DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 27.
The Law Established in Canaan.
THE STONE MONUMENT — V.1. And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day, namely, that which now follows. V.2. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster, to prepare them for the inscription which they were to receive, for the stones were apparently of great size, and a number of them could well receive the inscription intended for them; v.3. and thou shalt write upon them all the words of this Law, as the public confession of the children of Israel and as the norm of its entire life, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee. The purpose of the command was realized by inscribing at least the Ten Commandments, as the nucleus of the entire Mosaic Law, but it is probable that all the regulations of the Ceremonial Law were included. If Israel would keep this Law, then the people were to have the Land of Promise for a lasting possession. V.4. Therefore it shall be, when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones which I command you this day, in Mount Ebal, in the approximate center of the land, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster, either with gypsum or with lime. V.5. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord, thy God, an altar of stones; thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them, the stones were to be neither plastered nor hewn, Ex, 20, 22. V.6. Thou shalt build the altar of the Lord, thy God, of whole stones; and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, thy God, as expressing the entire and undivided devotion of Israel to Jehovah; v.7. and thou shalt offer peace-offerings, expressing the enjoyment of the fellowship with Jehovah and the confidence of salvation in Him, and shalt eat there, celebrate a sacrificial meal, and rejoice before the Lord, thy God. V.8. And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this Law very plainly, as a constant reminder to all the members of the nation. As the individual dwellings, so the whole land was to be holy to God, as a sanctuary of heavenly truth.
THE CURSE PRONOUNCED FROM MOUNT EBAL. — V.9. And Moses and the priests, the Levites, the children of Levi, spake unto all Israel, saying, take heed and hearken, listen very quietly, in order not to lose one word, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord, thy God, by the solemn establishing of the Law in Canaan the covenant with Jehovah was renewed. V.10. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord, thy God, and do His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day. This was the obligation which was laid upon Israel as the people of the covenant. V.11. And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, v.12. These shall stand upon Mount Gerizim, the mountain just south of Mount Ebal, separated from it by a narrow valley, to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin, the sons more highly esteemed in the family of Jacob; v.13. and these shall stand upon Mount Ebal to curse, to pronounce the curse upon the transgressors: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali, the sons of the handmaids and those less highly esteemed in the family of Jacob. V.14. And the Levites shall speak, the Levitical priests, the duty of whose position it was, and say unto all the men of Israel, assembled on the two mountains, with a loud voice, v.15. Cursed be them an that maketh any grave nor molten image, Ex. 20, 4. 23; 34, 17, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, Is. 44, 12. 13, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen, thus signifying their full assent to the curse. V.16. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother, Ex. 21, 17. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.17. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark, chap. 19, 14. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.18. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way, Lev. 19, 14. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.19. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow, chap. 24, 17. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.20. Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt, chap. 23, 1; Lev. 18, 8. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.21. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast, Lev. 18, 23. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.22. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, stepsister, half-sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother, Lev. 18, 9. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.23. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law, Lev. 18, 17. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.24. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbor secretly, Ex. 20, 13. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.25. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person, hired to commit cold-blooded murder, Ex. 23, 7. 8. And all the people shall say, Amen. V.26. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this Law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. This last curse, which condemns any and every transgression of the divine Law, shows that the individual cases mentioned in the preceding curses are only examples, and for the most part such as imply a secret transgression. The curses only are mentioned in this list, because it was the object of the Law to awaken a desire for the Messiah, who would take the curse away and bring the true blessing. We see here also that the office of the Law is that of proclaiming the divine curse and damnation, from which only He who became a curse for us is able to deliver all men, Gal. 3, 10. 13.