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The Assembly at Shechem

27 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Pay attention to all the commandments[a] I am giving[b] you today. When you cross the Jordan River[c] to the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must erect great stones and cover[d] them with plaster. 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,[e] said to you. So when you cross the Jordan you must erect on Mount Ebal[f] these stones about which I am commanding you today, and you must cover them with plaster. Then you must build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones—do not use an iron tool on them. You must build the altar of the Lord your God with whole stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Also you must offer fellowship offerings and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.”

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[g] and keep his commandments and statutes that I am giving you today.” 11 Moreover, Moses commanded the people that day: 12 “The following tribes[h] 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[i] with a loud voice: 15 ‘Cursed is the one[j] who makes a carved or metal image—something abhorrent[k] to the Lord, the work of the craftsman[l]—and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’[m] 16 ‘Cursed[n] is the one who disrespects[o] 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 goes to bed with[p] his father’s former wife,[q] for he dishonors his father.’[r] Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 21 ‘Cursed is the one who commits bestiality.’[s] Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 22 ‘Cursed is the one who goes to bed[t] with his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 23 ‘Cursed is the one who goes to bed[u] with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 24 ‘Cursed is the one who kills[v] 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!’

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 27:1 tn Heb “the whole commandment.” See note at 5:31.
  2. Deuteronomy 27:1 tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you today” (likewise in v. 10).
  3. Deuteronomy 27:2 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  4. Deuteronomy 27:2 tn Heb “plaster” (so KJV, ASV; likewise in v. 4). In the translation “cover” has been used for stylistic reasons.
  5. Deuteronomy 27:3 tn Heb “fathers.”
  6. Deuteronomy 27:4 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).
  7. Deuteronomy 27:10 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.
  8. Deuteronomy 27:12 tn The word “tribes” has been supplied here and in the following verse in the translation for clarity.
  9. Deuteronomy 27:14 tn Heb “Israelite man.”
  10. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Heb “man,” but in a generic sense here.
  11. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn The Hebrew term translated here “abhorrent” (תּוֹעֵבָה, toʿevah) 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.
  12. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Heb “craftsman’s hands.”
  13. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Or “So be it!” The term is an affirmation expressing agreement with the words of the Levites.
  14. Deuteronomy 27:16 tn The Levites speak again at this point; throughout this pericope the Levites pronounce the curse and the people respond with “Amen.”
  15. Deuteronomy 27:16 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).
  16. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn Heb “lies down with.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations (cf. NASB, NRSV “who lies with”; NIV “who sleeps with”; NLT “who has sexual intercourse with”).
  17. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn See note at Deut 22:30.
  18. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn Heb “he uncovers his father’s skirt” (NASB similar). See note at Deut 22:30.
  19. Deuteronomy 27:21 tn Heb “lies down with any animal.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations, the perversion in this case being bestiality.
  20. Deuteronomy 27:22 tn Heb “lies down with.” See note at v. 20.
  21. Deuteronomy 27:23 tn Heb “lies down with.” See note at v. 20.
  22. Deuteronomy 27:24 tn Or “strikes down” (so NRSV).

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