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Hebrews 6:1-3

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What Is a Curse

Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this page’s FAQ And Objections Page

We just finished talking about the word bless and what it means. Now, we are going to talk about the definition of the word curse.

There are different words used in the original Hebrew that is translated as a curse. One of those words is barak. You may notice something familiar about this word. It’s the same word used for bless!

Now, you may be asking how one word can mean both bless and curse. But, first, let me tell you that the use of the word barak translated as a curse is rare. In fact, of the 330 times, the word is used it is only translated as a curse or blaspheme 6 times. Nevertheless, it is still used in this way.

The 6 places where you find the word used as either curse or blaspheme are:

Job 1:5

5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job 1:11

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 2:5

5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 2:9

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

1 Kg 21:10

10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.

1 Kg 21:13

13 And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.


You may have also noticed something else that is strange about this use of the word. It is found mainly in the book of Job. But, look at the context. You would not use the word bless to describe any of these things when translating. It would not give the proper meaning of that word in the context it is used in.

But, why use the word barak in the original Hebrew? If you remember from the last study the word barak means bless, which means praise. In order to explain that I would have to teach you the Hebrew language altogether. Because the word barak is only PART of the word. If that doesn’t make sense then just know that the reason it doesn’t is because it may not be your language.

But, in essence, the word has prepositions and so on which can be added to it, which will change its meaning. But the point here is that a curse is similar to a blessing. But it is the opposite in that it is speaking evil against someone rather than praise.

The other words for a curse that are more often used are alah, me’erah, klalah, and so on. These words are also all about speaking badly of someone and wishing harm to come upon them. But just as the blessing is only words, a curse is the same.

Can a Christian Place a Curse

The power of a blessing is the desire for God to prosper someone. If God so chooses then He may honor the desire or not. But, God does delight in answering prayers. The power of a curse is the desire for harm to come on someone. This desire is RARELY a godly desire when it comes from men.

1 Corinthians 5:5

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:20

Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

think again

It is, however, possible for a Christian to curse someone and have God honor that desire. This desire MUST come from love, though. Sometimes the best way for someone to turn to God is by calamity striking their lives. So if the desire for harm is ONLY for the GOOD of a person then it is entirely possible that God will honor that request.

That is why we can find these kinds of verses in the Bible, in which Paul wishes for the destruction of a person in order for them to be saved in the end.

However, when the desire for harm is not from a godly heart of love it is not going to be honored by God. With that said, the curse may be honored by the demonic.

Can a Christian Be Cursed

Numbers 22:6

6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.

Numbers 22:12

12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.

Numbers 22:18

18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.

Numbers 22:20

20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

Numbers 23:8

8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?


Now, one important thing to note is that the only way a curse like this can be honored by the demonic is if God allows it. This is not very often when it comes to the Christian. But, it is much more effective with the lost.

Again, a cursing and blessings are only words and a desire for either good or bad. These words can have no power except in the cases where God honors the desire, or where God allows the demonic to honor a desire. In either case, God is the one that is in control.

The Big Picture

We are about to conclude this unit. Before we do though I want to explain what unit 5 has really been about, in case you missed it. We talked about how the laying on of hands in itself is powerless unless God acts. We talked about how blessing someone is powerless unless God acts. We just finished talking about how a curse is powerless unless God acts.

The big picture that I have been trying to show is that nothing we do has power unless God acts. That means we must throw our superstitions out. Do we have any? Yes, many of us do.

We may request prayer with anointing oil because we think there is something special about the oil itself. We may be water baptized because we think the water itself will cleanse us. We may take a “prayer cloth” and put it under our pillow to bring “blessing” to us.

All of these kinds of things are absolutely nothing by themselves. It’s the meaning and the Spirit behind them that matters. Yes, the Bible says to anoint the sick with oil, and yes it does say to be baptized with water. But ask yourself “WHY?!”

In short, do we trust in the things of earth as if there were power in them? Or, do we trust in the Spirit of God knowing there is no power without Him?

Zechariah 4:6

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

I can’t think of a way to say it better. It’s not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God that these things have meaning and purpose.

Unit 5 Complete. Return To Course Home To Begin Unit 6 – (Coming Soon) OR

Return To Christianity 101 Unit 5 To Review What You Have Gone Over

January 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm | | No comment

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Giving Praise

I was raised as a catholic. In 2017 I fell into a deep addiction & found myself accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. I never felt the love that I felt for anyone towards Jesus Christ, what he suffered for me, for all of us. I love him so much. I understand the Continue Reading

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