Build an altar on Mount Ebal
1Moses stood together with the leaders and told the people of Israel:
Obey all the laws and teachings that I am giving you today. 2-4#Josh 8.30–32Soon you will enter the land that the Lord your God is giving to you. He is the God your ancestors worshipped, and he has promised that this land is rich with milk and honey.
After you cross the River Jordan, go to Mount Ebal. Set up large slabs of stone, then cover them with white plaster and write on them a copy of these laws.
5 # Exod 20.25 At this same place, build an altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God. But don't use stones that have been cut with iron tools. 6Look for stones that can be used without being cut. Then offer sacrifices to please the Lord,#27.6 sacrifices to please the Lord: See the note at 12.5–19. burning them completely on the altar. 7Next, offer sacrifices to ask the Lord's blessing,#27.7 sacrifices to ask the Lord's blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “peace offerings” or “offerings of well-being”. A main purpose was to ask for the Lord's blessing, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called “sacrifices to ask the Lord's blessing”. and serve the meat at a sacred meal where you will celebrate in honour of the Lord.
8Don't forget to write out a copy of these laws on the stone slabs that you are going to set up. Make sure that the writing is easy to read.
Curses on those who disobey
9Moses stood together with the priests#27.9 priests: See the note at 17.8–12. and said, “Israel, be quiet and listen to me! Today you have become the people of the Lord your God.#27.9 Today you have become the people of the Lord your God: As a result of the agreement that the Lord had made with them, recorded in 26.16–19. 10So you must obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you.”
11That same day, Moses gave them the following instructions:
12-13 # Deut 11.29Josh 8.33–35 After you cross the River Jordan, you will go to Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.#27.12,13 Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal: These mountains were separated by a valley. The tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Ephraim, Manasseh,#27.12,13 Ephraim, Manasseh: The Hebrew text has “Joseph”; the descendants of Joseph formed the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. and Benjamin will go up on Mount Gerizim, where they will bless the people of Israel. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali will go up on Mount Ebal where they will agree to the curses.
14-26 # Exod 20.4Exod 34.17Lev 19.4Lev 26.1Deut 4.15–18Deut 5.8 # Exod 20.12Deut 5.16 # Deut 19.14 # Lev 19.14 # Exod 22.21Exod 23.9Lev 19.3334Deut 24.1718 # Lev 18.8Lev 20.11Deut 22.30 # Exod 22.19Lev 18.23Lev 20.15 # Lev 18.9Lev 20.17 # Lev 18.17Lev 20.14 # Gal 3.10 The people of the Levi tribe will speak each curse in a loud voice, then the rest of the people#27.14–26 the rest of the people: Or “all the people who are standing on Mount Ebal”. will agree to that curse by saying, “Amen!” Here are the curses:
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who makes an idol or worships idols, even secretly. The Lord is disgusted with idols.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on all who do not show respect for their father and mother.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who moves the rocks that mark boundaries.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who tells blind people to go the wrong way.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who keeps the poor from getting justice, whether these poor are foreigners, widows, or orphans.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on any man who sleeps with his father's wife; that man has shown no respect for his father's marriage.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who has sex with an animal.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on any man who sleeps with his sister or his half-sister or his mother-in-law.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who commits murder, even when there are no witnesses to the crime.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who accepts money to murder an innocent victim.
We ask the Lord to put a curse on anyone who refuses to obey his laws.
And so, to each of these curses, the people will answer, “Amen!”