Deuteronomy 27

Listen to Deuteronomy 27

The Altar on Mount Ebal

1 Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, "Keep the whole commandment that I command you today.
2 And on the day 1you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster.
3 2And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, 3a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you.
4 And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, 4on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.
5 And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. 5You shall wield no iron tool on them;
6 you shall build an altar to the LORD your God of uncut[a] stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God,
7 and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and 6shall eat there, and you 7shall rejoice before the LORD your God.
8 And 8you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly."

Curses from Mount Ebal

9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, "Keep silence and hear, O Israel: 9this day you have become the people of the LORD your God.
10 You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today."
11 That day Moses charged the people, saying,
12 "When you have crossed over the Jordan, 10these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13 And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
14 And 11the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:
15 12"'Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.'13And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'
16 14"'Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
17 15"'Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor's landmark.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
18 16"'Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
19 17"'Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
20 18"'Cursed be anyone who lies with his father's wife, because he has 19uncovered his father's nakedness.'[b] And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
21 20"'Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
22 21"'Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
23 22"'Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
24 23"'Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
25 24"'Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
26 25"'Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.' And all the people shall 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.

Cross References 25

  • 1. Joshua 4:1
  • 2. Joshua 8:32
  • 3. See Exodus 3:8
  • 4. Deuteronomy 11:29; Joshua 8:30
  • 5. Exodus 20:25; Joshua 8:31
  • 6. See Deuteronomy 12:7
  • 7. See Deuteronomy 12:7
  • 8. [Habakkuk 2:2]
  • 9. Deuteronomy 26:18
  • 10. Deuteronomy 11:29; Joshua 8:33; [Judges 9:7]
  • 11. [Deuteronomy 33:10; Daniel 9:11]
  • 12. See Exodus 20:4; Exodus 34:17
  • 13. [Numbers 5:22; Nehemiah 5:13; Psalms 106:48; Jeremiah 11:5; Jeremiah 28:6; 1 Corinthians 14:16]
  • 14. Exodus 20:12; Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 19:3; See Deuteronomy 21:18-21
  • 15. See Deuteronomy 19:14
  • 16. Leviticus 19:14
  • 17. See Exodus 22:21, 22
  • 18. See Leviticus 18:8
  • 19. See Deuteronomy 22:30
  • 20. See Leviticus 18:23
  • 21. Leviticus 18:9; Leviticus 20:17; [Ezekiel 22:11]
  • 22. Leviticus 18:17; Leviticus 20:14
  • 23. Deuteronomy 19:11; Exodus 21:12, 14
  • 24. Deuteronomy 16:19; Exodus 23:7, 8; Ezekiel 22:12
  • 25. Deuteronomy 28:15; Jeremiah 11:3; Cited Galatians 3:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Hebrew whole
  • [b]. Hebrew uncovered his father's skirt

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.