Deuteronomy 27

1 Moses commanded the leaders of Israel and charged the people: Keep every commandment that I command you today.
2 On the day you cross the Jordan into the land that God, your God, is giving you, erect large stones and coat them with plaster.
3 As soon as you cross over the river, write on the stones all the words of this Revelation so that you'll enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, that land flowing with milk and honey that God, the God-of-Your-Fathers, promised you.
4 So when you've crossed the Jordan, erect these stones on Mount Ebal. Then coat them with plaster.
5 Build an Altar of stones for God, your God, there on the mountain. Don't use an iron tool on the stones;
6 build the Altar to God, your God, with uncut stones and offer your Whole-Burnt-Offerings on it to God, your God.
7 When you sacrifice your Peace-Offerings you will also eat them there, rejoicing in the Presence of God, your God.
8 Write all the words of this Revelation on the stones. Incise them sharply.
9 Moses and the Levitical priests addressed all Israel: Quiet. Listen obediently, Israel. This very day you have become the people of God, your God.
10 Listen to the Voice of God, your God. Keep his commandments and regulations that I'm commanding you today.
11 That day Moses commanded:
12 After you've crossed the Jordan, these tribes will stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13 And these will stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
14 The Levites, acting as spokesmen and speaking loudly, will address Israel:
15 God's curse on anyone who carves or casts a god-image - an abomination to God made by a craftsman - and sets it up in secret. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
16 God's curse on anyone who demeans a parent. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
17 God's curse on anyone who moves his neighbor's boundary marker. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
18 God's curse on anyone who misdirects a blind man on the road. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
19 God's curse on anyone who interferes with justice due the foreigner, orphan, or widow. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
20 God's curse on anyone who has sex with his father's wife; he has violated the woman who belongs to his father. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
21 God's curse on anyone who has sex with an animal. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
22 God's curse on anyone who has sex with his sister, the daughter of his father or mother. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
23 God's curse on anyone who has sex with his mother-in-law. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
24 God's curse on anyone who kills his neighbor in secret. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
25 God's curse on anyone who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.
26 God's curse on whoever does not give substance to the words of this Revelation by living them. All respond: Yes. Absolutely.

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

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.