Deuteronomy 27

1 Then Moshe and all the leaders of Isra'el gave orders to the people. They said, "Observe all the mitzvot I am giving you today.
2 When you cross the Yarden to the land ADONAI your God is giving you, you are to set up large stones, put plaster on them,
3 and, after crossing over, write this Torah on them, every word -so that you can enter the land ADONAI your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as ADONAI, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 When you have crossed the Yarden, you are to set up these stones, as I am ordering you today, on Mount 'Eival; and put plaster on them.
5 There you are to erect an altar to ADONAI your God, an altar made of stones. You are not to use any iron tool on them,
6 but are to build the altar of ADONAI your God of uncut stones; and you are to offer burnt offerings on it to ADONAI your God.
7 Also you are to sacrifice peace offerings, eat there and be joyful in the presence of ADONAI your God.
8 You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly."
9 Next Moshe and the cohanim, who are L'vi'im, spoke to all Isra'el. They said, "Be quiet; and listen, Isra'el! Today you have become the people of ADONAI your God.
10 Therefore you are to listen to what ADONAI your God says and obey his mitzvot and laws, which I am giving you today."
11 That same day Moshe commissioned the people as follows:
12 "These are the ones who are to stand on Mount G'rizim and bless the people after you have crossed the Yarden: Shim'on, Levi, Y'hudah, Yissakhar, Yosef and Binyamin;
13 while these are to stand on Mount 'Eival for the curse: Re'uven, Gad, Asher, Z'vulun, Dan and Naftali.
14 The L'vi'im, speaking loudly, will proclaim to every man of Isra'el:
15 "'A curse on anyone who makes a carved or metal image, something ADONAI detests, the handiwork of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret!'All the people are to respond by saying, 'Amen!'
16 "'A curse on anyone who dishonors his father or mother.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
17 "'A curse on anyone who moves his neighbor's boundary marker.' All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
18 "'A curse on anyone who causes a blind person to lose his way on the road.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
19 "'A curse on anyone who interferes with justice for the foreigner, orphan or widow.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
20 "'A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his father's wife, because he has violated his father's rights.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
21 "'A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with any kind of animal.' All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
22 "'A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his sister, no matter whether she is the daughter of his father or of his mother.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
23 "'A curse on anyone who has sexual relations with his mother-in-law.' All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
24 "'A curse on anyone who secretly attacks a fellow member of the community.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
25 "'A curse on anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.' All the people are to say, 'Amen!'
26 "'A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice.'All the people are to say, 'Amen!'

Deuteronomy 27 Commentary

Chapter 27

The law to be written on stones in the promised land. (1-10) The curses to be pronounced on mount Ebal. (11-26)

Verses 1-10 As soon as they were come into Canaan, they must set up a monument, on which they must write the words of this law. They must set up an altar. The word and prayer must go together. Though they might not, of their own heads, set up any altar besides that at the tabernacle; yet, by the appointment of God, they might, upon special occasion. This altar must be made of unhewn stones, such as they found upon the field. Christ, our Altar, is a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, refused by the builders, as having no form or comeliness, but accepted of God the Father, and made the Head of the corner. In the Old Testament the words of the law are written, with the curse annexed; which would overcome us with horror, if we had not, in the New Testament, an altar erected close by, which gives consolation. Blessed be God, the printed copies of the Scriptures among us, do away the necessity of such methods as were presented to Israel. The end of the gospel ministry is, and the end of preachers ought to be, to make the word of God as plain as possible. Yet, unless the Spirit of God prosper such labours with Divine power, we shall not, even by these means, be made wise unto salvation: for this blessing we should therefore daily and earnestly pray.

Verses 11-26 The six tribes appointed for blessing, were all children of the free women, for to such the promise belongs, ( Galatians 4:31 ) . Levi is here among the rest. Ministers should apply to themselves the blessing and curse they preach to others, and by faith set their own Amen to it. And they must not only allure people to their duty with the promises of a blessing, but awe them with the threatenings of a curse, by declaring that a curse would be upon those who do such things. To each of the curses the people were to say, Amen. It professed their faith, that these, and the like curses, were real declarations of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, not one jot of which shall fall to the ground. It was acknowledging the equity of these curses. Those who do such things deserve to fall, and lie under the curse. Lest those who were guilty of other sins, not here mentioned, should think themselves safe from the curse, the last reaches all. Not only those who do the evil which the law forbids, but those also who omit the good which the law requires. Without the atoning blood of Christ, sinners can neither have communion with a holy God, nor do any thing acceptable to him; his righteous law condemns every one who, at any time, or in any thing, transgresses it. Under its awful curse we remain as transgressors, until the redemption of Christ is applied to our hearts. Wherever the grace of God brings salvation, it teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, consenting to, and delighting in the words of God's law, after the inward man. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the people of Israel are ordered to write the law on plastered stones, and set them on Mount Ebal, De 27:1-4; where they are bid to erect an altar, and offer sacrifices on it, De 27:5-8; and are charged by Moses and the priests to obey the Lord, and keep his commandments, De 27:9,10; and a direction is given to each tribes which should stand and bless, and which curse, and where, De 27:11-13; and the curses which the Levites should pronounce with a loud voice, and the people should say Amen to, are recited, De 27:14-25; and the whole is concluded with a curse on all who in general do not perform the whole law, De 27:26.

Deuteronomy 27 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.