[My reaction to the April 4-6 readings of the One Year Bible]
Today I ran across a passage in Deuteronomy that reminded me of the Beatitudes. Chapter 28 begins with just about a dozen verses explaining the blessings that the Isrealites will receive if they “fully obey YHWH, your God.” Starting at verse 15, however, it turns ugly, making it clear that there are consequences for disobedience. Among the curses are these at verse 30-32
You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and ravish her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.
As usual, Jesus reserves his curses for people in the Church who follow the letter but not the spirit of the law. Luke 11:39-54. The whole affair starts with Jesus not washing his hands before he eats. He then has separate curses for the fundamentalists and the literalists. For example, “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” Ouch.