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Mountains of Blessings and Curses
Mount Ebal is a mountain in Samaria, in central Israel. It is 3,077 feet above sea level, and 1,200 feet above adjoining valley. It was located on the north side of the ancient city of Shechem. Mount Gerizim was to the south of Shechem on the other side of the valley, well within seeing distance of each other. Mount Ebal's rocky, barren appearance contrasted with the lush-covered Mount Gerizim; the difference was used in the ceremony to symbolize the blessings for those who obey God, and the curses for those who disobey. And friend, this standard still applies, as much now as at any other time during Bible History.
Moses' Instruction Before Israel Entered The Promised Land
Deut. 27:1-7 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. 2 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: 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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: 7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. (KJV) . . . How many stones is not specified, maybe 12, and maybe just enough to make a surface large enough to write the blessings and the curses upon. The stones were to be taken in their natural state, unhewn and unpolished. They were to be daubed over with paint or whitewash, to render them more conspicuous. Stones and even rocks are seen in Egypt and the peninsula of Sinai, containing inscriptions made 3000 years ago, in paint or plaister. It is most likely that Moses learned the art from the Egyptians.
The Tribes Were Divided On Gerizim and Ebal
Deut.27:11-15 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, 12 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: 13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, 15 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. (KJV) . . . Tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin stood on mount Gerizim to bless the people; while tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali stood on mount Ebal to curse the people.
The people of Israel were divided into two parts. On mount Gerizim (now Jebel-et-Tur) were the descendants of Rachel and Leah, the two main wives of Jacob. To them was assigned the pleasant and honorable job of declaring the blessings of those who obeyed God; while on the twin hill of Ebal (now Imad-el-Deen) were placed the descendants of the two secondary wives, Zilpah and Bilhah, with those of Reuben, who had sinned (Gen.35:22), and Zebulun, Leah's youngest son; to them was committed the necessary but painful job of declaring the curses that would be applied when anyone disobeyed God (Judges 9:7).
The six tribes appointed for blessing, were all children of the free women, for to such the Promise belongs (Gal 4:22-31). Preachers and teachers should apply to themselves the blessing and curse they preach to others, and by faith say and mean their own "Amen" to it. And too, most important, they must not only lure people to their duty with the promises of a blessing, but put the fear of God in them with the promised threats of the curses, by stating that a curse would be upon those who disobeyed. To each of the curses the people were to say, Amen. It professed their faith and agreement to what was said, that these curses were really declarations of the wrath of God against ungodliness and unrighteousness. Those who did/do such things deserve to fall under the curse.
Deut. 27:15 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. (KJV) . . . Previous laws had already prohibited all these things; and punishment was understood; but here God clearly states that anyone who breaks them is cursed, and falls under the wrath of his Maker and Judge. (Ex.20:4). Even though a man put his image (idol) in a secret place; means that those who try such deceptive folly, by trying to hide their sins by this means, will NOT get by with it. Many people today go to church to supposedly 'worship' the True God, while they possess an image in a secret place. So many secret sins that one day shall be brought into the light! (1 Cor.4:5). Though men could not see or punish this sin, they make their own selves their own condemners and executioners. God sees all and knows all We cannot hide anything from Him (Heb.4:12)
Deut.27:16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Anyone who makes light of or despises in his heart his parents, or reproach or curse them secretly, was punished with death (Lev.20:9).
Deut.27:17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . To defraud your neighbour, or enlarge your own property was/is wrong! (Deut.19:14; Ex.20:17).
Deut.27:18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Misleading simple souls, giving them destructive counsel, either for this life or for the one to come. This is a sin against the sixth commandment (Ex.20:13).
Deut.27:19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Anyone who transgresses the Law, in some way destroys and makes void the Law of God, for it was given to guide us in right paths. (Deut. 27:19; 10:18; 14:29; 16:11,14; 24:17-21; 26:12-13; Ex. 22:22-24).
Deut.27:20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Adultery is a sin (Ex.20:14). Adultery with a father's wife (Gen. 35:22; 49:3-4; Deut. 27:20; 22:30; Lev. 18:8; 20:11; 1Chr. 5:1-2; 2Cor.5).
Deut.27:21 Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Bestiality, having sex with an animal is an abomination to God (Deut. 27:21; Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18:23; 20:15).
Deut.27: 22 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. (KJV) . . . Adultery with a sister was/is prohibited (Deut. 27:22; Lev. 18:9; 20:17).
Deut.27:23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Adultery with a mother-in-law was/is prohibited (Deut. 27:23; Lev. 18:17; 20:14).
Deut. 27:24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Murder is a horrible sin (Deut. 27:24; Ex. 20:13; 21:12; 1 John 3:15).
Deut.27:25 Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Bribery was common place then and now, but it is a sin, whether it leads to murder or not (Deut. 27:25; 10:17; 16:19; Ex. 23:7-8; Ps. 15:5). Murder (Deut. 27:24; Ex. 20:13; 21:12; 1 John 3:15).
Deut.27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. (KJV) . . . Rebelling against God and His Holy Word will only bring God's wrath down on you, then and NOW! (Deut. 27:26; 5:1; 6:3-25; 11:22).
This solemn ceremony most likely took place on the lower parts of the mountains, where the people would be closer to each other. From what I can gather, these two mountains were in a sort of semi-circle with a valley between them, where the Priests stood and shouted out the commands to those up on the mountains.
In the midst of the silent and solemn assembly of Israelites, the priests standing around the ark in the valley below, would say loudly, looking to Gerizim, "Blessed is the man that maketh not any graven image." Then when the people on that hill responded in agreeing shouts of "Amen". Then they turning around to Ebal, would cry out, "Cursed is the man that maketh any graven image". The multitude on that mountain would then answer: "Amen." The same was done with all the blessings and curses (Josh.8:33-34).
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin were the children of the free-women, Leah and Rachel, to show that the blessings are above the curses, and that the blessings belong only to those who as are rightly so, as this is explained and applied (Gal.4:22-31) . . . only to those who receive the Spirit of adoption and liberty.
The tribe of Joseph is placed here for both his sons and tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, which are here considered as one tribe, because Levi is here numbered. But when Levi is omitted, as it is when the division of the land is made, there Manasseh and Ephraim stand for two tribes.
Though the blessings listed were especially for the nation of Israel, the curses were undetermined and and common to ALL nations, as it seems to appear from the particular sins named, which make the Gentiles just as guilty and abominable to God. ALL people will one day be judged as to their obedience OR disobedience to God! Let us really consider what is being said here.
Gad, Asher, Dan and Naphtali, are the children of the bond-women, to show that the curse belongs to those of insincere, hypocritical spirits to God. With these are joined Reuben, who by his shameful sin fell from honor (Gen.49:4), and Zebulun, as the youngest of Leah's children, who was necessary to be joined with those, that the numbers might be equal.
The Levite priests bare the ark, as is clearly stated (Josh.8:33), while the body of the Levites stood upon Mount Gerizim (Deut.27:12). The priests stood in the valley between the mountains, looking towards one or the other mountain as they stated either the blessings or the curses, as may be gathered from Josh.8:33. The priests spoke with a loud voice (verse 14), so they could be heard by the massive number of people.
Amen = let it be so: I wish this curse may befall me, if I be guilty of this crime (Num.5:22; Jer.11:5).
There are many sins that are not mentioned in verses 15-26. No one who was guilty of other sins, not mentioned there, should think they were safe from the curses, for God sees and knows all! Not only those who do any evil that the God's law forbids, BUT those who omit any good that the Law requires will be held guilty. A sin of omission is just as bad as a sin of commission. Only with the atoning Blood of Christ can sinners have fellowship with a Most Holy God, or do any thing that is acceptable to Him!
God's righteous Law condemns every one who, at any time, in any place, in any thing, who transgresses it. Under the Law's horrid curse we stay transgressors; UNTIL the redemption of Christ is applied to our hearts. Wherever God's amazing grace brings salvation, it teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live righteously and humbly in this present world, agreeing with and delighting in the Words of God's law. Only in this holy walk with Jesus, can we ever have true peace, joy and be completely content, trusting the Lord in all things. We as Christians have our commands from our precious Saviour and Lord. Matthew 22:36-40 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV) . . . Jesus' words.. . . Our commands simply boil down to one little four letter word: LOVE! IF we live with godly love toward others, we will NEVER do harm to anyone! Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV) . . . Jesus' words. . . . This is the all Scripture in a nutshell! It is an incomparable summary! James well calls it "the royal law!" (Jam.2:8). We are simply to love our neighbor as our self! (Rom.13:9). IF we do this, NO curses will come to us. It is a Promise from God! And He cannot lie (Tit.1:2).
Blessings? or Curses? Which is it for you?
Blessings and/or Curses
Blessings, Curses, Mountains of
Blessings IF . . . Curses IF!
Blessings, Free Will To Choose
Blessings from God
Blessings Promised to the Righteous
Blessings Promised By God
Blessings to Abraham
BEWARE!!! . . . ??Hundred-Fold Blessings?? . . . BEWARE!!!