The Israelites would constantly suffer military defeat if they fail to follow the LORD.
Moses continues giving a script to Israel for a ceremony they are to perform once they have crossed over into the Promised Land. The script contains blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience to the covenant. This followed the ancient form of a Suzerain-vassal treaty.
This section continues the cursings that were to be stated by six tribes standing on Mount Ebal once Israel had entered the land and conquered this part of Canaan (Deuteronomy 27:13). Moses here continues the script for this ceremony, as a part of his instructions to Israel just prior to entering the land (Deuteronomy 27:1-13).
Disobedience to God’s covenantal precepts would result in the LORD causing Israel to be defeated before their enemies (v. 25). In verse 7, as part of the blessing for obedience to the covenant, God promised to fight for Israel to defeat Israel’s enemies when Israel obeyed His voice and followed all His commandments. However, in this section of curses for disobedience, Israel would be defeated for failing to obey God’s covenant.
The Israelites would go out one way against their enemies. In other words, the Israelites might attack in one direction, marching as a disciplined group of soldiers. However, the LORD would cause Israel’s defeat, and those Israelites who were not struck dead would flee seven ways before them, implying a disorganized, chaotic retreat. The carnage would be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth when they saw the destruction of Israel’s army.
Moses told them that their carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth (v. 26). Because of the chaotic retreat of the surviving Israelites, their corpses would be left on the ground, becoming food for birds and beasts. These vultures will eat until they are fully satisfied because there will be no one to frighten them away. This gruesome scene would occur because the people violated God’s covenantal laws.
25 The Lord shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.
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