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Deuteronomy 29:18-19

Context
29:18 Beware that the heart of no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you turns away from the Lord our God today to pursue and serve the gods of those nations; beware that there is among you no root producing poisonous and bitter fruit. 1  29:19 When such a person 2  hears the words of this oath he secretly 3  blesses himself 4  and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” 5  This will destroy 6  the watered ground with the parched. 7 

1 tn Heb “yielding fruit poisonous and wormwood.” The Hebrew noun לַעֲנָה (laanah) literally means “wormwood” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB), but is used figuratively for anything extremely bitter, thus here “fruit poisonous and bitter.”

2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the subject of the warning in v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “in his heart.”

4 tn Or “invokes a blessing on himself.” A formalized word of blessing is in view, the content of which appears later in the verse.

5 tn Heb “heart.”

6 tn Heb “thus destroying.” For stylistic reasons the translation begins a new sentence here.

7 tn Heb “the watered with the parched.” The word “ground” is implied. The exact meaning of the phrase is uncertain although it appears to be figurative. This appears to be a proverbial observation employing a figure of speech (a merism) suggesting totality. That is, the Israelite who violates the letter and even spirit of the covenant will harm not only himself but everything he touches – “the watered and the parched.” Cf. CEV “you will cause the rest of Israel to be punished along with you.”



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