Blessings and curses found in Deut. 28 were influenced by the various regions of the ancient Near East and various ancient Near Eastern traditions. The purpose of this study is to propose the origin of the ancient Near Eastern tradition of various blessings and curses found in Deut. 28 and to confirm the Old Testament theological view of the blessings and curses mentioned in Deut. 28.
First, as evidenced by various types of literature in the ancient Near East, the blessing motif has a long history that can be traced back to the ancient Sumerian city-state era. However, the content of the blessings mentioned in Deut. 28 is quite normal compared to the ancient Near Eastern blessing motifs. In contrast the ancient Near Eastern blessing motifs contain mythical content that can confront God or political content such as prospering the kingdom.
The curse mentioned in Deut. 28 was also influenced by various ancient Near Eastern regions and traditions. Among them, the discovery of Esarddon’s Succession Treaty (EST) greatly influenced the study of the curse motif in Deut. 28. Because the similarities between the curses of Deut. 28:20-44 and EST § 56 demonstrate a direct impact from EST, for example, a combination of shared motifs, sequence, and structural similarities between two documents. The ‘Cannibalism’ curse motif in Deut. 28:53.55.57 was influenced by EST §§ 184.108.40.206 which inherited the Assyrian tradition. And the curse motif of ‘Not obtained’, which affected Deut. 28:31.33.38-40.42, is already confirmed in the three Aramaic inscriptions between the 9th and 8th centuries BC. This cursive motif is rooted in the Hittite mythology recorded around 1500 BC. Nevertheless, only theological reinterpretations of Deut. 28 about the curse motif are found. For example, the so-called ‘ritual curses’ in EST (§§ 59-67) are not identified in Deut. 28. Perhaps because YHWH religion strictly forbids witchcraft and magic.