The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
And now, if thou wilt listen to the Lord thy God, carrying out faithfully all those commandments of his which I enjoin upon thee, the Lord thy God will make thee greater than any other nation on earth;
and all these blessings which follow shall come to meet thee, if only thou wilt obey his will.
Blessed shalt thou be in town and country,
blessed with fertility of womb and of soil, with increase of thy stock in byre and sheep-fold,
with rich store in barn and granary,
blessed in thy journey and blessed in thy coming home.
When thy enemies raise war against thee, the Lord will make them cower before thy onslaught; the host that came out against thee in one company shall flee away in seven.
Upon all thy store-houses, upon every enterprise of thine, the Lord will send down his blessing; a land of blessing shall be thine.
If only thou wilt be true to the commandments of the Lord thy God, and follow the paths he has chosen, he will fulfil his promise, and make thee a people set apart for himself;
so that all the nations of the world will go in fear of thee, the people that is named by such a name as his.
The Lord will make thee rich in all good things; fruitful thy own race, fruitful thy cattle, fruitful this land, his promised gift to thy fathers.
The Lord will open to thee the rich stores of heaven, and grant thy land rain when the season comes for it; he will prosper all thy enterprises, making thee the creditor of many nations, the debtor of none;
for thee to lead, for others to follow; for thee the heights, for them the lower place. All this, if thou wilt obey the commandments of the Lord that I enjoin on thee this day, holding fast to them and living by them,
not swerving to right or left, not following the worship of other gods than thine.
But if thou dost refuse to listen to him, and carry out faithfully all the commandments and observances I now enjoin on thee, all these curses that follow shall come to meet thee instead.
Cursed shalt thou be in town and country,
cursed with empty barn and bare granary,
with barrenness of womb and of soil, with leanness of thy stock in byre and sheep-fold,
cursed in thy journey and cursed in thy coming home.
Want and distress the Lord will send thee, and failure in all thy enterprises, to crush thee down and make a quick end of thee, still faithless, still following thy own devices.
The Lord will infect thee with plague, till the land thou hast won knows thee no more;
the Lord will smite thee with wasting, and fever, and ague, with burning heat, with blight and mildew, hunting thee to the death.
Heaven above thee shall be bronze, and earth iron under thy feet;
dust will be all the rain he gives thee, and ashes shall fall from the skies to overwhelm thee.
The Lord will make thee cower before the onslaught of thy enemies; the host that went out against them in one company shall flee away in seven, till thy race is scattered over all the kingdoms of the world,
and the carcase that is left of thee will be left for every bird in heaven and every beast on earth to prey upon, with none to drive them away.
The Lord will smite thee with the Egyptian scab, and swelling in the groin, and the itch; there shall be no curing thee.
The Lord will drive thee distracted, all benighted and crazed in thy wits,
till thou wilt grope thy way at noon like a blind man in the dark, and lose thyself; never a day when thou art not wronged and oppressed, and there shall be none to deliver thee.
Wed a wife, and another shall bed her, build a house, and thou shalt not dwell in it, plant a vineyard, and the vintage shall not be thine.
Thou wilt see thy own ox slain, and never a morsel for thee, thy ass carried off, and never restored, thy sheep given to thy enemies, and no help for it.
Nay, thy sons and daughters will be enslaved to alien masters, and thy own eyes shall see it, and ache continually at the sight; no power left thee to resist it.
Thy crops, too, the fruit of thy own toil, will be carried off by a people till now unknown to thee; always thou wilt be suffering some wrong, always oppressed,
till thou art numb with terror at the sights thy own eyes have witnessed.
The Lord will smite knee and calf of thine with the foul scab, till it covers thee from head to foot, past all remedy.✻
Exile awaits thee, awaits the king thou hast chosen to rule over thee; the Lord will carry thee away into a land thou and thy fathers never heard of, where thou must needs worship alien gods, of wood and stone;
and to all the nations among whom the Lord bids thee dwell, thy name shall be a proverb and a by-word.
Much sown and little reaped, where the locust has eaten;
vines planted and dressed, and no vintage gathered, no wine drunk, because the weevil has ravaged them;
olives everywhere, and no oil to anoint thee, because they drooped and withered away;
sons and daughters born, and no comfort to thee, all carried away into exile.
No tree of thine, no crop of thine, but the mildew shall spoil it.
The aliens that dwell in thy land will outpass and over-shadow thee, humbled now and no match for them;
they shall be the creditors now, and thou the debtor; it is for them to lead, for thee to follow.
And other curses shall befall thee, hunting thee down until they overtake thee, for thy utter ruin; and all because thou wouldst not listen to the Lord thy God, and hold fast to the commandments and observances he enjoined upon thee.
It shall be a warning and a prodigy, the fate that shall come upon thee, and upon thy race in perpetuity.
Because thou wouldst not obey the Lord thy God in happiness and content, when thou hadst enough and to spare,
thou must learn, now, to obey those enemies the Lord will send out to conquer thee; obey them in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and every kind of want; a yoke of iron shall be fastened on thy neck, and shall crush thee down.
From far away, from the very ends of the earth, the Lord will send a nation to sweep down on thee like a bird of prey; a nation whose very speech is unknown to thee;
hard-hearted, with no respect for age, no pity for helpless children.
All that thy herds, all that thy lands yield, they will take for food, careless of thy ruin; neither wheat nor wine nor soil nor herd nor flock shall be left to thee; all will be laid waste.
In thy cities, too, they will press hard on thee, battering down everywhere those high walls, those strong walls; all over this land, which the Lord thy God is now giving thee, there shall be siege at thy gates.
Thou wilt be fain to eat thy own offspring, the flesh of thy own sons and daughters, the Lord’s gift to thee; so bitter the stress and the want these enemies of thine shall bring upon thee.
The man that lived softly hitherto, in all comfort, will grudge food to his own brother, to the wife that lay in his bosom,
and that food the flesh of his own sons; nothing else is left him, so hard the siege is pressed against all thy cities.
The woman, so tender, so dainty, that would not put her foot to the ground, would not walk a single step, too delicately nurtured for that, will grudge the flesh of her own sons and daughters to the husband that lay in her bosom.
She will eat what comes out from her own body, eat her own son that is newly born, there in secret; what else has she, hard pressed by the siege that is brought against these cities of thine?
If thou dost not carry out faithfully every word of the law this book contains, going in fear of the great name, the terrible name, the Lord thy God,
then the Lord will send worse plagues still on thee and on thy posterity, heavy plagues and of long continuance, grievous and lasting visitations.
The fierce afflictions of Egypt (thou hast dreaded them ere now) shall be thine instead.
And all the sicknesses and plagues of which this book makes no mention the Lord will bring thee, till he has crushed thee down;
only a few will be left out of a number that was countless once as the stars in heaven, because thou wouldst not listen to the Lord thy God.
Hitherto the Lord had taken delight in blessing thy race and increasing it; now he will take delight in destroying and overwhelming it, dispossessing it of the land he has given thee for thy home.
This way and that, among all the nations from earth’s end to earth’s end, the Lord will scatter it; and in exile thou wilt worship such alien gods as thou and thy fathers never heard of, gods of wood and stone.
And even there thou wilt find no rest, no sure ground under thy feet. Nought will the Lord leave thee but cowed spirits, and eyes that fail, and a heart eaten up with sorrow.
Thou wilt see thy life hanging on a thread; day and night thou wilt go in fear, not counting life itself thy own.
In the morning thou wilt say? Will it never be evening? and in the evening, Will it never be morning? such will be the terrors that daunt thee, so cruel the sights that meet thy eyes.
The Lord will carry thee back over the sea to Egypt, the Lord who once told thee thou shouldst never see that road again. There the men and women of your race shall be slaves, on sale to their enemies, and find no master to buy them.
The Holy Bible