Deuteronomy 28:15
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
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Deuteronomy 28:15-48. THE CURSE OF DISOBEDIENCE.

(15) But it shall come to pass.—The following verses to the end of 48 are the contrast to the first fourteen, which declare the blessings of obedience.

Deuteronomy 28:15. These curses shall overtake thee — So that thou shalt not be able to escape them, as thou shalt vainly hope and endeavour to do. There is no running from God, but by running to him; no fleeing from his justice, but by fleeing to his mercy.

28:15-44 If we do not keep God's commandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness. Observe the justice of this curse. It is not a curse causeless, or for some light cause. The extent and power of this curse. Wherever the sinner goes, the curse of God follows; wherever he is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a curse. All his enjoyments are made bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews, for their apostacy and disobedience. We may observe the fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To complete their misery, it is threatened that by these troubles they should be bereaved of all comfort and hope, and left to utter despair. Those who walk by sight, and not by faith, are in danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them looks frightful.The curses correspond in form and number Deuteronomy 28:15-19 to the blessings Deuteronomy 28:3-6, and the special modes in which these threats should be executed are described in five groups of denunciations Deuteronomy 28:20-68.15-20. But … if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord—Curses that were to follow them in the event of disobedience are now enumerated, and they are almost exact counterparts of the blessings which were described in the preceding context as the reward of a faithful adherence to the covenant. So as thou shalt not be able to escape them, as thou shalt vainly hope and endeavour to do.

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God,.... As directed, exhorted, and encouraged to, Deuteronomy 28:1, &c.

to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day; both moral and ceremonial:

that all these curses shall come upon thee; from the hand of God, certainly, suddenly, and unawares:

and overtake thee; pursuing after thee, will come up to thee, and seize upon thee, though they may seem to move slowly; see Zechariah 5:3; namely, the curses which follow. Manasseh Ben Israel (f) divides them into two parts, the first from hence to Deuteronomy 28:45; which respects the destruction of the first temple, and the things that went before or related to that; and the second from thence to the end of the chapter, which he thinks refers to the destruction of the second temple, and their present case and circumstances; and it must be owned that for the most part the distinction may seem to hold good; what is prophesied of that should befall the Jews for their disobedience being more remarkably and distinctly fulfilled in the one than in the other; yet there are things in the whole which respect both, or that were fulfilled, some under one dispensation, and some under another, and some that were fulfilled in both; but chiefly and more manifestly at and since their dispersion by the Romans.

(f) De Termino Vitae, l. 3. sect. 3. p. 126.

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
15–20. For the terminology see notes on Deuteronomy 28:1-7.

20a forms with 25 a clear antithesis to Deuteronomy 28:7, but is more elaborate than the latter. For cursing cp. Malachi 2:2; Malachi 3:9; for discomfiture see on Deuteronomy 7:23; rebuke is found only here. On for to do (lit. which thou shalt do) see Deuteronomy 14:29; until thou be destroyed, cp. Deuteronomy 28:24; Deuteronomy 28:45; Deuteronomy 28:51; Deuteronomy 28:61, Deuteronomy 7:23.

20b (from and until thou perish) is taken by some as an expansion. On perish quickly see Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 11:17; for evil of thy doings cp. Hosea 9:15, Isaiah 1:16, Jeremiah 4:4 + Jeremiah 4:17 times. Forsaken me, yet Moses is the speaker, cp. Deuteronomy 7:4.

15–46. The Curses

The opening Deuteronomy 28:15-20, correspond to the blessings in Deuteronomy 28:1-7, except that there are no antitheses to Deuteronomy 28:1 b and Deuteronomy 28:2 b, and that the curse on basket and kneading-bowl precedes that on fruit of thy body, etc. Then the Discourse leaves the limits it had observed in the remainder of the blessings, Deuteronomy 28:8-14, and while here and there it gives the exact contrast of these blessings (cp. Deuteronomy 28:23 f. with Deuteronomy 28:12 a, Deuteronomy 28:25 with Deuteronomy 28:7 b, Deuteronomy 28:37 and Deuteronomy 28:46 with Deuteronomy 28:10, Deuteronomy 28:43 f. with Deuteronomy 28:12 b, Deuteronomy 28:13 a), the rest is a detailed antithesis to the summary blessing in 11; and diseases, calamities to man and beast, failures of seed and harvest, losses of children and property, and even exile, are set forth in detail.

The opinion that Deuteronomy 28:26-37 and Deuteronomy 28:41 are later additions is plausible, not because they contain predictions of exile but because they elaborate the rest; and this rest, Deuteronomy 28:21-25 (or 26), Deuteronomy 28:38-40 and Deuteronomy 28:42-46, more nearly corresponds to Deuteronomy 28:8-14. In view of the repeating style of D it is impossible to say whether some even of those vv. are original or expansions; there are no sufficient grounds for the detailed analysis by Steuernagel.

Verses 15-68. - The curse. In case of disobedience and apostasy, not only would the blessing be withheld, but a curse would descend, blighting, destructive, and ruinous. As the blessing was set forth in six announcements (vers. 3-6), the curse is proclaimed in form and number corresponding (vers. 16-19). The curse thus appears as the exact counterpart of the blessing. The different forms in which the threatened curse should break forth are then detailed in five groups. Deuteronomy 28:15The Curse, in case Israel should not hearken to the voice of its God, to keep His commandments. After the announcement that all these (the following) curses would come upon the disobedient nation (Deuteronomy 28:15), the curse is proclaimed in all its extent, as covering all the relations of life, in a sixfold repetition of the word "cursed" (Deuteronomy 28:16-19, as above in Deuteronomy 28:3-6); and the fulfilment of this threat in plagues and diseases, drought and famine, war, devastation of the land, and captivity of the people, is so depicted, that the infliction of these punishments stands out to view in ever increasing extent and fearfulness. We are not to record this, however, as a gradual heightening of the judgments of God, in proportion to the increasing rebellion of Israel, as in Leviticus 26:14., although it is obvious that the punishments threatened did not fall upon the nation all at once.
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