1aThese are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites while they were in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Mount Sinai.b
2 cMoses summoned all the Israelites and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to his whole country—3 all the great tests of strength, the miraculous signs, and the amazing wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you minds that understand, nor eyes that see, nor ears that hear! 5 For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out. 6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other alcoholic drink, but he provided for you so you would know that he is the Lord your God.
7 “When we came here, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. 8 We took their land and gave it to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to the half-tribe of Manasseh as their grant of land.
9 “Therefore, obey the terms of this covenant so that you will prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you—tribal leaders, elders, officers, all the men of Israel—are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God. 11 Your little ones and your wives are with you, as well as the foreigners living among you who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here today to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant, including the curses. 13 By entering into the covenant today, he will establish you as his people and confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
14 “But you are not the only ones with whom I am making this covenant with its curses. 15 I am making this covenant both with you who stand here today in the presence of the Lord our God, and also with the future generations who are not standing here today.
16 “You remember how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we traveled through the lands of enemy nations as we left. 17 You have seen their detestable practices and their idolsd made of wood, stone, silver, and gold. 18 I am making this covenant with you so that no one among you—no man, woman, clan, or tribe—will turn away from the Lord our God to worship these gods of other nations, and so that no root among you bears bitter and poisonous fruit.
19 “Those who hear the warnings of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin! 20 The Lord will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the Lord will erase their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will separate them from all the tribes of Israel, to pour out on them all the curses of the covenant recorded in this Book of Instruction.
22 “Then the generations to come, both your own descendants and the foreigners who come from distant lands, will see the devastation of the land and the diseases the Lord inflicts on it. 23 They will exclaim, ‘The whole land is devastated by sulfur and salt. It is a wasteland with nothing planted and nothing growing, not even a blade of grass. It is like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger.’
24 “And all the surrounding nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why was he so angry?’
25 “And the answer will be, ‘This happened because the people of the land abandoned the covenant that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26 Instead, they turned away to serve and worship gods they had not known before, gods that were not from the Lord. 27 That is why the Lord’s anger has burned against this land, bringing down on it every curse recorded in this book. 28 In great anger and fury the Lord uprooted his people from their land and banished them to another land, where they still live today!’
29 “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.
a. 29:1a Verse 29:1 is numbered 28:69 in Hebrew text.
b. 29:1b Hebrew Horeb, another name for Sinai.
c. 29:2 Verses 29:2-29 are numbered 29:1-28 in Hebrew text.
d. 29:17 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.