Generational curses and curses spoken over us

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In our previous article, we have looked at blessings and curses from YHVH’ s perspective and also from ours as believers. We have learned how powerful a blessing and a curse can be. When we bless somebody and invoke YHVH’s name, He is the power behind that blessing, if it is according to His will. Blessings or curses spoken over us by unbelievers can also have an effect in our lives. Allow me to explain.

A curse with a cause

We have written before about the lesser elohims which YHVH each gave a territory. When believers in these lesser elohims pronounce blessings or curses, these elohims are the power behind these blessings or curses, and when we don’t have YHVH’s protective hedge around us, we will be affected by this. The interesting part is that they, being who they are, are not interested in sending blessings our way, only curses.

However, YHVH is always in control and He protects us, but He can and may allow this in our lives. YHVH can use it to test us, to build character in us, or to bring us back to Him. We have written about how when we sin, we break the hedge of protection we have around us. We have written more about this in the article “How the Spiritual realm influences us” When this happens, we are vulnerable to demonic influence and affliction.

There is a verse in Proverbs that confirms this. A curse without cause does not alight.

Proverbs 26:2
2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, So a curse without cause does not alight.

We provide the cause when we compromise or sin. Compromise is always the first step to sin. Every time we compromise, we are drawn away from YHVH and His ways, a little at a time. We don’t even notice it when it happens and then one day we wake up and realize how far away from YHVH we are. We are to guard against this by living righteously. YHVH has given us His instructions to help us to live righteously. It is almost as if YHVH built in protection for us in His commandments. When we do His commandments, we will be where we ought to be at the right time. We will not eat or do what is harmful to our bodies. I am digressing a bit here, but I am sure you understand what I mean. When we sin, we provide the cause for the curse to have an effect. This includes the curses YHVH promised for covenantal unfaithfulness (Lev 26, Deut 28) as well as any other curses, whether spoken over us by believers, unbelievers, ourselves or curses having any other cause like for example defiled land.

We will later look in more detail at the curses for covenantal unfaithfulness or generational curses, its causes, effects on us and how to break them. The question is if curses were directed our way, what do we do about it?

How to get free from a curse

We would first want to know if it was indeed a curse. Not every negative thing that comes across our path is a curse. It could be, but it could also be a trial from YHVH to test us.

Our first step is to go to YHVH in prayer, He will reveal the truth to us and give us wisdom to know if there are any curses over us and how to deal with this. We have learned in the previous article how easy it is for people to speak negative things over others.

Some introspection won’t do any harm either. As we said, sin can break that hedge of protection around us. If the curse was from YHVH, it can only be broken through repentance and only YHVH can revoke it, we can’t.

If YHVH reveals to us that it was a curse pronounced by another person, we can use the authority we have in Y’shua and cancel or break it. It depends on the nature of the curse. In the article The Significance of the Blood of Y’shua we wrote about this authority we have in Y’shua.

Matthew 28:18
18 And Y’shua came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

In Him we have the following authority:

Mark 16:17–18
17 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

We will cast out demons, speak with new tongues, pick up serpents and if we drink deadly poison, it will not hurt us. Last but not least, we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. We should be walking in this authority.

YHVH will return the curse

As I said, we can cancel or break curses spoken over us by other people or even when we have spoken a curse over ourself. In Yshua we have the authority to do this. We are not to take vengeance like returning curses, but ask YHVH to turn every curse into a blessing.

YHVH will deal with those who curse us appropriately in His time.

Psalm 7:16
16 His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate.

The mischief can refer to curses spoken…

Psalm 10:7
7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

Let’s look at an example from Scripture.

The man Shimei came and cursed David.

2 Samuel 16:6–8
6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. 7 Thus Shimei said when he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! 8 “YHVH has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and YHVH has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”

David considered that this man was cursing him because YHVH may have told him to (2 Sam 16:10-11). He said that perhaps YHVH would see his affliction and return good to him instead.

2 Samuel 16:12
12 “Perhaps YHVH will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.”

David as the King had the right to put this man to death for cursing him, but he did not. He showed him mercy. David did tell Solomon before he died not to let him go unpunished. Later Solomon restricted Shimei to Jerusalem. He was told that if he left Jerusalem, he would pay with his life, Shimei agreed and made an oath to keep this command of the king. After 3 years Shimei broke the command and was put to death.

1 Kings 2:44–45
44 The king also said to Shimei, “You know all the evil which you acknowledge in your heart, which you did to my father David; therefore YHVH shall return your evil on your own head. 45 “But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before YHVH forever.”

This whole account of Shimei cursing David is very interesting. David considered that the cursing might be from YHVH. He showed mercy to the one who pronounced it, and asked YHVH to return good to him instead of the curse. He didn’t return the curse, but asked YHVH to reverse it. Later, Solomon had to deal with Shimei when he transgressed the command of the king. He then told him that his evil shall be returned on his own head. Solomon also repeated YHVH’s blessing over him and his kingdom.

We can do the same when we suspect we were cursed by somebody, whether it was with malicious intent or as a result of careless words – those of others or our own.

  • We can first repent of any sin we may have done that has given a cause to the curse.
  • Then, we can cancel the curse in Y’shua’s name and ask YHVH to reverse it into a blessing.
  • We can also repeat the promises YHVH has given us in Scripture.

Curses can be very powerful and we are to be very careful not to curse others or ourselves.

Be careful not to curse

James wrote that the tongue is full of deadly poison.

James 3:8
8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

We have learned about prayers of impercation in the previous article. This basically refers to prayers, praying YHVH’s judgment over those who does harm to us. Be careful of this and remember you have to be innocent and righteous before you can pray in this manner.

Read what David wrote about those who like to curse.

Psalm 109:17–18
17 He also loved cursing, so it came to him; And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him. 18 But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, And it entered into his body like water And like oil into his bones.

Y’shua taught that we are to bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us.

Luke 6:28
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Paul later repeated Y’shua’s words

Romans 12:14
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

This means that Y’shua would rather have us pray for the salvation of our enemies than to curse them. There is wisdom in this, for if we decide to curse our enemies and there is found any unrighteouness in us, we will suffer the same consequences. What you sow, you will reap. YHVH will take vengeance, we don’t have to. We can ask YHVH to turn every curse into blessing, like David did in the case of Shimei.

We shall now look into more detail on what is popularly known as generational curses.

Generational Curses or the Iniquity of the Fathers9675517_s

Generational curses can affect every one of us. You may have seen a family where the father has a problem with uncontrollable anger, his son may have the same and if you search a little you would find that his father or grandfather had the same problem. It seems to be handed down the family line. I have read about a woman who “inherited” the ability to predict people’s future using cards. This ability was operating in her mother as well. She taught the laying of cards to all her daughters, but only this one had the “gift.” This iniquity was passed down from one generation to the next.

Not only do we see similar sin patterns, but also similar chronic conditions. When you do a bit of research on the topic of depression, you find that this too can be “inherited”, it may even be a widespread family problem even to the extend of causing family members to commit suicide. Alcoholism is another example and there are many more.

These are the manifestations of the iniquity of the fathers or generational curses. I am not saying that every ailment will be inherited, but we do see an increased incidence. Some would like to link genetics to this, but we don’t have to, it is enough to know that spiritual bondage can be transferred from one generation to the next.

This spiritual bondage is in scripture referred to as the iniquity of the fathers. Let’s quickly look at this word iniquity.


˓awon (עָוֹן, 5771), “iniquity; guilt; punishment.” This noun, which appears 231 times in the Tanach, is limited to Hebrew and biblical Aramaic. The prophetic and poetic books employ ˓awon with frequency. The Pentateuch as a whole employs the word about 50 times. In addition to these, the historical books infrequently use ˓awon. The first use of ˓awon comes from Cain’s lips, where the word takes the special meaning of “punishment”: “And Cain said unto YHVH, My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Gen. 4:13).

The most basic meaning of ˓awon is “iniquity.” The word signifies an offense, intentional or not, against YHVH’s law. This meaning is also most basic to the word chatta˒t, “sin,” in the Tanach, and for this reason the words chatta˒t and ˓awon are virtually synonymous; “Lo, this [the live coal] hath touched thy [Isaiah’s] lips; and thine iniquity [˓awon] is taken away, and thy sin [chatta˒t] purged” (Isa. 6:7).

“Iniquity” as an offense to YHVH’s holiness is punishable.

The usage of ˓awon includes the whole area of sin, judgment, and “punishment” for sin. The Tanach teaches that YHVH’s forgiveness of “iniquity” extends to the actual sin, the guilt of sin, YHVH’s judgment upon that sin, and YHVH’s punishment of the sin. “Blessed is the man unto whom YHVH imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Ps. 32:2).

In the Septuagint the word has the following renderings: adikia (“wrongdoing; unrighteousness; wickedness”); hamartia (“sin; error”); and anomia (“lawlessness”). In the English versions the translation “iniquity” is fairly uniform.2

Let’s look at a few examples from scripture.

Exodus 20:5
5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, YHVH your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

To hate YHVH means not to choose Him, so those who hate Him are those who choose not to live for YHVH.

Exodus 34:7
7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

Leviticus 26:39
39 ‘So those of you who may be left will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies; and also because of the iniquities of their forefathers they will rot away with them.

Numbers 14:18
18 ‘YHVH is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’

Deuteronomy 5:9
9 ‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, YHVH your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

This phrase is also repeated in various other passages: 1 Kin 21:29; Jer 32:18; Is 14:21; Jer 14:20

Lamentations 5:7
7 Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities.

Two Greek words are used to convey the idea of iniquity. One is translated as lawlessness and the other as evildoers or workers of unrighteousness.

Matthew 7:23
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Lawlessness, Greek anomia, “absence of law, absence of Torah.” Hence you workers of lawlessness means “you who act as if there were no Torah”; it confirms Yeshua’s teaching on the permanence of the Torah (5:17–20&NN). The Greek word “anomia” can be rendered “wickedness,” but doing so here skirts the Jewish context. 3

Luke 13:27
27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’

Both of these words confirm that iniquity is covenantal unfaithfulness or disobedience to YHVH’s instructions. There are many examples in Scripture of how the sins of the fathers were visited upon the children. The first king of the divided kingdom, Jeroboam is a good example. His sin of idolatry did not only lead the whole nation astray, but it was evident in the lives of each of his descendants up to the Assyrian exile. It also led to the exile and we as Israelites are still scattered in the nations as a result of this.

There is hope, though. YHVH has promised restoration, if we return to Him. You can read more about this restoration in the previous article The Power of a Blessing and a Curse and When shall the restoration of all things be? This returning is not only about repenting, but also about being obedient after we have repented. To return to YHVH is to live according to His instructions.

We have also written much about how we are to repent of this iniquity of the fathers. The sins of our fathers and Shavuot, National and Personal redemption, both are required

We have done this a number of times on behalf of ourselves and the nation, however, there are still areas in our lives where we don’t have victory. Areas that can be identified as being of a generational nature. Why is this?

Demons and generational curses

To understand this we need to go back a few steps. When we don’t obey YHVH, we actually obey ha satan. It may sound strange to you, but it is true. When we sin, we give ground to satan and we cause YHVH’s protective hedge to be removed from around us. This will allow demons to enter or afflict us.

For example, when we dabble in the occult, we allow unclean spirits to enter us. Some of the manifestations of the curse in our lives may thus be as a result of these demons. This is key to understanding why we still may see manifestations of the curse even after repenting. These manifestations will only go away after the demon has been cast out.

We can cast the demon out in the name of Y’shua and if it doesn’t seem to work, we need to fast and pray. Some demons only come out by prayer and fasting.

Matthew 17:19–21
19 Then the disciples came to Y’shua privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

If you don’t have experience in casting out demons, study more on this or go to somebody you trust to help you. A good book I can recommend is “Reclaiming Surrendered Ground” by Jim Logan.

We now understand more about generational curses or the iniquity of the fathers and will through repentance and with YHVH’s help be able to get free from this.

In all this, I cannot put enough emphasis on the role of the father in the home. Have you not wondered why it is referred to as the iniquity of the fathers?

The authority of the father

It is because of the authority of the father. The mother is also of vital importance, she has a specific role and much influence, but the spiritual truth here is that YHVH has an authority structure in place. The father has a tremendously important role as he is the spiritual authority of the family. YHVH has given him the spiritual responsibility for his family and he, when fulfilling his proper role, gives spiritual protection to the family. If he doesn’t stand in this role, his family is vulnerable. Also, a father who walks in iniquity opens up his wife and children to temptation and attack by the enemy.

There are cases in scripture where a godly woman had spiritual authority. Deborah is one such example.

Judges 4:4
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

We do not know much about her husband, but she was a prophetess and was judging Israel at the time.

Esther is another example. As the wife of an unbelieving king, she took the spiritual authority of her people upon herself and with YHVH’s help delivered them from Haman’s evil schemes.

This may shed more light on the role of the wife of an unbelieving husband, but this warrants further study. Those of you who are in this situation, YHVH knows your situation and your heart and He will protect you.


YHVH loved us first and He will help us in this. We do not stand alone. Ask Him for help and guidance, He is faithful. We started this journey feeling completely overwhelmed, and looking back, I see how YHVH has led us a little step at a time. YHVH wants us to be free, He sent Y’Shua to set the captives free. Each of us is held captive by something, it could be a battle with sin, unforgiveness, the iniquity of our fathers, or words spoken over us. None of these are too difficult for YHVH, He will help us overcome.

This doesn’t mean that we are to sit and wait for YHVH to do this. He will deliver us like He delivered the Israelites when they battled their enemies. The battle is real, but YHVH instructed us through His word as to what we are to do.

2 Timothy 4:18
18YHVH will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 4

He will do this through our faith in Y’shua. YHVH has given us the authority in Y’shua to overcome. We are to walk in obedience as He walked and walk in this authority we have been given.

May YHVH lead you and strengthen you in your battle.


  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD, and Y’shua for Jesus
  2. Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vol. 1: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (121–122). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
  3. Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Mt 7:23). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
  4. Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., 2 Ti 4:18). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.

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