What are the…
curses in the Bible

also known as: accursed

Divine curses

God placed a curse on the serpent, Adam and Eve, the ground, and against the murderer Cain. These divine curses each had a lasting effect.

The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life… —Genesis 3:14 NASB

To the woman [Eve] He said,

“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.” —Genesis 3:16 NASB

Then to Adam He said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.” —Genesis 3:17-19 NASB

God’s curse on Cain who murdered his younger brother Abel:

Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” —Genesis 4:11-12 NASB

The curse/punishment of DEATH, physical and eternal—see: • Death • The Fall of Man

God also provides blessings.

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Prophetical curses

Prophetical curses were sometimes pronounced by men of God. Such curses are not the consequence of passion or revenge, they are predictions.

When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said,

Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”

He also said,

Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.” —Genesis 9:24-27 NASB

Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel.
I will disperse them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel. —Genesis 49:7 NASB

Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ —Deuteronomy 27:15 NASB

Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” —Joshua 6:26 NASB

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Sinful curses and their punishment

In the Old Testament, God required great purity of His Chosen People. Therefore, under Mosaic Law, it was made clear that none should curse the following (the punishment was death).

There was no toleration for cursing…

Job and the suggestion he “curse God and die”

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” —Job 2:9 NKJV, NASB

Dr. John F. MacArthur points out,

Through all this, Job’s faith remained strong in the confusion, so that his wife could not accuse of of insincerity as Satan had. Her argument in effect was “let go of your piety and curse God; then he will end your life for blaspheming,” (i.e., death under these conditions wouild be preferable to living). She added temptation to affliction because she advised him to sin. —MacArthur Study Bible

(Note: The ASV, AMPC, and WEB versions of this verse say, “renounce God and die,” whereas almost all other English translations say, “curse God.”)

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Article Version: May 1, 2021