Deuteronomy 27

1 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded, saying, Keep all these commands, all that I command you this day.
2 And it shall come to pass in the day when ye shall cross over Jordan into the land which the Lord thy God gives thee, that thou shalt set up for thyself great stones, and shalt plaster them with plaster.
3 And thou shalt write on these stones all the words of this law, as soon as ye have crossed Jordan, when ye are entered into the land, which the Lord God of thy fathers gives thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, according as the Lord God of thy fathers said to thee.
4 And it shall be as soon as ye are gone over Jordan, ye shall set up these stones, which I command thee this day, on mount Gaebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster.
5 And thou shalt build there an altar to the Lord thy God, an altar of stones; thou shalt not lift up iron upon it.
6 Of whole stones shalt thou build an altar to the Lord thy God, and thou shalt offer upon it whole-burnt-offerings to the Lord thy God.
7 And thou shalt there offer a peace-offering; and thou shalt eat and be filled, and rejoice before the Lord thy God.
8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all this law very plainly.
9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, Be silent and hear, O Israel; this day thou art become a people to the Lord thy God.
10 And thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and shalt do all his commands, and his ordinances, as many as I command thee this day.
11 And Moses charged the people on that day, saying,
12 These shall stand to bless the people on mount Garizin having gone over Jordan; Symeon, Levi, Judas, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13 And these shall stand for cursing on mount Gaebal; Ruben, Gad, and Aser, Zabulon, Dan, and Nephthali.
14 And the Levites shall answer and say to all Israel with a loud voice,
15 Cursed the man whosoever shall make a graven or molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of craftsmen, and shall put it in a secret place: and all the people shall answer and say, So be it.
16 Cursed is the man that dishonours his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, So be it.
17 Cursed is he that removes his neighbour's landmarks: and all the people shall say, So be it.
18 Cursed is he that makes the blind to wander in the way: and all the people shall say, So be it.
19 Cursed is every one that shall pervert the judgment of the stranger, and orphan, and widow: and all the people shall say, So be it.
20 Cursed is he that lies with his father's wife, because he has uncovered his father's skirt: and all the people shall say, So be it.
21 Cursed is he that lies with any beast: and all the people shall say, So be it.
22 Cursed is he that lies with his sister by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, So be it.
23 Cursed is he that lies with his daughter-in-law: and all the people shall say, So be it. Cursed is he that lies with his wife's sister: and all the people shall say, So be it.
24 Cursed is he that smites his neighbour secretly: and all the people shall say, So be it.
25 Cursed is he whosoever shall have taken a bribe to slay an innocent man: and all the people shall say, So be it.
26 Cursed is every man that continues not in all the words of this law to do them: and all the people shall say, So be it.

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.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. to smite the life of innocent blood.

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 Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.