Reading 58/341, Deuteronomy 28-29

We continue the blessing and the curse set up in yesterday's reading.

...Deuteronomy...

If you listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, to carefully do all his commandments which I command you this day, It shall happen that the Lord your God will set you on high above all the nations of the earth, and all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall the fruit of your body be, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your animals, the increase of your livestock, and the young of your flock. Blessed shall your basket be and your kneading trough. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be struck before you. They shall come out against you one way, and shall flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and he will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and walk in his ways. All the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good storehouse in the sky, to give the rain of your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hands, and you shall lend to many nations, and you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head, and not the tail, and you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day, to carefully do them, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to carefully do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall your basket be and your kneading trough. Cursed shall the fruit of your body be, and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your livestock, and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke, in all that you put your hand to, until you are destroyed, and until you perish quickly, because of the evil of your doings, by which you have forsaken me. The Lord will make the pestilence cleave to you, until he has consumed you from off the land, where you go in to possess it. The Lord will strike you with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with fiery heat, and with the sword, and with blight, and with mildew, and they shall pursue you until you perish. Your sky that is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth that is under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from the sky it shall come down on you, until you are destroyed. The Lord will cause you to be struck before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them, and shall flee seven ways before them, and you shall be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth. Your dead body shall be food to all birds of the sky, and to the animals of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with the tumors, and with the scabs, and with the itch, of which you cannot be healed. The Lord will strike you with madness, and with blindness, and with confusion of heart, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways, and you shall be oppressed and robbed always, and there shall be no one to save you. You shall betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her, you shall build a house, and not dwell therein, you shall plant a vineyard and not use the fruit of it. Your ox shall be slain before your eyes, and you shall not eat of it. Your donkey shall be violently taken away from before your face and not restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have no one to save you. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day, and there shall be nothing within the power of your hands. The fruit of your ground, and all your labors, a nation which you do not know will eat up, and you shall be oppressed and crushed always, so that you shall be mad for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. The Lord will strike you in the knees, and on the legs, with a serious boil, of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

The Lord will bring you, and your king whom you shall set over you, to a nation that you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, and there you shall serve other gods: wood and stone. You shall become a monster, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples where the Lord shall lead you away. You shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your borders, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olive shall fall off. You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity. All your trees and the fruit of your ground shall the locust possess. The immigrant who is in the midst of you shall rise above you higher and higher, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him, he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. All these curses shall come on you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you, and they shall be on you as a sign and wonder, and on your seed forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things, and he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck, until he has destroyed you.

The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you shall not understand, a hard-faced nation that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young, and shall eat the fruit of your livestock, and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed. They also shall not leave you grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of your livestock, or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish. They shall besiege you in all your gates, until your high and fortified walls come down, in which you trusted, throughout all your land, and they shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. The man who is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children whom he has remaining, so that he will not give to any of them some of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he has nothing left him, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not dare to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, for she shall secretly eat her placenta and the children she bears for want of all things in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your gates.

If you will not carefully do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear the glorious and fearful name of the Lord your God, then the Lord will make your diseases awful, and the diseases of your seed, great diseases, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. He will bring on you again all the diseases of Egypt, which you were afraid of, and they shall cleave to you. Also every sickness, and every disease, which is not written in the book of this law, the Lord will bring them on you, until you are destroyed. You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of the sky for multitude, because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord your God. It shall happen that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to cause you to perish, and to destroy you, and you shall be plucked from the land which you go in to possess. The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from the one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers. Among these nations you shall find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and pining of soul, and your life shall hang in doubt before you, and you shall fear night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, “Would that it were evening!” and in the evening you shall say, “Would that it were morning!”, for the fear of your heart which you shall fear, and for the sights your eyes shall see. The Lord will bring you into Egypt again with ships, by the way which I said to you, ‘You shall not it ever see it again’, and there you shall sell yourselves to your enemies for bondservants and for bondmaids, and no man shall buy you.”

These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. Moses called to all Israel, and said to them, “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders, but the Lord has not given you to this day a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear. ‘I have led you forty years in the desert, your clothes have not worn old on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or strong drink, so that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” When you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us in battle, and we struck them, and we took their land, and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and your immigrant who is in the midst of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water, that you may enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, and into his oath, which the Lord your God makes with you this day, that he may establish you this day to himself for a people, and that he may be to you a God, as he spoke to you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Nor with you only do I make this covenant and this oath, but with him who stands here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him who is not here with us this day for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed, and you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them, lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the Lord our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations.

Lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood, and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to destroy the moist with the dry’. The Lord will not pardon him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under the sky. The Lord will set him apart as evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law. The generation to come, your children who shall rise up after you, and the immigrant who comes from a far land, shall say, when they see the diseases of that land, and the sicknesses with which the Lord has made it sick, and that the whole land is sulfur, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath, all the nations shall say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?’ Then men shall say, ‘It is because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods, and worshiped them, gods that they did not know, and that he had not given to them. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring on it all the curses that are written in this book, and the Lord dug them up out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as on this day.’ The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

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