Deuteronomy 11:26

Hebrew Bible

24 Every place you set your foot will be yours; your border will extend from the desert to Lebanon and from the River (that is, the Euphrates) as far as the Mediterranean Sea. 25 Nobody will be able to resist you; the Lord your God will spread the fear and terror of you over the whole land on which you walk, just as he promised you. 26 Take note—I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing if you take to heart the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 28 and the curse if you pay no attention to his commandments and turn from the way I am setting before you today to pursue other gods you have not known.

Malachi 2:2

Hebrew Bible

1 “Now, you priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If you do not listen and take seriously the need to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will send judgment on you and turn your blessings into curses—indeed, I have already done so because you are not taking it to heart. 3 I am about to discipline your children and will spread offal on your faces, the very offal produced at your festivals, and you will be carried away along with it. 4 Then you will know that I sent this commandment to you so that my covenant may continue to be with Levi,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 Notes and References

"... The social control model presupposes that people follow social norms more readily if they fear curse as a means of punishment127. Some of the Old Testament texts contain curses with a function of a threat in order to prevent a behavior harmful for the whole community (a ‘decalogue’ of curses in Deuteronomy 27; Zechariah 5:3; Malachi 2:2). Such curse-threats could be pronounced not only by God, but by a person in authority as, for instance, in 1 Samuel 14:24. The basic threat includes misfortune, the devastating calamity, exclusion from the community and loss of every benefit obtained by a previous blessing (Hosea 8-10). The curse will befall the people in case of neglect of the Lord’s commandment (Deuteronomy 11:28; 29:20). Britt notices that the power of curse has social and cultural dimension, because ‘it consists in the harm or threat of harm they are believed to carry. For “religious” cursing as for “secular” hate speech, the mention or threat of powerful words is often as significant as their actual use; both depend on social and cultural norms’ ..."

Skulkina, Irina Blessing and Curse in the Old Testament: Socio-Cultural Aspects (pp. 41-42) Ukrainian Catholic University, 2013

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