The Assembly at Shechem
1 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Pay attention to all the commandments#tn Heb “the whole commandment.” See note at 5:31. I am giving#tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you today” (likewise in v. 10). you today. 2 When you cross the Jordan River#tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarity. to the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must erect great stones and cover#tn Heb “plaster” (so KJV, ASV; likewise in v. 4). In the translation “cover” has been used for stylistic reasons. them with plaster. 3 Then you must inscribe on them all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors,#tn Heb “fathers.” said to you. 4 So when you cross the Jordan you must erect on Mount Ebal#tc Smr reads “Mount Gerizim” for the MT reading “Mount Ebal” to justify the location of the Samaritan temple there in the postexilic period. This reading is patently self-serving and does not reflect the original. In the NT when the Samaritan woman of Sychar referred to “this mountain” as the place of worship for her community she obviously had Gerizim in mind (cf. John 4:20). these stones about which I am commanding you today, and you must cover them with plaster. 5 Then you must build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones – do not use an iron tool on them. 6 You must build the altar of the Lord your God with whole stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. 7 Also you must offer fellowship offerings and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. 8 You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.”
9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel: “Be quiet and pay attention, Israel. Today you have become the people of the Lord your God. 10 You must obey him#tn Heb “listen to the voice of the Lord your God.” Here “listen” (NAB “hearken”) means “obey” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. and keep his commandments and statutes that I am giving you today.” 11 Moreover, Moses commanded the people that day: 12 “The following tribes#tn The word “tribes” has been supplied here and in the following verse in the translation for clarity. must stand to bless the people on Mount Gerizim when you cross the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these other tribes must stand for the curse on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
The Covenant Curses
14 “The Levites will call out to every Israelite#tn Heb “Israelite man.” with a loud voice: 15 ‘Cursed is the one#tn Heb “man,” but in a generic sense here. who makes a carved or metal image – something abhorrent#tn The Hebrew term translated here “abhorrent” (תּוֹעֵבָה, to’evah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25. to the Lord, the work of the craftsman#tn Heb “craftsman’s hands.” – and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’#tn Or “So be it!” The term is an affirmation expressing agreement with the words of the Levites. 16 ‘Cursed#tn The Levites speak again at this point; throughout this pericope the Levites pronounce the curse and the people respond with “Amen.” is the one who disrespects#tn The Hebrew term קָלָה (qalah) means to treat with disdain or lack of due respect (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV “dishonors”; NLT “despises”). It is the opposite of כָּבֵד (kaved, “to be heavy,” that is, to treat with reverence and proper deference). To treat a parent lightly is to dishonor him or her and thus violate the fifth commandment (Deut 5:16; cf. Exod 21:17). his father and mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 17 ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 18 ‘Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 19 ‘Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 20 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with#tn Heb “who lies with” (so NASB, NRSV); also in vv. 22, 23. This is a Hebrew idiom for having sexual relations (cf. NIV “who sleeps with”; NLT “who has sexual intercourse with”). his father’s former wife,#tn See note at Deut 22:30. for he dishonors his father.’#tn Heb “he uncovers his father’s skirt” (NASB similar). See note at Deut 22:30. Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 21 ‘Cursed is the one who commits bestiality.’#tn Heb “lies with any animal” (so NASB, NRSV). “To lie with” is a Hebrew euphemism for having sexual relations with someone (or in this case, some animal). Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 22 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 23 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 24 ‘Cursed is the one who kills#tn Or “strikes down” (so NRSV). his neighbor in private.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 26 ‘Cursed is the one who refuses to keep the words of this law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’