What does Deuteronomy 28:15-68 really mean?

Deuteronomy 28:15-68 is about the consequences of disobedience to God’s commandments, warning the Israelites of the curses and calamities that will befall them if they turn away from God and His laws.

15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
20 “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.
21 The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.
23 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron.
24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.”
26 Your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away.
27 The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.
28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind,
29 and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you.
30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her.
31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you.
32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless.
33 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually,
34 So you shall be driven mad by the sights that your eyes see.
35 The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.
36 “The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone.”
37 And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away.
38 “You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it.”
39 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.
40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off.
41 You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity.
42 The cricket shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground.
43 The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower.
44 “He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.”
45 “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.”
46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever.
47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,
48 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.
49 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,
50 a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.
51 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.
52 “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.”
53 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.
54 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,
55 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.
56 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 the husband she embraces, her son and her daughter,
57 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.
58 “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,”
59 then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting.
60 He will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.
61 Also every sickness and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed.
62 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.
63 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.
64 “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.”
65 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.
66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
67 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.
68 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.”


Setting the Scene for Deuteronomy 28:15-68

In Deuteronomy chapter 28, Moses is addressing the Israelites on the plains of Moab, just before they are about to enter the Promised Land. The scene is set with the vast desert stretching out before them, the sun beating down on the group gathered to hear Moses speak. The Israelites have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years, and now they stand on the cusp of their long-awaited destination.

As Moses speaks, the people listen intently, knowing that he is delivering a crucial message from God. He outlines the blessings that will come upon them if they obey the commandments of the Lord, promising prosperity, success, and victory over their enemies. However, he also warns of the consequences of disobedience, detailing the curses that will befall them if they turn away from God. The atmosphere is tense as the gravity of the situation sinks in, and the Israelites are faced with a choice that will determine their future.

The weight of Moses’ words hangs heavy in the air as he paints a vivid picture of the suffering and hardship that will come upon them if they stray from the path of righteousness. The people are filled with a mixture of fear and determination, knowing that their choices will have far-reaching consequences for themselves and future generations. As they stand on the threshold of the Promised Land, the Israelites are faced with a stark reminder of the importance of faithfulness and obedience to God.

What is Deuteronomy 28:15-68 about?

When we look at this verse, we see a powerful reminder of the importance of obedience to God. It highlights the idea that following God’s commands leads to blessings, while straying from them brings about consequences. When we listen and follow the rules set by God, we are on a path towards blessings and fulfillment that He has promised.

It is crucial to reflect on the profound implications of this verse in our own lives. Have you experienced blessings when you have followed God’s commands? Have you faced challenges or difficulties when you have strayed away? We can learn valuable lessons about the significance of obedience and the consequences that come with disobedience by contemplating these questions. We should strive to align our actions with God’s will because true fulfillment and blessings come from walking in His ways.

Understanding what Deuteronomy 28:15-68 really means

In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, we encounter a sobering depiction of the consequences that await the Israelites should they stray from obedience to God’s commandments. Following a section detailing the blessings for obedience, this passage serves as a stark contrast, emphasizing the gravity of deviating from God’s will. The phrase “If you do not obey the Lord your God” sets the stage, highlighting the pivotal role of obedience in avoiding the curses outlined. The language used, such as “All these curses will come upon you and overtake you,” underscores the inevitability and all-encompassing nature of the repercussions of disobedience.

“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and rebuke,” paints a vivid picture of the turmoil and divine disfavor that disobedience invites. The stark warning that “You will be unsuccessful in everything you do” emphasizes the futility and frustration that accompany a life lived outside of God’s guidance. This passage echoes similar themes found in Leviticus 26:14-39, reinforcing the concept of divine retribution for disobedience. Proverbs 3:33 contrasts the outcomes of wickedness and righteousness, while Galatians 6:7-8 reaffirms the principle of reaping what one sows, resonating with the justice portrayed in Deuteronomy.

The relevance of Deuteronomy 28:15-68 extends beyond its historical context, speaking to the universal principle of cause and effect. Just as the Israelites faced consequences for their actions, individuals today also bear the results of their choices. This passage underscores the moral and spiritual accountability we hold, reminding us of the spiritual implications of our actions and the importance of aligning ourselves with God’s will. Moreover, the societal implications of ignoring moral and ethical standards can be seen as a parallel to the breakdown of society depicted in the curses outlined.

To illustrate the lasting impact of disobedience, consider a community that disregards environmental regulations for short-term gain. Initially, they may profit economically, but as pollution, health issues, and resource depletion take their toll, the long-term consequences become evident. This scenario mirrors the warning in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, where initial disobedience may seem inconsequential, but the eventual devastation is undeniable. In conclusion, this passage serves as a poignant reminder of the necessity of obedience to God’s commandments, highlighting the enduring principle that our actions carry consequences, both personally and communally. Reflecting on these teachings encourages us to live in a manner that aligns with God’s will, ensuring that we walk in His blessings rather than His curses.

How do our actions affect our spiritual blessings?

Our spiritual blessings are directly affected by our actions. If we disobey and turn away from God’s commands, we risk losing these blessings and experiencing curses instead. Through our actions, we can either align ourselves with God’s will and receive blessings, or we can go against His will and suffer the consequences. The blessings and curses mentioned in the verse are a result of the choices we make and the paths we choose to follow. We can invite spiritual blessings into our lives by choosing to follow God’s commands and live a life in accordance with His will. However, if we stray from His ways and engage in disobedience, we open ourselves up to experiencing curses and negative consequences. Our actions have a direct impact on the spiritual blessings we receive, highlighting the importance of living a righteous and obedient life in order to receive God’s favor and blessings.


Think of life as a balancing act, like juggling your job, your family, and your personal time. Following God’s path helps keep everything in the air, moving smoothly. When you stray, things start to fall apart. Are you ready to make a change and embrace the blessings that come with true obedience? Don’t wait for things to crash. Why not take steps now to align your actions with God’s word and seek His guidance daily? Are you willing to risk the consequences by continuing on the wrong path?