What does Deuteronomy 28:56-57 really mean?

Deuteronomy 28:56-57 is about the dire consequences that will befall the Israelites if they do not obey the commandments of the Lord, including the horror of witnessing their children suffering from famine and starvation.

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.


Setting the Scene for Deuteronomy 28:56-57

In Deuteronomy chapter 28, Moses is addressing the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. The scene is set in the vast wilderness, with the Israelites gathered around Moses as he delivers a solemn message from God. The people are weary from their journey, their clothes worn and their sandals dusty from the long trek through the desert.

Among the crowd are men, women, and children, all listening intently as Moses speaks of the blessings and curses that will come upon them depending on their obedience to God’s commandments. The atmosphere is tense as Moses describes the consequences of disobedience, including the hardships and suffering that will befall them if they turn away from the Lord.

As the sun sets over the horizon, casting a warm glow over the camp, the Israelites are reminded of the importance of following God’s laws and staying faithful to Him as they prepare to enter the land flowing with milk and honey. The weight of Moses’ words hangs heavy in the air, serving as a stark reminder of the consequences of straying from the path of righteousness.

What is Deuteronomy 28:56-57 about?

When we read Deuteronomy 28:56-57, we are faced with a stark warning about the consequences of disobedience to God. The verse paints a picture of unimaginable suffering and despair that will befall those who turn away from God’s teachings. It serves as a reminder of the importance of following God’s commandments and living a righteous life.

Have you ever stopped to think about the ways in which our actions can impact our lives and the lives of those around us? The verse in Deuteronomy is a powerful reminder that our choices have consequences, and that turning away from God can lead to suffering and hardship. It challenges us to reflect on our own behavior and consider whether we are living in alignment with God’s will. We should remember the warning in Deuteronomy 28:56-57 as we navigate our own journeys of faith and obedience, using it as a beacon guiding us towards righteousness and away from suffering. It reminds us of the importance of staying steadfast in our faith and following God’s commandments, even when faced with challenges or temptations. Let us strive to live a life that pleases God, knowing that obedience brings blessings while disobedience leads to unnecessary pain and hardship.

Understanding what Deuteronomy 28:56-57 really means

Deuteronomy 28, a pivotal chapter in the Bible, captures Moses’ final words to the Israelites as they stand on the cusp of entering the Promised Land. It delineates the stark contrast between the blessings awaiting those who obey God’s commandments and the curses that will befall those who stray from His path. Within this chapter, verses 56-57 stand out as a poignant depiction of the harrowing repercussions of disobedience, particularly in the context of a besieged city where desperation knows no bounds.

Drawing parallels with other biblical passages such as Leviticus 26:29, Lamentations 4:10, and 2 Kings 6:28-29, we witness a consistent theme of the dire consequences that accompany disobedience. These texts paint vivid pictures of the moral decay and extreme measures people resort to in times of famine and siege, serving as cautionary tales for all generations.

The relevance of these passages to contemporary society is profound. They serve as a sobering reminder of the moral and spiritual decay that can ensue when individuals and communities turn away from God’s guidance. The consequences of disobedience, as outlined in Deuteronomy 28:56-57, underscore the importance of upholding moral integrity and faith, especially in times of crisis and collective turmoil.

Consider a community grappling with a severe economic downturn. As resources diminish, the temptation to compromise on values and ethics may loom large. Yet, those who cling to their faith and support one another exemplify resilience in the face of adversity. This narrative mirrors the timeless lesson embedded in Deuteronomy 28:56-57, urging individuals to stand firm in their beliefs even amidst the most trying circumstances.

Delving into the poignant phrases within these verses unveils profound truths about the consequences of disobedience. The imagery of “the most gentle and sensitive woman among you” being driven to unthinkable actions underscores the depths of despair that disobedience can lead to. The stark portrayal of familial bonds being shattered and natural affections overridden serves as a chilling reminder of the catastrophic outcomes that can result from straying from God’s path.

In essence, reflecting on these passages prompts introspection and contemplation. They compel us to ponder the gravity of obedience to divine commandments and the gravity of deviating from the path of righteousness. Deuteronomy 28:56-57 stands as a poignant reminder of the enduring importance of faith, moral fortitude, and unwavering commitment to God’s guidance, even in the face of the most extreme adversities.

How do we show compassion and care for others?

Showing compassion and care for others can be done by being understanding and empathetic towards their struggles and hardships. We can better relate to their experiences and offer support and help where needed by putting ourselves in their shoes. We extend a helping hand and provide comfort to those in need, just as we would hope to receive in times of trouble ourselves.

Additionally, showing compassion involves actively listening to others without judgment and offering kindness and encouragement. We demonstrate our care and concern for the well-being of those who are struggling emotionally, physically, or spiritually by being present for them. Through small acts of kindness and gestures of support, we can make a significant difference in someone’s life and show them that they are not alone in their difficulties.


Let’s heed the lesson in Deuteronomy 28:56-57 and be a beacon of compassion in a world that sorely needs it. Our duty as followers of Christ is to be a source of comfort and support to those who are facing difficulties. Let’s not shy away from helping those in need, but rather, let’s step up and offer our assistance with open hearts. Will you join me in spreading love and kindness to those who are struggling today?