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Chapter 28:37-68 (ESV)

Posted on April 10, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 28:37-68 (ESV) - And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away. You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, 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 territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off. You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity. The cricket shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground. The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, 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 upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.

“They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you. And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and 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 the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left, so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.

“If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God. And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

“And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. And the LORD will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”

Question to consider: Why would Israel disobey the LORD’s commands given all of these horrific consequences?

If you were to read the works of historians recording the events during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes during the intertestamental period or during the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70, you would find descriptions of mothers being forced to march with their dead babies around their necks or starving to the point where they cannibalized their own children.

The description of the consequences of Israel’s disobedience is so accurate that it is easy to forget that Moses gave these words to Israel before they even entered into the land. Given that Moses appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah, I have to wonder if both Moses and Elijah were shown the entire future of Israel leading up to the coming of Christ.

People seem to take Biblical prophecy for granted as if all religions have prophecies that came true in the level of detail that this one did given by Moses. As much as movies present prophecies coming from Southeast Asian scrolls, no other religions or self-proclaimed prophets have been able to so accurately describe future events.

You would think that the judgments Moses proclaimed would have scared Israel straight, but they didn’t. They didn’t even bring Israel to repentance when some of the early judgments came to pass even though they were continually told to repent by the prophets God sent. It was easier to listen to the false prophets who proclaimed God’s peace for Israel when there was no peace.

It happens today as well. There are plenty of false teachers out there who preach God’s acceptance of sin and undercut or skip over passages like today’s which paints a very real picture of life without the grace and mercy of God. Those who try to remain truthful to God’s view of sin and judgment are marginalized and called uneducated by the scholars who mythologize such texts and attribute them to Moses’ imagination to try and control the populace to his way of thinking.

People are all too willing to accept the message of those who reject the judgment of God because they don’t want to face the reality of it in history. However, as the writer of Hebrews commented, “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28-29) If we think that the description Moses gave was too terrible to imagine even though it took place, then how much worse is what Christ described as a place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing atonement for our sins in Christ. Please open our eyes to our need for Christ’s righteousness, for no one is righteous outside of Him. Amen.