Deuteronomy 28:26

Hebrew Bible

24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; it will come down on you from the sky until you are destroyed. 25 “The Lord will allow you to be struck down before your enemies; you will attack them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions and will become an object of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your carcasses will be food for every bird of the sky and wild animal of the earth, and there will be no one to chase them off. 27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, eczema, and scabies, all of which cannot be healed. 28 The Lord will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind.

Jeremiah 16:4

Hebrew Bible

2 “Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. 3 For I, the Lord, tell you what will happen to the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 4 They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals. 5 “Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them.

 Notes and References

"... we have a general picture of what is considered “an acceptable death.” In particular the importance of burial is widely attested. Herbert Brichto summarizes the evidence within ancient Israel ... One might add to this description the idea that proper burial confirms the positive reputation of the deceased. “Peaceful burial with one’s ancestors is itself seen as a reward for a good life. In contrast, sinners in the bible are repeatedly cursed with denial of burial. (Bloch-Smith cites Deuteronomy 28:25–26; I Kings 13:22, 14:10–11; Jeremiah 16:4) Explicit expressions of the dread and horror of being left unburied, coupled with an understanding of such a death as severe punishment, appear in many different texts. Deuteronomy 28:26 lists this concern in the midst of a long list of curses: “Your carcasses shall become food for all the birds of the sky and all the beasts of the earth, with none to frighten them off.” In a near echo of that sentiment, Jeremiah 7:33 announces: “The carcasses of this people shall be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth, with none to frighten them off.” Royalty does not avoid such a fate. In I Kings 14:11, whether they dwell in the town or in the countryside, the descendants of King Jeroboam are doomed to a horrible end. Those of Jeroboam “who die in the town shall be devoured by dogs; and anyone who dies in the open country shall be eaten by the birds of the air.” Isaiah 14:18–20 is another good example of such a punishment, this time meted out against the King of Babylon ..."

Leveen, Adriane Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers (pp. 159-160) Cambridge University Press, 2008

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.