The curses against David (Ps 109:8-109:15)

“May his days be few!

May another seize his position!

May his children be orphans!

May his wife be a widow!

May his children wander about!

May his children beg!

May they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit!

May the creditor seize all that he has!

May strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!

May there be no one to do him a kindness!

May there be no one to pity his orphaned children!

May his posterity be cut off!

May his name be blotted out in the second generation!

May the iniquity of his father be remembered before Yahweh!

May the sin of his mother not be blotted out!

May they be before Yahweh continually!

May his memory be cut off from the earth!”

The enemies of David issued a whole series of curses against him. They wanted his days to be few with an early death, so that his children would be orphans and his wife a widow. They wanted someone to take over his position or the crown. They wanted his children to wander about begging. They wanted them driven out of their ruined home. Creditors should seize all his things. Strangers should plunder his fields. No one should show him kindness. No one should worry about his orphaned children. His name should be wiped out in the 2nd generation. People should remember the iniquity and sin of his father and mother. There was to be no memory of him on earth. All of this should be brought to Yahweh so that he might punish David. Obviously, these curses did not come true for David.

The curse for David’s enemies (Ps 69:22-69:29)

“Let their own table be a trap for them!

Let their own table be a snare for their allies!

Let their eyes be darkened,

So that they cannot see!

Make their loins tremble continually!

Pour out your indignation upon them!

Let our burning anger overtake them!

May their camp be desolation!

Let no one live in their tents!

They persecute those

Whom you have struck down.

They persecute those

Whom you have wounded.

They attack still more.

Add guilt to their guilt!

May they have no acquittal from you!

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living!

Let them not be enrolled among the righteous!

But I am lowly.

I am in pain.

Let your salvation!

O God!

Protect me high!”

These are a series of curses or wishes against the enemies of David. His enemies’ tables should be a trap or snare to them and their friends. He wanted them to lose their sight and to tremble all the time. God’s indignation and anger should be upon them. Their camp should be desolate so that they could not live in their tents. They had persecuted and attacked those who had been wounded. Their guilt pilled on guilt. They should not be acquitted. They should be blotted out of the book of the living. They should not be listed among the righteous. They should die. Then there is the cry of David to protect him and bring him salvation.

Torture the wicked (Ps 59:11-59:13)

“Do not kill them!

My people may forget.

Make them totter

By your power!

Bring them down!

Yahweh!

Our shield!

For the sin of their mouths,

For the words of their lips,

Let them be trapped in their pride!

For the cursing that they utter,

For the lies that they utter,

Consume them in wrath!

Consume them

Until they are no more!

Then it will be known

To the ends of the earth

That God rules over Jacob.”

Selah

David did not want his enemies killed, he wanted vengeance. He wanted them to suffer so that his own people would not forget what evil was. The evil ones were to totter and be brought down. Yahweh was the shield and protector of good ones. The evildoers sinned with their words and their lips because they were trapped in pride. Thus they uttered curses and lies. They should be consumed in the wrath of God. In somewhat contradictory terms, David wanted them consumed until they actually died instead of just suffering. At that point, the whole world would know that the God of Jacob ruled the world. At that thought there was the musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

Further curses (Deut 28:15-28:46)

“But if you will not obey Yahweh your God by diligently observing all his commandments and decrees which I am commanding you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Cursed shall you be in the city. Cursed shall you be in the field.

Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, the increase of your cattle, and the issue of your flock.

Cursed shall you be when you come in. Cursed shall you be when you go out.

Yahweh will send upon you disaster, panic, and frustration, in everything that you attempt to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

Yahweh will make the pestilence cling to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to possess.”

Now we have 6 curses to correspond with the 6 blessings above, but there is more to come. The curses concern your work, whether in the town or the fields. Everything will not be fruitful for you. You will not have bread to eat. You will not be blessed when you come or leave your house. You will have disasters, panic and frustration. Pestilence will come to you and consume you and your land.

“Yahweh will afflict you with consumption, fever, and inflammation. He will send fiery heat, drought, blight, and mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. The sky over your head shall be bronze,. The earth under you shall be iron. Yahweh will change the rain of your land into powder. Only dust shall come down upon you from the sky until you are destroyed.”

The environment will be against. You will experience all kinds of fevers and inflammations. The earth will be hot and dry. The rain will change into a dust storm around you until you are destroyed.

“Yahweh will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out against them one way, and flee before them seven ways. You shall become an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. Your corpses shall be food for every bird of the air and animal of the earth. There shall be no one to frighten them away.”

You are going to get wiped out in a lot of battles. You will be the one fleeing in 7 directions. You will be an object of horror among all the nations. The birds and animals will feed on your dead bodies.

“Yahweh will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, with ulcers, scurvy and itch, of which you cannot be healed. Yahweh will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. You shall grope about at noon as the blind people grope in darkness. But you shall be unable to find your way. You shall be continually abused and robbed, without anyone to help.”

Your personal health life will be destroyed with physical and mental illness as people will oppress you. The aliments of Egypt of ulcers, scurvy, and itches will come upon you. You will be crazy, blind, and confused. You will be robbed without anyone to help you.

“You shall become engaged to a woman, but another man shall lie with her. You shall build a house, but not live in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but not enjoy its fruit. Your ox shall be butchered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it. Your donkey shall be stolen in front of you, and shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, without anyone to help you. Your sons and daughters shall be given to another people, while you look on. You will strain your eyes looking for them all day but be powerless to do anything. A people whom you do not know shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors. You shall be continually abused and crushed, and driven mad by the sight that your eyes shall see. Yahweh will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.”

Personal disasters will happen in your life. You will not get the woman you want. You will build a house and never live in it. You will plant vineyards but never enjoy their fruit. You will butcher an ox, but never eat it. Your donkey will be stolen and never returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies. Your sons and daughters will go to other people. Other people will eat the fruit of your labors. You will be abused and go crazy. You will have boils all over your body. Is that good enough to make you have second thoughts?

“Yahweh will bring you, and the king whom you set over you, to a nation that neither you nor your ancestors have known. There you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. You shall become an object of horror, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples where Yahweh will lead you.”

This is a prediction of the exile, but does it reflect the reality at the time of the writing? You will go to a nation your ancestors never knew.

“You shall carry much seed into the field, but you shall gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off. You shall have sons and daughters, but they shall not remain yours. They shall go into captivity. The cicada shall take over all your trees and the fruit of your ground.”

This is another illusion to the exile where the locusts, worms, and cicadas will eat your harvest.  You will not enjoy the results of your work in the field or the vineyards.

“Aliens residing among you shall ascend above you higher and higher, while you shall descend lower and lower. They shall lend to you but you shall not lend to them. They shall be the head and you shall be the tail.”

This is the reverse of all that Yahweh was promising. Israel will descend lower and lower while the resident aliens will ascend higher and higher. You will be the borrower and not the lender. You will be the tail and not the head.

“All these curses shall come upon you, pursuing you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey Yahweh your God, by observing the commandments and the decrees that he commanded you. They shall be among you and your descendants as a sign and a portent forever.”

Follow the commandments and everything will be okay. Otherwise watch out for all these curses.