Blessings for Obedience. 1Now,a b if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD, your God, carefully observing all his commandments which I give you today, the LORD, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth.c 2All these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you when you obey the voice of the LORD, your God:
3d May you be blessed in the city,
and blessed in the country!
4Blessed 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!e
5Blessed be your grain basket and your kneading bowl!
6May you be blessed in your coming in,
and blessed in your going out!* f
Victory and Prosperity. 7The LORD will beat down before you the enemies that rise up against you; they will come out against you from one direction, and flee before you in seven.* g 8The LORD will affirm the blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings; he will bless you in the land that the LORD, your God, is giving you. 9The LORD will establish you as a holy people, as he swore to you,h if you keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and walk in his ways. 10All the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the LORD is proclaimed over you,* and they will be afraid of you.i 11The LORD will generously increase the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil, upon the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors he would give you.j 12The LORD will open up for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give your land rain in due season and to bless all the works of your hands. You will lend to many nations but borrow from none.k 13The LORD will make you the head not the tail, the top not the bottom, if you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I am giving you today, observing them carefully, 14not turning aside, either to the right or to the left, from any of the words which I am giving you today, following other gods and serving them.l
Curses for Disobedience. 15But if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, your God,m carefully observing all his commandments and statutes which I give you today, all these curses shall come upon you and overwhelm you:
16n May you be cursed in the city, and cursed in the country! 17Cursed be your grain basket and your kneading bowl! 18Cursed 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! 19May you be cursed in your coming in, and cursed in your going out!
Sickness and Defeat. 20The LORD will send on you a curse, panic, and frustration in everything you set your hand to, until you are speedily destroyed and perish for the evil you have done in forsaking me. 21o The LORD will make disease cling to you until he has made an end of you from the land you are entering to possess. 22The LORD will strike you with consumption, fever, and inflammation, with fiery heat and drought, with blight and mildew, that will pursue you until you perish. 23The heavens over your heads will be like bronze and the earth under your feet like iron.p 24For rain the LORD will give your land powdery dust, which will come down upon you from the heavens until you are destroyed. 25The 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 an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.q 26Your corpses will become food for all the birds of the air and for the beasts of the field, with no one to frighten them off.r 27The LORD will strike you with Egyptian boilss and with tumors, skin diseases and the itch, from none of which you can be cured. 28t And the LORD will strike you with madness, blindness and panic, 29so that even at midday you will grope in the dark as though blind, unable to find your way.
Despoilment. You will be oppressed and robbed continually, with no one to come to your aid. 30Though you betroth a wife, another will have her. Though you build a house, you will not live in it. Though you plant a vineyard, you will not pluck its fruits.u 31v Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat its flesh. Your donkey will be stolen in your presence, but you will never get it back. Your flocks will be given to your enemies, with no one to come to your aid. 32Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you strain your eyes looking for them every day, having no power to do anything. 33A people you do not know will consume the fruit of your soil and of all your labor, and you will be thoroughly oppressed and continually crushed, 34until you are driven mad by what your eyes must look upon. 35The 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.
Exile. 36w The LORD will bring you, and your king whom you have set over you, to a nation which you and your ancestors have not known, and there you will serve other gods, of wood and stone, 37and you will be a horror, a byword, a taunt among all the peoples to which the LORD will drive you.
Fruitless Labors. 38x Though you take out seed to your field, you will harvest but little, for the locusts will devour it. 39Though you plant and cultivate vineyards, you will not drink or store up the wine, for the worms will eat them. 40Though you have olive trees throughout your country, you will have no oil for ointment, for your olives will drop off. 41Though you beget sons and daughters, they will not remain with you, for they will go into captivity. 42Buzzing insects will take possession of all your trees and the crops of your soil. 43y The resident aliens among you will rise above you higher and higher, while you sink lower and lower. 44They will lend to you, not you to them. They will become the head, you the tail.
45All these curses will come upon you, pursuing you and overwhelming you, until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD, your God, by keeping his commandments and statutes which he gave you.z 46They will be a sign and a wonder* for you and your descendants for all time. 47Since you would not serve the LORD, your God, with heartfelt joy for abundance of every kind, 48in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and utter want, 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.a
Invasion and Siege. 49b 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 language you do not understand, 50a nation of fierce appearance, that shows neither respect for the aged nor mercy for the young. 51They 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 herd, no young of flock, until they have brought about your ruin. 52They will besiege you in each of your communities, until the great, fortified walls, in which you trust, come tumbling down all over your land. They will besiege you in every community throughout the land which the LORD, your God, has given you, 53c and because of the siege and the distress 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. 54The most refined and fastidious man among you will begrudge his brother and his beloved wife and his surviving children, 55any share in the flesh of his children that he himself is using for food because nothing else is left him—such the siege and distress to which your enemy will subject you in all your communities. 56The most fastidious woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground, so refined and fastidious is she, will begrudge her beloved husband and her son and daughter 57the afterbirth that issues from her womb and the infants she brings forth because she secretly eats them for want of anything else—such the siege and distress to which your enemy will subject you in your communities.
Plagues. 58If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which is written in this book, and to fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD, your God,d 59e the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants wondrous calamities, severe and constant calamities, and malignant and constant sicknesses. 60He will bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt* which you dread, and they will cling to you. 61Even any sickness or calamity not written in this book of the law, that too the LORD will bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62You who were numerous as the stars of the heavensf will be left few in number, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD, your God.
Exile. 63g Just as the LORD once took delight in making you prosper and grow, so will the LORD now take delight in ruining and destroying you, and you will be plucked out of the land you are now entering to possess. 64The LORD will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods, of wood and stone, which you and your ancestors have not known. 65Among these nations you will find no rest, not even a resting place for the sole of your foot, for there the LORD will give you an anguished heart and wearied eyes* and a trembling spirit. 66Your life will hang in suspense and you will stand in dread both day and night, never sure of your life. 67In the morning you will say, “Would that it were evening!” and in the evening you will say, “Would that it were morning!” because of the dread that your heart must feel and the sight that your eyes must see. 68The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt, by a route which I told you that you would never see again;h and there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.
69These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he made with them at Horeb.
* [28:6] In your coming in…in your going out: at the beginning and end of every action, or in all actions in general. The rhetorical figure is called merismus. See also 6:7.
* [28:7] From one direction…in seven: in one disciplined body, contrasted with many scattered groups.
* [28:10] The name of the LORD is proclaimed over you: an expression signifying ownership and protection. Cf. 2 Sm 12:28; 1 Kgs 8:43; Is 4:1; 63:19; Jer 7:10–11; 14:9; 15:16; 25:29; Am 9:12.
* [28:25] From one direction…in seven: see note on v. 7.
* [28:46] A sign and a wonder: an ominous example, attracting attention; cf. 29:21–28.
* [28:60] He will bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt: such as the Lord had promised to remove from the people (7:15); cf. v. 27.
* [28:65] Wearied eyes: cf. v. 32.
b. [28:1–14] Dt 7:12–16; 11:13–15.
c. [28:1] Dt 26:19; Ps 89:27; Is 55:3–5.
e. [28:4] Dt 7:13–14; 30:9; Ex 23:26; Lv 26:9.
g. [28:7] Dt 9:1–3; Ex 23:27–28; Lv 26:6–8.
h. [28:9] Dt 26:18–19; Ex 19:5–6.
i. [28:10] Dt 2:25; 11:25; Is 61:9.
m. [28:15] Bar 1:20; Dn 9:11; Mal 2:2.
o. [28:21–22] Lv 26:16, 25; Jer 14:12; Am 4:9–10; Hg 2:17.
q. [28:25] Dt 1:44; 28:7; Lv 26:17, 37.
r. [28:26] Ps 79:2; Jer 7:33; 34:20.
s. [28:27] Dt 7:15; 28:60; Ex 9:8–12.
u. [28:30] Dt 20:5–7; Am 5:11.
v. [28:31–34] Jer 5:17; Lam 5:1–18; Am 7:17.
w. [28:36–37] Dt 4:27–28; 1 Kgs 9:6–9; 2 Kgs 25:6–7, 11; 2 Chr 7:19–22; 33:11; 36:6, 20; Jer 16:13; 24:8–9; 25:8–11; Ez 17:12.
x. [28:38–42] Dt 28:18; Lv 26:20; Lam 1:5; Mi 6:15; Zep 1:13; Hg 1:6.
y. [28:43–44] Dt 15:6; 28:12–13.
b. [28:49–52] Jer 5:15–17; 6:22–26; Bar 4:15–16.
c. [28:53–57] Lv 26:29; 2 Kgs 6:28–29; Jer 19:9; Lam 2:20; 4:10; Bar 2:3.
d. [28:58] Dt 6:13; Jos 24:14.
e. [28:59–61] Dt 7:15; 28:21–22, 27.
f. [28:62] Dt 1:10; 10:22; 26:5; Jer 42:2.
g. [28:63–67] Dt 4:26–28; 30:9; Lv 26:33–39.