Chapter 27 ends with 12 curses for those who don’t listen to God’s commands. Chapter 28 begins with 8 blessings that come to those who “hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (verse 2). The “balance” is 12 negatives to 8 positives (so far). The “balance” goes even further off kilter (according to what our limited understanding would have us believe), as Deut. 28:16-19 piles on 7 additional “curses.”
That’s 19-8 negatives, which, as I wrote in my Notes on Deut. 21-27, is more evidence that the Bible is a negative book.
The rest of chapter 28 is one of the most horrifying passages in all Scripture. God lays out 53 consecutive verses of curses, destruction, and punishments for the children of Israel if they do not heed the commandments of the LORD.
Students of history can see how many of these came true, as there are descriptions of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar that would occur about 1000 years after this was written. There are descriptions of the reign of Titus that happened almost 40 years after Christ’s death. There are VERY detailed descriptions of Hitler’s Holocaust which came almost 3500 years after the book of Deuteronomy was penned by Moses.
First of all, Israel would be “removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deut. 28:25) in each of these historical periods. Other nations would move into Israel, enjoy the fruits of the land, and the Israelites “shalt be only oppressed and crushed always” (verse 33) and “thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations” (verse 37).
We know from history that this has absolutely come true for hundreds of years. The Israelites were kicked out of their own land for almost 2,000 years, they have been “oppressed and crushed” the entire time. No one wants to be a “Jew” in modern society. Shakespeare’s Shylock is an infamous literary character whose very name has become a racial slur. One would not want to be “Jewed” out of their money. As predicted, the Israelites have become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword. They are a cautionary tale.
Deut. 28:49-50 is an extremely accurate prophecy of the German invasion and Holocaust. It begins with “a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand” (Hitler’s symbol was the German eagle, and they spoke a foreign language). Hitler led “A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young” (verse 50). The Holocaust slaughtered over 6,000,000 Jews, including the elderly and children.
By the end of all these persecutions, the Israelites “shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven” (verse 62). The Israelites have been scattered “from the one end of the earth even unto the other” (verse 64) and “among these nations shalt thou find no ease” (verse 65).
Verse 68 says “there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen and no man shall buy you.” In 1945, Adolf Eichmann and Joel Brand offered to sell 1,000,000 Jews for trucks in an effort they titled “blood for goods”, but no one took them up on the offer.
The warning to Israel in verse 63 is chilling. God says “And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
God’s love is so absolute that he totally enjoys dishing out blessings. His wrath is so absolute, that he will enjoy bringing those who disobey him to nothing. All this destruction has been poured out “Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things” (verse 47).
This is not just a warning to Israel, but to all nations.