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Deuteronomy 29:18-23

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  29:20 The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger 8  will rage 9  against that man; all the curses 10  written in this scroll will fall upon him 11  and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. 12  29:21 The Lord will single him out 13  for judgment 14  from all the tribes of Israel according to all the curses of the covenant written in this scroll of the law. 29:22 The generation to come – your descendants who will rise up after you, as well as the foreigner who will come from distant places – will see 15  the afflictions of that land and the illnesses that the Lord has brought on it. 29:23 The whole land will be covered with brimstone, salt, and burning debris; it will not be planted nor will it sprout or produce grass. It will resemble the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger. 16 

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.”

8 tn Heb “the wrath of the Lord and his zeal.” The expression is a hendiadys, a figure in which the second noun becomes adjectival to the first.

9 tn Heb “smoke,” or “smolder.”

10 tn Heb “the entire oath.”

11 tn Or “will lie in wait against him.”

12 tn Heb “blot out his name from under the sky.”

13 tn Heb “set him apart.”

14 tn Heb “for evil”; NAB “for doom”; NASB “for adversity”; NIV “for disaster”; NRSV “for calamity.”

15 tn Heb “will say and see.” One expects a quotation to appear, but it seems to be omitted. To avoid confusion in the translation, the verb “will say” is omitted.

16 tn Heb “the anger and the wrath.” This construction is a hendiadys intended to intensify the emotion.



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