4:44-28:68) which looks forward to how Israel should govern itself under the covenant once it enters the Promised Land. (CG) 62 You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky(CH) will be left but few(CI) in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. But he does not refer to the law itself as a curse. It was only because Ramban was reading the Deuteronomic law in conjunction with the laws of Leviticus that he had to discard a perfectly logical inference. Obedience to the LORD and his laws is the way to enjoy the blessing (i.e. Curses upon city and field: “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country” ( Deuteronomy 28:16 ). Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. In Deuteronomy chapters 12 through 26, Moses revealed to the Israelites a set of laws known to scholars today as the Deuteronomic code. Jeremiah 7:6 Dunn, James D. G. The Epistle to the Galatians. Douglas, F.F. As noted earlier in the incident of Baal worship at Peor, Yahweh ordered the chiefs of the people hung to turn away His anger at their covenant-breaking sins of idolatry and immorality. Guthrie, D. and J. They were not the rightful rulers of that land and because of their rebellion against Yahweh, they deserved the penalty of execution and hanging. 51 They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed. The main concern of the Deuteronomy 21:22-23 law is maintaining the purity of the land the Lord is giving to Israel. What does the curse of this obscure law buried in the book of Deuteronomy have to do with Jesus’ death on the cross? DEUTERONOMY 28:20-22, 27-29, 35, 58-61 (HCSB) 1. 67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. When evening arrives, his body is removed and buried under a pile of stones. Ridderbos, Jan. Deuteronomy. The Book of the Law, of course, belonged to the Jews. . Nelson Richard D. Deuteronomy: A Commentary. The emphasis is on the hanged person as one cursed by God. Examples of this kind of hanging unfortunately included members of the covenant community of Israel as well. Joshua, as representative of Yahweh and leader of covenant Israel, has divine authority to execute the pagan kings of Canaan. Look at Deuteronomy 28:61: “Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.” That covers everything. Duane Christiansen sees the issue as the dead body decomposing and causing ritual uncleanness as it comes into contact with the land. Our focus is on the curse of sickness.  But once it is acknowledged that Deuteronomy and the Priestly Torah are self-contained, they can each be understood on their own terms. At this point in redemption history, Yahweh has delivered Israel from its Egyptian oppression, ratified the covenant with them at Sinai, established worship and sacrifice, and led them to the edges of the Promised Land. Others consider the law completely inapplicable and effectively deny its use for 21st century life. This could either be as an Israelite covenant-breaker or, as we will see in Joshua’s case, foreign rulers considered cursed by Yahweh as enemies of Israel. 21:18-21, the passage preceding the one we will examine, addresses the issue of an unrepentant, rebellious child who must be put to death by stoning. Once that judgment period passed, Moses led them once again to the borders of the Promised Land. Keeping Gods law can only bring benefits. Von Rad, Gerhard.  Nelson, Deuteronomy: A Commentary, 261-62. The relationship between Deuteronomy 21:22-23, its outworking within ancient Israel, and the death of Jesus is one of comparison and contrast. 58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law,(CB) which are written in this book, and do not revere(CC) this glorious and awesome name(CD)—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. Avenging innocent blood was not enough to remove the famine since David failed to enforce the law of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 and allowed the corpses of Saul’s sons to hang longer than the time allotted under the law. The Jerome Biblical Commentary 1. 15 However, if you do not obey(A) the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today,(B) all these curses will come on you and overtake you:(C), 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. By understanding the original meaning of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 and observing its outworking in ancient Israel, Christians today can come to a deeper understanding of what Jesus accomplished at the cross and how he turns a curse upon himself into a blessing for others. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you(BM) from far away, from the ends of the earth,(BN) like an eagle(BO) swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,(BP) 50 a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old(BQ) or pity for the young. Harrison, R. K. & Lewis, T. “Curse,” Vol. Christensen, Duane L. Deuteronomy 21:10-34:12. New York: United Bible Societies, 2000. Under the Mosaic covenant, the shedding of innocent blood is one event that “pollutes” or “defiles” the land. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976. Why? For in her dire need she intends to eat them(CA) secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities. (BX) 56 The most gentle and sensitive(BY) woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter(BZ) 57 the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. Bruce, and J.I. 20 The Lord will send on you curses, The Law can point out where we fail and fall short of God’s will, but it cannot pronounce us righteous; that was not its purpose. According to Genesis 2 and 3, the curse is death. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. 2 (1989): 185-209. The Curse of the Law :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; Through the concept of covenant representation, the faithful Jesus trades places with unfaithful Israel in order to bear the curse for those he came to redeem from under the penalty of the law. Lectures on Deuteronomy. Atonement for the land is normally made via the execution of the murderer. This conquest will achieve not only the redemption of the elect among Israel, but also far beyond the borders of the Promised Land to the chosen Gentiles living throughout the world.  Similarly, allowing a corpse to hang overnight defiled the land and risked divine retribution. Finally, it is important to note how the blessing of Abraham flows to the Gentiles through Israel. God is the “Greatest Good.” There is nothing better for a person than God.  Such curse bearing effectively removes the wrath of Yahweh against those Jesus redeems. Jeffrey Wisdom interprets Paul's citation of Genesis and Deuteronomy in Gal 3.8-10. If Israel paid this price herself, no redemption would be possible as they would merely experience the judgment of their own wrongdoing. When they enter the Land the people are to live under the rule of God, obeying him and keeping his decrees and laws (Deuteronomy 4v1-2). Grand Rapids: Wm. A. While the entire list of verses will not be repeated here, the following concepts stand out as curses upon God’s people, Israel, for when they disobeyed His laws: 1. Harman, Allan M. Commentary on Deuteronomy. Deut 27:26 does not declare a curse on everyone who tries to obey the law, which appears to be the distinguishing feature of the group that Paul identifies, but rather on those who fail to obey the law. Deciding upon the correct meaning of the curse requires interpreters to look for clues in the rest of Scripture. . New International Version (NIV), Gain a concise, fundamental grasp of what the Bible is all about with our new, Dt 29:27; Jos 23:15; 2Ch 12:5; Da 9:11; Mal 2:2, ver 8, 15; Lev 26:16; Jer 42:18; Mal 2:2; 3:9; 4:6, Ps 39:11; 76:6; 80:16; Isa 17:13; 51:20; 54:9; 66:15; Eze 5:15, Lev 26:16; 2Ki 8:1; Job 12:15; Ps 105:16; Jer 14:1; Hag 1:11; Mal 3:9, Lev 26:19; Dt 11:17; 1Ki 8:35; 17:1; Isa 5:6; Jer 14:1; Hag 1:10, 2Ch 29:8; 30:7; Jer 15:4; 24:9; 26:6; 29:18; 44:12; Eze 23:46, Ps 79:2; Isa 18:6; Jer 7:33; 12:9; 15:2; 16:4; 19:7; 34:20, Ge 19:11; Ex 10:21; Job 5:14; 12:25; 24:13; 38:15; Isa 59:10, Jdg 3:9; 2Ki 13:5; Est 4:14; Isa 19:20; 43:11; Hos 13:4; Ob 1:21, S Dt 4:27; 2Ki 24:14; 25:7, 11; 2Ch 33:11; 36:21; Ezr 5:12; Jer 15:14; 16:13; 27:20; 39:1-9; 52:28; La 1:3, Ps 22:7; 39:8; 44:13; 64:8; Jer 18:16; 48:27; Mic 6:16, 1Ki 9:7; Ps 44:14; Jer 19:8; 24:9; 25:9, 18; 29:18; La 2:15, Lev 26:20; Ps 129:7; Isa 5:10; Jer 12:13; Hos 8:7; Mic 6:15; Hag 1:6, 9; 2:16, S Nu 16:38; Ps 71:7; Isa 8:18; 20:3; Eze 5:15; Zec 3:8, Isa 5:26-30, 26; 7:18-20; 39:3; Jer 4:16; 5:15; 6:22; 25:32; 31:8; Hab 1:6, 2Sa 1:23; Jer 4:13; 48:40; 49:22; La 4:19; Eze 17:3, Ps 96:4; Jer 5:22; Mal 1:14; 2:5; 3:5, 16; 4:2, Dt 29:21; 30:10; 31:26; Jos 1:8; 8:34; 23:6; 24:26; 2Ki 14:6; 22:8; 2Ch 17:9; 25:4; Ne 8:1, 18; Mal 4:4, Dt 30:9; Isa 62:5; 65:19; Jer 32:41; Zep 3:17, S Dt 4:27; Ezr 9:7; Isa 6:12; Jer 32:23; 43:11; 52:27, Ne 1:8; Ps 44:11; Jer 13:24; 18:17; 22:22, NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Red Letter Edition: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture, NIV, The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People, NIV, Quest Study Bible, Comfort Print: The Only Q and A Study Bible, NIV, Biblical Theology Study Bible, Comfort Print: Follow God’s Redemptive Plan as It Unfolds throughout Scripture, NIV, Story of Jesus: Experience the Life of Jesus as One Seamless Story. 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