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Deuteronomy 28:38-46

Context
The Curse of Reversed Status

28:38 “You will take much seed to the field but gather little harvest, because locusts will consume it. 28:39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink wine or gather in grapes, because worms will eat them. 28:40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees while still unripe. 1  28:41 You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them, because they will be taken into captivity. 28:42 Whirring locusts 2  will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil. 28:43 The foreigners 3  who reside among you will become higher and higher over you and you will become lower and lower. 28:44 They will lend to you but you will not lend to them; they will become the head and you will become the tail!

28:45 All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping his commandments and statutes that he has given 4  you. 28:46 These curses 5  will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants. 6 

1 tn Heb “your olives will drop off” (נָשַׁל, nashal), referring to the olives dropping off before they ripen.

2 tn The Hebrew term denotes some sort of buzzing or whirring insect; some have understood this to be a type of locust (KJV, NIV, CEV), but other insects have also been suggested: “buzzing insects” (NAB); “the cricket” (NASB); “the cicada” (NRSV).

3 tn Heb “the foreigner.” This is a collective singular and has therefore been translated as plural; this includes the pronouns in the following verse, which are also singular in the Hebrew text.

4 tn Heb “commanded”; NAB, NIV, TEV “he gave you.”

5 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the curses mentioned previously) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Heb “seed” (so KJV, ASV).



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