logo The Paraclete Forum Archive



Dear Sirs,

I was wondering if you could answer a question.

Prov. 26:2 This verse seems to say that an undeserved curse does not come
to rest. However what I was wondering is if the converse is also true;
that a deserved curse does come to rest, and what that would mean in an
everyday sense.


The Hebrew word, translated as "curse," in Prov 26:2 is the noun qelalah
(H:7045).  It is derived from the Hebrew verb qalal (H:7043), which has
the basic meaning of something being light (as in not heavy), easy, swift,
small, or trifling.  Qalal can also mean "to curse" or "to despise."  The
shade of meaning of qalal, as it is extented into qelalah would be
something to the effect of esteeming lightly or seeing something as
trifling so as to have contempt and dishonour for it.  Qelalah hence comes
to mean "a curse" in that sense.

Thus, to curse, as it is used in Prov 26:2, is to pronounce something as
deserving contempt.  But the only thing that matters in the grand scheme
of things is how God sees things.  God is sovereign over all Creation and
His judgement is the one that will matter in the end.  So if a human
pronounces a curse, it, in itself has no real power to bestow the true
value on anything.  We either reflect God's values and judgements or we
don't.  In this way we manifest our selves before our selves and God, as
Jesus said,

"The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil
man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that
every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for
it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by
your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:35-37)

Consequently, any curse made without cause will ultimately have no effect
as Prov 26:2 states.  But any curse pronounced that comes from God will
have effect.  God is the final judge and we either reflect His judgement
or we only pronounce the wishful thinking of our own corrupt hearts.  Dave
Roper gave the following commentary on Balaam, who was paid to curse

"God knew that if Balaam cursed Israel, Balaam would suffer. God wasn't
concerned about Balaam's curse that somehow it would frustrate God's
efforts with Israel and would destroy them. No, that wasn't God's concern.
God was concerned for Balaam, because back when God had given the
Abrahamic Covenant he had told Abraham, 'He who blesses you will be
blessed, and he who curses you will be cursed.' And that has been true
down through history. God knew that if Balaam cursed Israel, Balaam would
be cursed." (from: http://www.pbc.org/dp/roper/3051.html)

One further side point I would like to bring up is something of the
spiritual nature of cursing.  It is not just a matter of audible words or
even body language.  A very interesting verse occurs in Leviticus:

"You shall not curse (H:7043) a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block
before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD." (Lev

Note that a deaf man cannot hear any curses pronounced against him. And a
blind man cannot see a stumbling block set before him or know who set it
there when they stumble over it.  This is not just a law against cruel
hoaxes against the handicapped.  Rather, the "deaf and blind" here refer
to anyone who is unaware - for whatever reason - of evil directed at them.
But the verse closes "you shall revere your God; I am the LORD" such that
it is understood that even though someone may be unaware of the evil that
was intended for them God is aware.  This is another example of the true
spiritual nature of the Law.

You may also want to read Ray Stedman's commentary on Ps 109, "When You
are Falsely Accused" at: