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Deuteronomy 28:47-57

The Curse of Military Siege

28:47 “Because you have not served the Lord your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have, 28:48 instead in hunger, thirst, nakedness, and poverty 1  you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. They 2  will place an iron yoke on your neck until they have destroyed you. 28:49 The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth 3  as the eagle flies, 4  a nation whose language you will not understand, 28:50 a nation of stern appearance that will have no regard for the elderly or pity for the young. 28:51 They 5  will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil until you are destroyed. They will not leave you with any grain, new wine, olive oil, calves of your herds, 6  or lambs of your flocks 7  until they have destroyed you. 28:52 They will besiege all of your villages 8  until all of your high and fortified walls collapse – those in which you put your confidence throughout the land. They will besiege all your villages throughout the land the Lord your God has given you. 28:53 You will then eat your own offspring, 9  the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege 10  by which your enemies will constrict you. 28:54 The man among you who is by nature tender and sensitive will turn against his brother, his beloved wife, and his remaining children. 28:55 He will withhold from all of them his children’s flesh that he is eating (since there is nothing else left), because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict 11  you in your villages. 28:56 Likewise, the most 12  tender and delicate of your women, who would never think of putting even the sole of her foot on the ground because of her daintiness, 13  will turn against her beloved husband, her sons and daughters, 28:57 and will secretly eat her afterbirth 14  and her newborn children 15  (since she has nothing else), 16  because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict you in your villages.

1 tn Heb “lack of everything.”

2 tn Heb “he” (also later in this verse). The pronoun is a collective singular referring to the enemies (cf. CEV, NLT). Many translations understand the singular pronoun to refer to the Lord (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV).

3 tn Heb “from the end of the earth.”

4 tn Some translations understand this to mean “like an eagle swoops down” (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), comparing the swift attack of an eagle to the attack of the Israelites’ enemies.

5 tn Heb “it” (so NRSV), a collective singular referring to the invading nation (several times in this verse and v. 52).

6 tn Heb “increase of herds.”

7 tn Heb “growth of flocks.”

8 tn Heb “gates,” also in vv. 55, 57.

9 tn Heb “the fruit of your womb” (so NAB, NRSV); NASB “the offspring of your own body.”

10 tn Heb “siege and stress.”

11 tn Heb “besiege,” redundant with the noun “siege.”

12 tc The LXX adds σφόδρα (sfodra, “very”) to bring the description into line with v. 54.

13 tn Heb “delicateness and tenderness.”

14 tn Heb includes “that which comes out from between her feet.”

15 tn Heb “her sons that she will bear.”

16 tn Heb includes “in her need for everything.”

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