And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.
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 plaister them with plaister:
on the day
Houbigant and others are of opinion that the original words, wesadta othom beseed, should be rendered "thou shalt cement them with cement," because this was intended to be a durable monument. Some suppose that the writing was to be in relievo, and that the spaces were to be filled up by the mortar or cement; as is frequently the case with eastern inscriptions.
And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, 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.
This law probably means only the blessings and curses mentioned in this and the following chapter; which indeed contain an epitome of the whole law.
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, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister.
in mount Ebal
The Samaritan text has in mount Gerizim; which has given rise to a violent controversy. Dr. Kennicott suppose that the Jews corrupted this passage out of their enmity to the Samaritans, who had their temple on mount Gerizim; while Dr. Parry and H. Verschuir defend the present reading: to the writings of these authors the reader is referred.
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.
thou shalt not
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:
And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.
And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.
And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God.
Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.
These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:
upon mount Gerizim
Mount Gerizim and mount Ebal being only separated by a narrow valley, not above a furlong broad, what was spoken with a loud voice on the one might be heard on the other, (See Jud 9:7.) It is probable, however, that the particle ‚l should be rendered by, as it frequently signifies; for when this direction was reduced to practice, (Jos 8:33,) it seems that the people did not stand on the mountains, but over against them in the plain. But the Talmud says, that six tribes went up on each, while the priest and Levites and the ark remained beneath.
And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Heb. for a cursing. Reuben.
And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
To each of the curses the people were to say Amen, as well as to the blessings; to denote a profession of their faith in the truth of them, that they were the real declarations of the wrath of God; and an acknowledgement of the equity of these curses. It was such an imprecation upon themselves, as strongly obliged them to have nothing to do with those evil practices on which the curse is entailed. We read of those who entered a curse to walk in God's law. Ne 10:29. All the people, by saying this Amen, became bound one for another, that they would observe God's laws, by which every man was obliged, as far as he could, to prevent his neighbour from breaking these laws, and to reprove those that had offended, lest they should bear sin and the curse for them.
Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.