The verses continue in this manner through v. 28:44. In addition, there is a blank line before v. 28:30 and another after v. 28:44, separating these verses from the rest of the text in that pane. When I encountered this unusual phenomenon, I got the distinct impression that Moses (and/or the scribe) was really trying to impress this message into the hearts of all of us.
By the way, the fifth word in this verse is normally considered to be an error. The word is translated as will enjoy her. The allegedly correct word substituted for it in many bibles is not just a corrected spelling, but a different word that translates to will lie down with her. I like the original word as recorded, because its literal translation is will ravish her. And I believe that is what is meant here. The words say someone else will ravish your new wife, dwell in your new house, and eat your fresh new fruit.
שׁוֹרְךָ טָבוּחַ לְעֵינֶיךָ וְלֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ חֲמֹרְךָ גָּזוּל מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְלֹא יָשׁוּב לָךְ צֹאנְךָ נְתֻנוֹת לְאֹיְבֶיךָ וְאֵין לְךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ׃ 28:31
Deut. 28:31 “Your ox will be slaughtered in your sight and you shall not eat any of it, your ass will be stolen from before you and not be returned to you, your sheep will be given to your enemies -- and there be no deliverer for you.”
Much of this occurred at various times of persecution throughout the dark ages, and in some places for longer.
בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ נְתֻנִים לְעַם אַחֵר וְעֵינֶיךָ רֹאוֹת וְכָלוֹת אֲלֵיהֶם כָּל־הַיּוֹם וְאֵין לְאֵל יָדֶךָ׃ 28:32
Deut. 28:32 “Your sons and your daughters will be given to another people, and your eyes will be looking yet be closed to them all day, and there will be no power of your hand.
Sounds like assimilation in modern-day America!
פְּרִי אַדְמָתְךָ וְכָל־יְגִיעֲךָ יֹאכַל עַם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדָעְתָּ וְהָיִיתָ רַק עָשׁוּק וְרָצוּץ כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃ 28:33
Deut. 28:33 “A people whom you have not known will eat up the fruit of your land and all your labor, and you will come into only oppression and bruising all the time,
See next verse.
וְהָיִיתָ מְשֻׁגָּע מִמַּרְאֵה עֵינֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה׃ 28:34
Deut. 28:34 so you will become mad because of the sight of your eyes that you will see.”
Do these two verses remind anyone of pogroms and the holocaust?
יַכְּכָה יְהוָה בִּשְׁחִין רָע עַל־הַבִּרְכַּיִם וְעַל־הַשֹּׁקַיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תוּכַל לְהֵרָפֵא מִכַּף רַגְלְךָ וְעַד קָדְקֳדֶךָ׃ 28:35
Deut. 28:35 “The Lord will strike with sore inflammation on the knees and on the hips, of which you will not be able to be healed, from the sole of your foot and up to the top of your head.”
Sounds a bit like me again! And many other Jews (and non-Jews!) I know.
יוֹלֵךְ יְהוָה אֹתְךָ וְאֶת־מַלְכְּךָ אֲשֶׁר תָּקִים עָלֶיךָ אֶל־גּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ וְעָבַדְתָּ שָּׁם אֱלֹהִיםאֲחֵרִים עֵץ וָאָבֶן׃ 28:36
Deut. 28:36 “The Lord will lead you and your king -- whom you will establish over you -- away to a nation that you have not known, you or your fathers, and you shall serve other gods of wood and stone there.”
The Babylonian exile and, minus the king, the Diaspora in the dark ages and part of the middle ages.
וְהָיִיתָ לְשַׁמָּה לְמָשָׁל וְלִשְׁנִינָה בְּכֹל הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר־יְנַהֶגְךָ יְהוָה שָׁמָּה׃ 28:37
Deut. 28:37 “And you will be for a devastation, for a conversation topic, and for a byword with all the peoples to which the Lord shall lead you.”
Isn’t this one true! All the nations talk about us.
זֶרַע רַב תּוֹצִיא הַשָּׂדֶה וּמְעַט תֶּאֱסֹף כִּי יַחְסְלֶנּוּ הָאַרְבֶּה׃ 28:38
Deut. 28:38 “You will carry much seed out to the field but you will gather little, for the grasshopper will consume it.”
I’m not sure that this one has been or will ever be fulfilled. Maybe we haven’t seen it yet. Possibly this may refer to the time preceding the destruction of the first Temple or maybe some forgotten drought or famine.
כְּרָמִים תִּטַּע וְעָבָדְתָּ וְיַיִן לֹא־תִשְׁתֶּה וְלֹא תֶאֱגֹר כִּי תֹאכְלֶנּוּ הַתֹּלָעַת׃ 28:39
Deut. 28:39 “You will plant and work vineyards, but you will not drink of the wine and you will not harvest, for you will feed it to the worms.”
This may have happened before, during, and after the middle ages.
זֵיתִים יִהְיוּ לְךָ בְּכָל־גְּבוּלֶךָ וְשֶׁמֶן לֹא תָסוּךְ כִּי יִשַּׁל זֵיתֶךָ׃ 28:40
Deut. 28:40 “Olive trees will be yours in all your territory, but you will not anoint the oil, for your olives will drop off.”
See next verse.
בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת תּוֹלִיד וְלֹא־יִהְיוּ לָךְ כִּי יֵלְכוּ בַּשֶּׁבִי׃ 28:41
Deut. 28:41 “You will bear sons and daughters, but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity.”
These two verses certainly sound like the Babylonian captivity.
כָּל־עֵצְךָ וּפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ יְיָרֵשׁ הַצְּלָצַל׃ 28:42
Deut. 28:42 “The locust shall possess every tree of yours and the fruit of your land.”
This was the land of Israel for much of the Christian era.
הַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבְּךָ יַעֲלֶה עָלֶיךָ מַעְלָה מָּעְלָה וְאַתָּה תֵרֵד מַטָּה מָּטָּה׃ 28:43
Deut. 28:43 “The stranger who will be in your midst will rise above you higher and higher, and you will descend lower and lower.”
This verse sounds like Germany during the rise of Hitler.
הוּא יַלְוְךָ וְאַתָּה לֹא תַלְוֶנּוּ הוּא יִהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תִּהְיֶה לְזָנָב׃ 28:44
Deut. 28:44 “He will lend to you and you will not lend to him; he will be for a head and you will be for a tail.”
The first part of this one may not yet have been fulfilled. However, it could refer to both Germany and the United States or either of them.
וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וּרְדָפוּךָ וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ כִּי־לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר מִצְוֺתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ׃ 28:45
Deut. 28:45 “And these curses will come upon you all, and pursue you, and overtake you until your destruction because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord, your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes that He commanded you.”
וְהָיוּ בְךָ לְאוֹת וּלְמוֹפֵת וּבְזַרְעֲךָ עַד־עוֹלָם׃ 28:46
Deut. 28:46 “And they will be with you and with your seed for a sign and for a wonder for ever,
תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָבַדְתָּ אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב מֵרֹב כֹּל׃ 28:47
Deut. 28:47 whereas you did not serve the Lord, your God, joyously and generously from the abundance of everything.”
The word translated as “whereas” normally means “instead of” or “in place of.” Moses’ use of this term suggests the choice that we have always had – and still continually have -- before us, to serve the Lord or not. Notice also how Moses describes how we should be offering our service. With joy and generosity! How many of us understand that? I think that’s part of what it means to love the Lord with all our heart and all our soul and all our might.
וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת־אֹיְבֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ יְהוָה בָּךְ בְּרָעָב וּבְצָמָא וּבְעֵירֹם וּבְחֹסֶר כֹּל וְנָתַן עֹל בַּרְזֶל עַל־צַוָּארֶךָ עַד הִשְׁמִידוֹ אֹתָךְ׃ 28:48
Deut. 28:48 “And you will serve your enemy whom the Lord will send on you in hunger and in thirst and in nakedness and in want of everything; and he will put a yoke of iron upon your neck until he has made you perish.”
I’m not sure that the Lord sends any enemy on us; nevertheless, this sounds a lot like the Babylonian exile.
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה עָלֶיךָ גּוֹי מֵרָחוֹק מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ כַּאֲשֶׁר יִדְאֶה הַנָּשֶׁר גּוֹי אֲשֶׁר לֹא־תִשְׁמַע לְשֹׁנוֹ׃ 28:49
Deut. 28:49 “The Lord will bring up a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as fast as the eagle can fly, a nation whose language you will not understand,
גּוֹי עַז פָּנִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִשָּׂא פָנִים לְזָקֵן וְנַעַר לֹא יָחֹן׃ 28:50
Deut. 28:50 a nation of a fierce countenance that will not have regard for age or show youth favor.”
וְאָכַל פְּרִי בְהֶמְתְּךָ וּפְרִי־אַדְמָתְךָ עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יַשְׁאִיר לְךָ דָּגָן תִּירוֹשׁ וְיִצְהָר שְׁגַר אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ עַד הַאֲבִידוֹ אֹתָךְ׃ 28:51
Deut. 28:51 “And he will eat the fruit of your cattle and the fruit of your land until your destruction, who will not leave corn, wine, or oil, the increase of your kine, or the young of your sheep for you, until his causing you to perish.”
וְהֵצַר לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ עַד רֶדֶת חֹמֹתֶיךָ הַגְּבֹהוֹת וְהַבְּצֻרוֹת אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֵן בְּכָל־אַרְצֶךָ וְהֵצַר לְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ בְּכָל־אַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָךְ׃ 28:52
Deut. 28:52 “And he will lay siege to you in all your cities until your protective high and fortified walls on which you trusted come down in all your land, and he shall lay siege to you in all your cities in all your land that the Lord, your God, had given to you.”
This verse and the next five sound like the Roman siege of Jerusalem in the time of the second Temple.
וְאָכַלְתָּ פְרִי־בִטְנְךָ בְּשַׂר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּמָצוֹר וּבְמָצוֹק אֲשֶׁר־יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיְבֶךָ׃ 28:53
Deut. 28:53 “And you will eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the Lord, your God, had given to you, in the siege and in the anguish with which your enemy will constrain you.”
הָאִישׁ הָרַךְ בְּךָ וְהֶעָנֹג מְאֹד תֵּרַע עֵינוֹ בְאָחִיו וּבְאֵשֶׁת חֵיקוֹ וּבְיֶתֶר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יוֹתִיר׃ 28:54
Deut. 28:54 “The tenderhearted man among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be too displeased with his brother and with the wife of his bosom and with the remnant of his children who will be left,
מִתֵּת לְאַחַד מֵהֶם מִבְּשַׂר בָּנָיו אֲשֶׁר יֹאכֵל מִבְּלִי הִשְׁאִיר־לוֹ כֹּל בְּמָצוֹר וּבְמָצוֹק אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶיךָ׃ 28:55
Deut. 28:55 to give to any of them some of the flesh of his children that he will eat without leaving for himself anything in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy will constrain you in all your cities.”
הָרַכָּה בְךָ וְהָעֲנֻגָּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־נִסְּתָה כַף־רַגְלָהּ הַצֵּג עַל־הָאָרֶץ מֵהִתְעַנֵּג וּמֵרֹךְ תֵּרַע עֵינָהּ בְּאִישׁ חֵיקָהּ וּבִבְנָהּ וּבְבִתָּהּ׃ 28:56
Deut. 28:56 “The tenderhearted woman among you, and delicate, who would not dare to set the sole of her foot on the ground out of delicateness and tenderness, her eye will be so displeased with the husband of her bosom and with her son and with her daughter,
וּבְשִׁלְיָתָהּ הַיּוֹצֵת מִבֵּין רַגְלֶיהָ וּבְבָנֶיהָ אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד כִּי־תֹאכְלֵם בְּחֹסֶר־כֹּל בַּסָּתֶר בְּמָצוֹר וּבְמָצוֹק אֲשֶׁר יָצִיק לְךָ אֹיִבְךָ בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ׃ 28:57
Deut. 28:57 and with her baby coming out from between her legs, and with her children that she will bear, that she will eat them in secret in want of anything in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy will constrain you in your cities.”
אִם־לֹא תִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת הַכְּתוּבִים בַּסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה לְיִרְאָה אֶת־הַשֵּׁם הַנִּכְבָּד וְהַנּוֹרָא הַזֶּה אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ 28:58
Deut. 28:58 “If you will not take heed to do all the words of this Torah written in this scroll, to revere this glorious and awesome Name, the Lord, your God,
We know at this point that Moses had already been recording the commandments of the Lord. They would then be copied onto the stones of the altar on the other side of the Jordan. From this fact we can perhaps conclude that a later scribe added the verses that seemingly couldn’t have been written in Moses’ time, the verses that I’ve previously pointed out.
Please take notice: Moses speaks only of a written Torah, and is silent about an oral Torah!
וְהִפְלָא יְהוָה אֶת־מַכֹּתְךָ וְאֵת מַכּוֹת זַרְעֶךָ מַכּוֹת גְּדֹלוֹת וְנֶאֱמָנוֹת וָחֳלָיִם רָעִים וְנֶאֱמָנִים׃ 28:59
Deut. 28:59 the Lord will make wondrous your plagues and the plagues of your seed, great and long-lasting plagues, and sore and long-lasting sicknesses.”
וְהֵשִׁיב בְּךָ אֵת כָּל־מַדְוֵה מִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר יָגֹרְתָּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם וְדָבְקוּ בָּךְ׃ 28:60
Deut. 28:60 “And He will bring back all the diseases of Egypt upon you, whose appearances you feared, and they will cleave to you.”
גַּם כָּל־חֳלִי וְכָל־מַכָּה אֲשֶׁר לֹא כָתוּב בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת יַעְלֵם יְהוָה עָלֶיךָ עַד הִשָּׁמְדָךְ׃ 28:61
Deut. 28:61 “Also every disease and every plague that is not written in the scroll of this law, the Lord will raise them up upon you until your destruction.”
וְנִשְׁאַרְתֶּם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר הֱיִיתֶם כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב כִּי־לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃ 28:62
Deut. 28:62 “And you will be left in small numbers instead of when you had been like the stars of the sky for multitude, because you did not listen to the voice of the Lord, your God.”
וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר־שָׂשׂ יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם לְהֵיטִיב אֶתְכֶם וּלְהַרְבּוֹת אֶתְכֶם כֵּן יָשִׂישׂ יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם לְהַאֲבִיד אֶתְכֶם וּלְהַשְׁמִיד אֶתְכֶם וְנִסַּחְתֶּם מֵעַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה בָא־שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ׃ 28:63
Deut. 28:63 “And it will be, as the Lord rejoiced over you, doing you good and multiplying you, so will the Lord rejoice over you, making you perish and destroying you, and you will be torn away from the land where you went to possess it.”
All the pronouns you in this verse -- except the last two -- are plural.
וֶהֱפִיצְךָ יְהוָה בְּכָל־הָעַמִּים מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְעַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְעָבַדְתָּ שָּׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ עֵץ וָאָבֶן׃ 28:64
Deut. 28:64 “And the Lord will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth and as far as the other end of the earth, and you will serve there other gods of wood and stone that you have not known, you or your fathers.” 28:60
וּבַגּוֹיִם הָהֵם לֹא תַרְגִּיעַ וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה מָנוֹחַ לְכַף־רַגְלֶךָ וְנָתַן יְהוָה לְךָ שָׁם לֵב רַגָּז וְכִלְיוֹן עֵינַיִם וְדַאֲבוֹן נָפֶשׁ׃ 28:65
Deut. 28:65 “And in those nations you will not rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot, and the Lord will give you a trembling heart and failing eyes and sorrow of the soul there.”
וְהָיוּ חַיֶּיךָ תְּלֻאִים לְךָ מִנֶּגֶד וּפָחַדְתָּ לַיְלָה וְיוֹמָם וְלֹא תַאֲמִין בְּחַיֶּיךָ׃ 28:66
Deut. 28:66 “And your life will be suspenseful for you from afar. And you will be in fear by night and by day, so you will have no assurance for your life.”
בַּבֹּקֶר תֹּאמַר מִי־יִתֵּן עֶרֶב וּבָעֶרֶב תֹּאמַר מִי־יִתֵּן בֹּקֶר מִפַּחַד לְבָבְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּפְחָד וּמִמַּרְאֵה עֵינֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה׃ 28:67
Deut. 28:67 “In the morning you will say, ‘If only it would be evening,’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it would be morning,’ because of the fear of your heart that you will feel and because of the sight of your eyes that you shall see.”
וֶהֱשִׁיבְךָ יְהוָה מִצְרַיִם בָּאֳנִיּוֹת בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי לְךָ לֹא־תֹסִיף עוֹד לִרְאֹתָהּ וְהִתְמַכַּרְתֶּם שָׁם לְאֹיְבֶיךָ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת וְאֵין קֹנֶה׃ 28:68
Deut. 28:68 “And the Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships because of the way I said to you, ‘You shall no more come again to see it,’ and you will try to sell yourselves there for bondmen and for bondwomen, but there will be no buyer.”
אֵלֶּה דִבְרֵי הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה לִכְרֹת אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב מִלְּבַד הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַת אִתָּם בְּחֹרֵב׃ 28:69
Deut. 28:69 These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that He made with them in Horeb.
This verse is another interjection by a scribe. It is also another interruption of Moses’ speech from one chapter to the next, although the scribe’s interjection continues into Deut. 29:1.
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