Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in
] As was commanded, ( Deuteronomy 27:5 ) . The Samaritan Chronicle says, it was built in Mount Gerizim; but there is a difficulty arises, when this was done by Joshua; it should seem by inserting the account here, that it was done immediately after the destruction of Ai; and Mercator endeavours to prove that Ebal was near to Ai, but what he has said does not give satisfaction; for certain it is, that Ebal and Gerizim were near Shechem in Samaria, at a great distance from Ai, see ( Judges 9:6 Judges 9:7 ) . The Jews F1 generally are of opinion, that this was done as soon as Israel, even the very day, they passed over Jordan, which they think the letter of the command required, ( Deuteronomy 11:29 ) ( Deuteronomy 27:4 Deuteronomy 27:5 ) ; though it does not, only that it should be done after they were passed over it; Ebal being at too great a distance from Jordan for them to accomplish it on that day, being, as they themselves say F2, sixty miles from Jordan; so that they are obliged to make Israel travel that day an hundred twenty miles, and as they assert they did F3 and which they must do, if what they say was true, it being sixty miles to Ebal, and sixty more to return again to Gilgal that night, where they encamped, but this is incredible: and as this account of Joshua's building the altar is too soon after he had passed Jordan, what R. Ishmael F4 has pitched upon is too late, who says this was not done till after fourteen years, when the land was conquered, which was seven years doing, and when it was divided, which were seven years more; what Josephus says F5 is more probable than either, which is, that Joshua, five years after he had entered Canaan, when he had placed the tabernacle at Shiloh, went from thence and built an altar at Ebal; as for what R. Eliezer suggests F6, that Ebal and Gerizim here mentioned are not the Ebal and Gerizim of the Samaritans, only two hills were made, and they were called by these names, cannot merit any belief or regard.
F1 Misn. Sotah, c. 7. sect. 5. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 30. Jarchi in loc.
F2 T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 36. 1.
F3 T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 21. 3.
F4 Apud ib.
F5 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 14.
F6 In T. Hieros. Sotah, ut supra. (F3)