CURSES!No, not foiled again; curses found in the bible. Curses not just on people, but also on things that are not even alive. Do you know we are not to curse, or to put curses on other people? That in the Old Testament, only a few were given the right to curse? Let's see what I'm talking about...
The first curse was put upon the serpent in the garden of Eden by God; "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" (Gen. 3:14)
The second curse came right after it, and it was put on the ground! "And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, 'Thou shalt not eat of it': cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3:17-19)
And the third curse was from God onto the eldest son of Adam and Eve; "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." (Gen. 4:11-12) So here are three curses that were made before the fifth chapter of Genesis we find a curse on a snake, on the ground, and on Cain. Let's find more on these things called curses.
After the flood, God apparently repented cursing the ground; "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done." (Gen. 8:21)
In case you haven't noticed yet, cursing comes as a result of action on the part of a living thing, and anything is fair game, apparently, after the action has taken place. But how about before the action has taken place? Consider this passage of Scripture: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Gen.12:3) So woe to anyone who peradventure felt the need to curse Abram, later Abraham, because they would incur a curse from God, and God in this passage has not addressed how He would curse the errant individual(s)!
Here's one that I would surmise many have done out of ignorance of God's commandment, but because of the behavior of many of our leaders of the country, it is understandable, except that it be sin nonetheless. "Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people." (Exod. 22:28) I would venture to say many have done this regarding presidents and senators and governors and state representatives, and not that the behavior of them doesn't give people cause to do it, but one has to bite a hole in their lip not to if they be without willpower to hold their tongue otherwise. Remember this, that whoever is in charge over your land in some capacity is either a blessing or a punishment from God. If the land be overun by wicked and corrupt and rebellious people, why would you not understand that God would so punish those in the land with an appropriate ruler? And if the people turn, and repent, why would not God also allow leaders to take charge of the land who would be a blessing?
There are more commandments even in the Old Testament not to dare to curse for your own sake; "Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD." (Lev. 19:14)
Num. 5:11 - 31 has an interesting curse called a trial of jealousy. In it, a priest wrote out a curse known as bitter water that, if a woman willfully ingest it, denying infidelity, and being honest, the water would have no effect. However, if she was lying, yet willfully ingested it, her belly would swell, and her thigh rot, and she shall be a curse among her people. I would imagine after even the first woman to fail the test, all others would be honest than go through the trial of jealousy!
Num. 22:6 - 21, 23:1 - 30, and 24:1 - 25 have the story of a prophet of a man named Balaam hired by Balak to curse the people of Israel, and Balaam initially was told by God not to go, but later he did go, and was saved by his ass along the way from being smitten for going by an angel of the Lord, but he went anyway, and when Balak had everything ready for him, Balaam cursed not Israel, but blessed it three times, enangering Balak to the point of him ordering the prophet to leave!
Now let me take you to the passage where a chosen few were authorized to curse, and many curses are in this passage in a ceremony of a ratification of a covenant; "And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen." (Deut. 27:13 - 26) See how all these curses were upon anyone of Israel who was an outlaw against the laws and statutes of God? But what about in the New Testament? What does it say of curses and cursing?
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus gives you the impression that if anyone is going to do any more cursing, it will be Him, and not us. For my first example, let's look at Matt. 5:43 - 44, Luke 6:27 - 28; "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."
Now there is one citation of a cursing done by Peter to his shame, and he wept bitterly for it, because he did it during his denial of Christ three times. "Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, 'Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.'" (Matt. 26:74 - 75, Mark 14:71 - 72)
As for Jesus doing the cursing, let me bring to mind the fig tree. "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, 'Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.' And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, 'How soon is the fig tree withered away!'" (Matt. 21:18 - 20) Mark 11:12 - 14 has similar accounting of the cursing of the fig tree.
Jesus also tells of all those who will be cursed at the last judgment! "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not." (Matt. 25:41 - 43)
The Pharisees had no problem cursing people; they called those who believed on Jesus cursed! "The officers answered, 'Never man spake like this man.' Then answered them the Pharisees, 'Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.'" (John 7:46 - 49)
One group of men were foolish enough to put their own selves under a curse; "And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul." (Acts 23:12) As one of Paul's relatives overheard and related the matter to Paul, and he in turn, had him taken to the chief captain, then the foolishness of their curse led to Paul's protection and their starvation!
Paul has an interesting passage concerning the law having a curse, and that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law; "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal. 3:10 - 14) The law defines sin, and sin is a curse on all mankind; however, because of the unspeakable gift of Christ's death on the cross, we who believe on Him are freed from our sins and of the curse it brings under its definition by the law.
As children of God, let us not give in to the temptaation to curse anyone, though they frustrate and vex us so, because: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." (Gen. 9:6) We are to love our enemies; Jesus said so. We are to pray for them, not hate them to the point of cursing them, we are to hate the sin, not the sinner. They, like us, were made in God's image, too! And there is one more thing about cursing that many are not aware of. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (Eph. 4:29) Cursing someone is neither edifying nor of use to minister grace to those who are hearing what you're saying. As Paul said to the Romans, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:21)