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Deuteronomy 28:49-68

Context
28:49 The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth 1  as the eagle flies, 2  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 3  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, 4  or lambs of your flocks 5  until they have destroyed you. 28:52 They will besiege all of your villages 6  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, 7  the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege 8  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 9  you in your villages. 28:56 Likewise, the most 10  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, 11  will turn against her beloved husband, her sons and daughters, 28:57 and will secretly eat her afterbirth 12  and her newborn children 13  (since she has nothing else), 14  because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict you in your villages.

The Curse of Covenant Termination

28:58 “If you refuse to obey 15  all the words of this law, the things written in this scroll, and refuse to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 28:59 then the Lord will increase your punishments and those of your descendants – great and long-lasting afflictions and severe, enduring illnesses. 28:60 He will infect you with all the diseases of Egypt 16  that you dreaded, and they will persistently afflict you. 17  28:61 Moreover, the Lord will bring upon you every kind of sickness and plague not mentioned in this scroll of commandments, 18  until you have perished. 28:62 There will be very few of you left, though at one time you were as numerous as the stars in the sky, 19  because you will have disobeyed 20  the Lord your God. 28:63 This is what will happen: Just as the Lord delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he 21  will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land you are about to possess. 28:64 The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. 28:65 Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair. 28:66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next. 22  28:67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ because of the things you will fear and the things you will see. 28:68 Then the Lord will make you return to Egypt by ship, over a route I said to you that you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

1 tn Heb “from the end of the earth.”

2 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.

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

4 tn Heb “increase of herds.”

5 tn Heb “growth of flocks.”

6 tn Heb “gates,” also in vv. 55, 57.

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

8 tn Heb “siege and stress.”

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

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

11 tn Heb “delicateness and tenderness.”

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

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

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

15 tn Heb “If you are not careful to do.”

16 sn These are the plagues the Lord inflicted on the Egyptians prior to the exodus which, though they did not fall upon the Israelites, must have caused great terror (cf. Exod 15:26).

17 tn Heb “will cling to you” (so NIV); NLT “will claim you.”

18 tn The Hebrew term תּוֹרָה (torah) can refer either (1) to the whole Pentateuch or, more likely, (2) to the book of Deuteronomy or even (3) only to this curse section of the covenant text. “Scroll” better reflects the actual document, since “book” conveys the notion of a bound book with pages to the modern English reader. Cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV “the book of this law”; NIV, NLT “this Book of the Law”; TEV “this book of God’s laws and teachings.”

19 tn Or “heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

20 tn Heb “have not listened to the voice of.”

21 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 28:8.

22 tn Heb “you will not be confident in your life.” The phrase “from one day to the next” is implied by the following verse.



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