What do we understand by imprecation? Cursing, calling plagues and evils from god on the ones whom one hates. Every man, according to the Bible, is constituted of three parts: body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12). The soul is the irrational part of men. They are similar to the animals, in that they also have a soul. As to the soul, the nature and destiny of men is the same as that of the animals, that is, all are dust and will return to dust (Eccl. 3:18-21).
The irrational soul has movements, or passions, just like the animals, in other words, love and hatred, fear and courage, cowardice and value, sadness and joy, concupiscence and aversion. The physical body is a field where passions flourish. It is also used to satisfy them, for the flesh is sensory.
Animals are irrational and do not have spirits as men do. According to the Bible the spirit of man is his intellective part, or the understanding. In the book of Job we read: “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding” (Job 32:8). In the spirit resides reason, thinking, the capacity of discernment of good and evil. One more time, in the book of Job, we read: “I have heard the reproof which puts me to shame. The spirit of my understanding answers me” (Job 20:3). Now, Solomon says: “He who spares his words has knowledge. He who is even tempered is a man of understanding” (Prov. 17:27). The spirit of men is not free. Paul says: “in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Eph. 2:2-3). The spirit of man, which is his understanding, is not free to choose between good and evil, in other words, he is not able to use his freewill. First, because Jehovah has placed the world in the hearts of men, and the world is evil (Eccl. 3:11; John 7:7). Second, because by placing the world in the hearts of men brought them under the prince of the powers of the air, who operates in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2-3). In third place, man is a slave of the flesh because of the law of Jehovah (Rom. 7:5; 1 Cor. 15:56).
We now speak of the spirit of Jehovah: This god has a spirit of destruction, for he destroyed 102 people with fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:9-12). Jesus claims that this spirit is not like his, and that he has not come down from heaven to destroy men, but to save them (Luke 9:51-56). The spirit of Jehovah is malignant, for it devised evil to destroy men (Deut. 28:59-61; Jer. 18:10-11). Whoever devises evil ends up by doing it, for whatever man thinks, he is — Jehovah included. Jeremiah says: “Jehovah has done that which he purposed; he has fulfilled his word that he commanded in the days of old; He has thrown down, and has not pitied: He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; he has exalted the horn of your adversaries” (Lam. 2:17).
Evil prevailed in the mind and in the spirit of Jehovah: “For I have set my face on this city for evil, and not for good” (Jer. 21:10). “Behold, I watch over them for evil, and not for good; and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them” (Jer. 44:27). And the prophet Daniel said: “Therefore has Jehovah watched over the evil, and brought it on us; for Jehovah our God is righteous in all his works which he does” (Dan. 9:14). The good that Jehovah promises, when man sins, he withdraws (Deut. 1:34-35). And the evil that he decides to do, when man or his people get converted, he does not cancel. The people of Israel, who loved Jehovah, prayed: “O Jehovah, why do you make us to err from your ways, and harden our heart from your fear? Return for your servants’ sake, the tribes of your inheritance” (Is. 63:17). But the tribes, hardened by Jehovah, have not come back until this day, and the curses are heavy on them. Besides the curses of the law, Jehovah has yet his especial curses to destroy men. Let us look at this: “Thus says Jehovah: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Jehovah” (Jer. 17:5). “Jehovah ‘s curse is in the house of the wicked, but he blesses the habitation of the righteous” (Prov. 33:3). “Cursed is he who does the work of Jehovah negligently; and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood” (Prov. 48:10). In this case, when someone receives a command to kill the infractor and does not obey it, another text says: “But the deceiver is cursed, who has in his flock a male, and vows, and sacrifices to the Lord a blemished thing; for I am a great King” (Mal. 1:14). This cursing spirit goes on from Jehovah to his best servants:
- “Now the man Moses was very humble, above all the men who were on the surface of the earth” (Num. 12:3). Humble is the person that does not get irritated or gets angry. Moses was on the mountain with Jehovah for forty days, receiving the laws and the statutes. When he came down from the mountain and approached the camp, he saw the calf of gold and the people dancing frantically. The fury of Moses was kindled and he broke the tablets of the Law. This fury was the spirit of Jehovah who entered in Moses (Ex. 32:19).
- Saul was such a timid young man, that, after Samuel anointed him king of Israel, he was sought and was not found, because he was hiding among the baggage (1 Sam. 10:22; 11:6).
- Joshua was faithful, and a man of great worth. He was chosen to succeed Moses in the conquest of Canaan. When the city of Jericho was destroyed and burnt, Joshua cried out, saying: “Cursed is the man before Yahweh, who rises up and builds this city Jericho. With the loss of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up its gates” (Joshua 6:26). This curse was fulfilled in 1 Kings 16:34. It is impossible that the one who believes in a god who sends curses may not imitate his god by cursing, too.
- King Ahaziah sent a captain with fifty soldiers to Elijah. The captain found Elijah and ordered: “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’” Elijah answered: “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from the sky, and consume you and your fifty!” And the fire come down from heaven and consumed them, for Jehovah honors the imprecations uttered by those he likes. The king sent another captain with fifty more soldiers, and the same thing happened again. One hundred and fifty innocent people died (2 Kings 1:9-12). Jesus objected that the spirit shown in that episode was different from his spirit (Luke 9:51-56).
- Elisha, the prophet who succeeded to Elijah, cast terrible curses. The first of them was when he cursed 42 boys for calling him bald. The curse was so strong, that two female bears came out of the woods and killed them (2 Kings 2:23-24). Then Gehazi, his servant, sought the rich gifts of Naaman, who had been healed of leprosy. Elisha got angry and said: “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman will cling to you and to your seed forever. He went out from his presence a leper, as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:21-27).
- Jeremiah suffered and cried a lot in the hands of the false prophets and of the princes of Judah, and therefore the cast the second curse: “Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and give them over to the power of the sword; and let their wives become childless, and widows; and let their men be slain of death, [and] their young men struck of the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them; for they have dug a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet” (Jer. 18:21-22). Jeremiah was certainly proud of doing what Jehovah did every day.
- There is one more left: David, the beloved of Jehovah, who had a heart after Jehovah’s heart and executed the will of Jehovah (Acts 13:22). Joab, by vengeance, killed Abner in treason; and David cast the following curse: “Let it fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house. Let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread” (2 Sam. 3:27-29). Many Christians imitate Elisha, Jeremiah, and David, for they are men of Jehovah.
But Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit of the Father, said: “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don’t curse” (Rom. 12:14). Those who follow Christ act differently form those who follow Jehovah, for this is the god of wrath and vengeance, and Jesus is the God of love and forgiveness.
By Olavo Silveira Pereira