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Curse Not the Deaf

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There’s a curious law in Leviticus; it seems like a very small thing—something unlikely to ever occur. And you wonder, in the economy of the Bible—since there isn’t space for that many words, why it is even in there. It is just one verse, and it says this:

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:14 KJ2000

Now, the first of these particular crimes seems utterly harmless. You can’t possibly hurt a deaf person’s feelings by cursing them behind their back. To curse someone who can’t hear the curse—how can it possibly harm their feelings? The latter—placing a stumbling-block before the blind—has the potential for harm. But who would ever do such a thing? I was a mischievous little kid, but it would never have occurred to me to put a stumbling-block in front of a blind person. I never would have done that.

Now, the person who cannot see beyond the letter of the law will never understand this passage of scripture or have occasion to apply it in their life in a meaningful way. But there is something about this verse that you need to understand. To help you understand, I need to draw a comparison with another law—one that is interpreted in the New Testament. We’ll find it in 1 Corinthians, chapter 9.


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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