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scripture

 

CHAPTER 27

The Altar on Mount Ebal. 1Then Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people, saying: Keep this whole commandment which I give you today. 2On the day you cross the Jordan into the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. 3Write on them,a at the time you cross, all the words of this law, so that you may enter the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4When you cross the Jordan, on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones concerning which I command you today, and coat them with plaster, 5b and you shall build there an altar to the LORD, your God, an altar made of stones that no iron tool has touched. 6You shall build this altar of the LORD, your God, with unhewn stones, and shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD, your God. 7You shall also offer communion sacrifices* and eat them there, rejoicing in the presence of the LORD, your God. 8On the stones you shall inscribe all the words of this law very clearly.

9Moses, with the levitical priests, then said to all Israel: Be silent, Israel, and listen! This day you have become the people of the LORD, your God.c 10You shall obey the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes which I am giving you today.

Preparation for Blessings and Curses. 11That same day Moses commanded the people, saying: 12d When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.

The Twelve Curses. 14The Levites shall proclaim in a loud voice to all the Israelites: 15* “Cursed be anyone who makes a carved or molten idol,e an abomination to the LORD, the work of a craftsman’s hands, and sets it up in secret!” And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

16“Cursed be anyone who dishonors father or mother!”f And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

17“Cursed be anyone who moves a neighbor’s boundary markers!”g And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

18“Cursed be anyone who misleads the blind on their way!”h And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

19“Cursed be anyone who deprives the resident alien, the orphan or the widow of justice!”i And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

20“Cursed be anyone who has relations with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed!”j And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

21“Cursed be anyone who has relations with any animal!”k And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

22“Cursed be anyone who has relations with his sister, whether his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter!”l And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

23“Cursed be anyone who has relations with his mother-in-law!”m And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

24“Cursed be anyone who strikes down a neighbor in secret!”n And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

25“Cursed be anyone who accepts payment to kill an innocent person!”o And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

26“Cursed be anyone whose actions do not uphold the words of this law!”p And all the people shall answer, “Amen!”

* [27:7] Communion sacrifices: The principal feature of this ritual (see Lv 3:117) is the sharing of the sacrifice with God, the priest and the person offering the sacrifice, who eat it as a holy thing (cf. Ex 24:5).

* [27:1526] The ceremony described here reflects the structure of covenant. The people assent to the directives their covenant Lord sets forth; their “Amen” ratifies the proscription of idolatry, injustice, incest, murder, and infidelity in general. Thus the “love” of the Lord which is at the heart of Israel’s existence as his covenant people (6:45) is spelled out in terms of particular actions. The “Amen” is an acceptance of the curses or sanctions entailed by breaking faith with the Lord. Cf. 30:1520, a concise statement of covenant theology.

a. [27:3] Jos 8:32.

b. [27:57] Ex 20:2425; Jos 8:3031.

c. [27:9] Dt 26:1719.

d. [27:1213] Dt 11:2629; Jos 8:3335.

e. [27:15] Dt 4:1520; 5:89; Ex 20:4, 23; 34:17; Lv 19:4; 26:1; Ps 115:48; Wis 14:8.

f. [27:16] Dt 5:16; 21:1821; Ex 20:12; 21:17; Lv 20:9.

g. [27:17] Dt 19:14.

h. [27:18] Lv 19:14.

i. [27:19] Dt 24:1718; Ex 22:2124; 23:9; Lv 19:3334.

j. [27:20] Dt 23:1; Lv 18:78; 20:11.

k. [27:21] Ex 22:18; Lv 18:23; 20:1516.

l. [27:22] Lv 18:9; 20:17.

m. [27:23] Lv 18:17; 20:14.

n. [27:24] Dt 5:17; 21:1; Ex 20:13; 21:12; Nm 35:2021.

o. [27:25] Dt 16:19; Ex 23:78.

p. [27:26] Jer 11:3; Gal 3:10.






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