to serve as testimony before the nations of their special relationship to YHWH and as a deterrent to enemy attack. It would be obvious that Almighty God was a supernatural force of protection for His people, and they were to be feared accordingly.
Deut. 28:11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Moses reiterates that YHWH will make them prosperous and fruitful in every area of life as they dwell in the land that He has chosen to give them in accordance with His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Deut. 28:12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
All the natural forces of nature are under the direct authority of Almighty God.
Jeremiah 10:12-13 “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.”
Ezekiel 34:26-27 “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase….”
When He chooses to bless, He opens the treasuries of heaven to provide the rain and wind necessary to produce abundant crops. That in turn provides the nourishment to make His people strong as they work. And He again promises to bless “all the work of thine hand.” This would position them as a prosperous people to whom others would seek assistance rather than vice versa.
I was intrigued by the mention of lightning in the verse in Jeremiah and decided to do a search on the beneficial effects of lightning. I found the following information at http://www.peakpureair.com/negative_ions.htm.
After a lightning storm, most of us feel invigorated and refreshed. This is because the electrical storm has generated trillions of gloriously tranquilizing negative ions that ease tension and leave us full of energy. Note that ozone and negative ions are different things….Scientific studies have shown that atmospheres charged with negative ions relieve hay-fever and asthma symptoms, seasonal depression, fatigue and headaches. It's also been shown that negatively ionized atmospheres improve performance of voluntary movement, increase work capacity, sharpen mental functioning, and reduce error rates….Remarkable as it may seem, a room charged with negative ions was shown to stem bacteria growth and precipitate many airborne contaminants including pollen, dust and dust mites, viruses, second-hand cigarette smoke, animal dander, odors and toxic chemical fumes.
Deut. 28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Deut. 28:14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
This is another set of verses that emphasizes the truth that these blessings would be theirs “if” they would pay attention to God’s commands and live by them in obedience to God. God’s desire is to honor His people above all other nations—to make them the head, not the tail—to position them in a place of honor.
Isn’t it sad that history reveals that they gave up honor and respect among the nations in a desire to be like the other nations? This is an important principle for the child of God to remember—Honor and respect come through submission and obedience to God; shame and disgrace are the result of rejecting Him in disobedience.
Verse 14 emphasizes that their submission and obedience to God was to be evident in every one of His commands—not just the ones of their own choosing. Any area in which we choose to disobey God is evidence of an idol in one’s life. An idol is simply anything in our lives that results in our disobedience to Him. It’s basically refusing to recognize God as Lord, and more often than not the idol that supplants God in our life is “self.”
Deut. 28:15 ¶ But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
After focusing on the blessings that God promises to His people in return for their faith and obedience to Him as LORD, the message again turns to specifying the curses that will result from disobedience. Just as the blessings would continue to increase, so would the effects of the curses.
I believe this verse has direct application to our country today. America was founded upon biblical principles that honored God as Lord, and America has been blessed abundantly because of it. Once we began to remove God from our schools and discredit the importance of biblical principles, we began a rapid descent into moral decay and are now on the verge of losing our elite status among the nations as God allows the effects of the curse of rejecting Him to continue to grow.
Deut. 28:16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
Deut. 28:17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Deut. 28:18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Deut. 28:19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
These curses are in specific contrast to the blessings outlined in verses 3-6 at the beginning of the chapter.
Deut. 28:20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
This verse has direct reference to verses 7-8. The end result of this curse will be the destruction of the nation. Point is made that this destruction will come as a result of the wickedness of the people as evidenced by their actions of rejection and disobedience to God.
It’s been a popular thing for philosophers throughout history to debate things such as how one can determine what is true and the criteria for determining good and evil. They can debate it until they are blue in the face. The fact is that God’s word is the only foundation for all such determinations—end of discussion.
Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
Psalms 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
1Chronicles 16:34 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good;”
Psalms 143:10 “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
3John 1:11 “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
Deut. 28:21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
Deut. 28:22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
The Hebrew for pestilence references plague, contagious or infectious disease. Consumption makes reference to emaciation, a natural result of disease and lack of proper nourishment. Fever, inflammation and extreme burning are all symptoms of infectious disease. Webster defines inflammation as “congestion of the blood vessels, with obstruction of the blood current, and growth of morbid tissue. It is manifested outwardly by redness and swelling, attended with heat and pain.” The sword would be a reference to enemy attack. Blasting is a reference to hot, destructive winds and mildew is a destroying fungus. Point of the message—God is going to remove His protective hand and allow them to experience the full effects of the curse of sin upon planet earth. This curse is a declaration by God that He will drive them out of the land just as surely as He is going to drive out the wicked nations currently living there.
It’s very thought-provoking to me that so often God’s blessing results in our complacency and presumptuousness rather than thankfulness to and worship of God, the source of blessing.
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Deut. 28:23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
Deut. 28:24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
This is basically a declaration that God will withhold the rain that is necessary for the land to yield its fruit and the result will be famine that leads to death.
Deut. 28:25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
Deut. 28:26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
This curse is the antithesis to verse 7. Point being—They will experience defeat at the hands of their enemies and many will become food for the carnivorous birds of the air and beasts of the field. Those who do escape will find themselves scattered throughout the earth—a people without a nation of their own.
I can’t help but comment as to how history reveals that this curse has been fulfilled so very literally.
Deut. 28:27 The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
“botch” = an inflammation like an ulcer or boil
“emerods” = a tumor in the anus
“scab” = to scratch from itching, scurvy, festering sores, skin lesions
“itch” = from an unused root meaning to scrape; the itch
It would seem that the botch was something they would remember from Egypt, an affliction that was predominant in that nation. One of the commentaries stated that this was a reference to the 6th plague.
Exodus 9:9-10 “And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.”
The most frightening aspect of this curse was the point that these afflictions would be incurable.
Deut. 28:28 The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
Deut. 28:29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
Madness is a reference to insanity, and “astonishment of the heart” is a reference to fear. Taken in context with verse 29, I believe blindness is a reference to lack of wisdom, understanding and courage necessary to be productive and/or get out from under the oppression of their enemies.
Deut. 28:30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
Deut. 28:31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
Deut. 28:32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
Deut. 28:33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
Deut. 28:34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
The grim consequences of breaking covenant with YHWH continue. These verses seem to be describing the likely result of the abuse and plunder of conquering enemy forces. Women will be raped, houses confiscated or destroyed, crops and possessions plundered, and children sold into slavery. The resultant suffering will be almost unbearable and will drive some to insanity.
Again, history records so many examples of experiences of the Jewish people that declare the truth of God’s word. In retrospect, it is really heart breaking to see how God’s people gave up so much when they chose to reject God and rebel against their covenant with Him and follow the desires of the flesh.
Deut. 28:35 The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.
The list of curses continues with another declaration of how they will experience incurable physical diseases. JFB was more specific; it stated that this was a reference to elephantiasis, a disease similar to leprosy that attacks the lower extremities. Webster defines it as a disease that causes the skin to become rough, hard and fissured like an elephant’s hide.
Deut. 28:36 The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
Deut. 28:37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
This verse again declares that the people of Israel would be taken into captivity by nations that served idols. It was interesting that specific note was made that their kings would also be taken captive. As a result, the people of Israel would become a laughing stock and object of scorn among the nations.
Again, history affirms the truth of God’s word.
Deut. 28:38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
Deut. 28:39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
Deut. 28:40 Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
These verses speak of a curse on the land and crops. Though they would plant much, they would harvest little. Their vineyards would be destroyed by worms, and the olives would fall off the trees before having a chance to ripen.
Deut. 28:41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
This verse is emphasizing that the people would lose their children to slavery.
Deut. 28:42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
Locusts destroy trees and crops. This brings to mind the great locust plague described by the prophet Joel.
Deut. 28:43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.
Deut. 28:44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
These verses are in direct contrast to the blessings that could be theirs as described in verses 12-13. Instead of being in positions of honor and affluence, they would experience disgrace and poverty. Instead of being in a position to lend to others, they would be in the position of needing loans from others.
Deut. 28:45 ¶ Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
Deut. 28:46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
Point is made that the effects of the curses would increase to the point that the nation would be destroyed—all because they chose to break covenant with God and follow the flesh. I think the NLT best expresses the heart of verse 46: These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever.
Deut. 28:47 Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
Deut. 28:48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
These verses are again quite thought provoking. Because they chose not to serve God, they would serve their enemies. Instead of enjoying blessing in abundance, they would serve their enemies in hunger, thirst, poverty and want. Point is made that to serve God should have been an exercise in joy and happiness in light of His abundant blessings. It would seem that in retrospect the people would at some point recognize that truth and repent of their rebellion. Instead, it continues to this day. The nation of Israel today is basically secular in nature with a small group of religious conservatives who insist on clinging to the religious practices instituted by men who have perverted the true meaning of God’s word.
Deut. 28:49 The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
Deut. 28:50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
Deut. 28:51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.
Deut. 28:52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
These verses are probably a reference to both the resulting captivity of the Northern Kingdom by the forces of Assyria and the Southern Kingdom by the forces of Babylon, by the subsequent invasion of the Romans, and eventually through the tyranny of the Antichrist. This again reminds me of the word overtake used in verses 2 and 15; the effects of the curse would continue to grow.
Deut. 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
Deut. 28:54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:
Deut. 28:55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.
Deut. 28:56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
Deut. 28:57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
The fulfillment of this curse is recorded in 2Kings 6 regarding the attack of Benhadad, the king of Syria, against Damascus. Both Jeremiah (chapter 19) and Ezekiel (chapter 5) prophesied that the same conditions would exist in the siege of Jerusalem, and in Lamentations 4 Jeremiah records the conditions in Jerusalem during the siege that included cannibalism.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t imagine being so hungry that I would resort to cannibalism—especially of my child. I think such people have to be under demonic influence.
Deut. 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
This section of verses is repeating what has already been said several times. This just goes to show the significance of the warning. It also reflects the heart of God in making clear the consequences for choosing to rebel against Him in disobedience. Every time we disregard God’s word, we are showing a lack of fear or proper respect for His authority, holiness and righteousness. The psalms have many statements that show the benefits of fearing the LORD.
Psalms 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy….”
Psalms 34:9 “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.”
Psalms 103:17 “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children….”
Psalms 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”
Psalms 147:11 “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”
“THE LORD THY GOD” – Whether we choose to accept Him as such, God is LORD. According to His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He is the God of Israel. Though they would choose to reject Him and suffer the terrible consequences, the time is coming when Israel will be restored as a nation in fellowship with YHWH, and they will serve Him in love and obedience forever.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Deut. 28:59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
Deut. 28:60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
Deut. 28:61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
“wonderful” (verse 2) = great, difficult
The terrible consequences they will suffer as outlined in the curses above are again summarized in these verses. The land will not yield sufficient produce, and the people will suffer from sickness and disease, many of which will be incurable. The effects of the curses will increase to the point that they go beyond what is specifically outlined in this book. Without doubt, the people of Israel would become a people without a nation if they chose to rebel in disobedience to God.
The “book of this law” is probably a reference to the contents of Deuteronomy, but might also include the whole of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
Deut. 28:62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.
The curses would result in the destruction of the nation. The Jewish people would be among the fewest in number among the nations—all because of refusing to obey YHWH.
Deut. 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Deut. 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
Verse 63 is a hard verse that I think many would like to ignore as it pertains to God’s attitude toward the punishment of sin. God truly delights in blessing those who yield to Him in faith and obedience as LORD. Verse 63 declares that He also delights in exercising judgment for sin. We tend to dwell on the truth that declares God is love and somehow reject the notion that He is righteous and holy and hates sin. I believe that His delight in punishing sin comes from the fact that it most often takes suffering the consequences of sin to cause people to turn to Him in faith and repentance of their sin. I think that is one of the reasons that our justice system is so ineffective and our prisons so full, the consequences of sin are inadequate to deterrence.
Again, God declares that rebellion and disobedience will cause Him to send His people into captivity among the nations, and they will experience the consequences of serving false gods that have no power to either bless or curse. They are as dead as the pieces of wood and stone that represent them. I always think of the words of Isaiah regarding these idols.
Isaiah 44:9-17 “They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? …The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. He heweth him down cedars… for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.”
How can one not be considered a fool that does such a thing!
Deut. 28:65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
Deut. 28:66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
Deut. 28:67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
The Lord goes on to declare through Moses that His people will find no rest as they try to make a home for themselves in these Gentile nations. They will continually experience treatment that will provoke insecurity, fear and sorrow. There will be times that they would just desire the days to pass as quickly as possible because of the troubles they will be experiencing.
Again, history records the truth of God’s word. I thought Kay Arthur’s book, Israel, My Beloved, was a thoughtful, caring presentation of this history in light of God’s unfailing love for His people.
Deut. 28:68 And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
It seems that YHWH is saying that these curses would result in the Jewish people once again finding themselves as slaves in Egypt. This time they will be trying to obtain positions as servants in a desperate attempt just to get food, clothing and shelter, but will meet with rejection because they are so despised. Some of the commentators made note of the fact that Titus had many of the people transported to Egypt in ships to sell them as slaves after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.