Deuteronomy 27

The Curses of Mount Ebal

1 Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, "Keep all the commandments which I command you today.
2 "1So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with lime
3 and write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over, so that you may enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, 2a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.
4 "So it shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall set up 3on Mount Ebal, these stones, as I am commanding you today, and you shall coat them with lime.
5 "Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones; you 4shall not wield an iron tool on them.
6 "You shall build the altar of the LORD your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD your God;
7 and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and eat there, and 5rejoice before the LORD your God.
8 "You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very distinctly."
9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying, "Be silent and listen, O Israel! This day you have become a people for the LORD your God.
10 "You shall therefore obey * the LORD your God, and do His commandments and His statutes which I command you today."
11 Moses also charged the people on that day, saying,
12 "When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on 6Mount Gerizim to bless the people: 7Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13 "For the curse, these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
14 "The Levites shall then answer and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
15 'Cursed is the man who makes 8an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' And 9all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'
16 '10Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
17 '11Cursed is he who moves his neighbor's boundary mark.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
18 '12Cursed is he who misleads a blind person on the road.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
19 '13Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
20 '14Cursed is he who lies with his father's wife, because he has uncovered his father's skirt.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
21 '15Cursed is he who lies with any animal.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
22 '16Cursed is he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or of his mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
23 '17Cursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
24 '18Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
25 '19Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
26 '20Cursed is he 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 20

  • 1. Joshua 8:30-32
  • 2. Deuteronomy 26:9
  • 3. Deuteronomy 11:29; Joshua 8:30
  • 4. Exodus 20:25; Joshua 8:31
  • 5. Deuteronomy 26:11
  • 6. Deuteronomy 11:29
  • 7. Joshua 8:33-35
  • 8. Exodus 20:4, 23; Exodus 34:17; Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 4:16, 23; Deuteronomy 5:8; Isaiah 44:9
  • 9. 1 Corinthians 14:16
  • 10. Exodus 20:12; Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 19:3; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 5:16; Ezekiel 22:7
  • 11. Deuteronomy 19:14; Proverbs 22:28
  • 12. Leviticus 19:14
  • 13. Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; Deuteronomy 10:18; Deuteronomy 24:17
  • 14. Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 20:11; Deuteronomy 22:30; 1 Corinthians 5:1
  • 15. Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23; Leviticus 20:15
  • 16. Leviticus 18:9; Leviticus 20:17
  • 17. Leviticus 20:14
  • 18. Exodus 21:12; Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:30, 31
  • 19. Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 15:5; Ezekiel 22:12
  • 20. Psalms 119:21; Jeremiah 11:3; Galatians 3:10

Footnotes 8

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

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