Deuteronomy 27

1 Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep all the commandment which I command you today. 2 It shall be on the day when you shall pass over the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God gives you, that you shall set yourself up great stones, and coat them with plaster. 3 You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have passed over; that you may go in to the land which the LORD your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you. 4 It shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, that you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall coat them with plaster. 5 There you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. You shall not use any iron tool on them. 6 You shall build the LORD your God’s altar of uncut stones. You shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God. 7 You shall sacrifice peace offerings, and shall eat there. You shall rejoice before the LORD your God. 8 You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” 9 Moses and the priests the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silence, and listen, Israel! Today you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the LORD your God’s voice, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.” 11 Moses commanded the people the same day, saying, 12 “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 These shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 With a loud voice, the Levites shall say to all the men of Israel, 15 ‘Cursed is the man who makes an engraved or molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ All the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’ 16 ‘Cursed is he who dishonors his father or his mother.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 17 ‘Cursed is he who removes his neighbor’s landmark.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 18 ‘Cursed is he who leads the blind astray on the road.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 19 ‘Cursed is he who withholds justice from the foreigner, fatherless, and widow.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 20 ‘Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife, because he dishonors his father’s bed.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 21 ‘Cursed is he who lies with any kind of animal.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 22 ‘Cursed is he who lies with his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 23 ‘Cursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 24 ‘Cursed is he who secretly kills his neighbor.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 25 ‘Cursed is he who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ 26 ‘Cursed is he who doesn’t uphold the words of this law by doing them.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–10

As soon as they were come into Canaan, they must set up a monument, on which they must write the words of this law. They must set up an altar. The word and prayer must go together. Though they might not, of their own heads, set up any altar besides that at the tabernacle; yet, by the appointment of God, they might, upon special occasion. This altar must be made of unhewn stones, such as they found upon the field. Christ, our Altar, is a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, refused by the builders, as having no form or comeliness, but accepted of God the Father, and made the Head of the corner. In the Old Testament the words of the law are written, with the curse annexed; which would overcome us with horror, if we had not, in the New Testament, an altar erected close by, which gives consolation. Blessed be God, the printed copies of the Scriptures among us, do away the necessity of such methods as were presented to Israel. The end of the gospel ministry is, and the end of preachers ought to be, to make the word of God as plain as possible. Yet, unless the Spirit of God prosper such labours with Divine power, we shall not, even by these means, be made wise unto salvation: for this blessing we should therefore daily and earnestly pray.

Verses 11–26

The six tribes appointed for blessing, were all children of the free women, for to such the promise belongs, Ga 4:31. Levi is here among the rest. Ministers should apply to themselves the blessing and curse they preach to others, and by faith set their own Amen to it. And they must not only allure people to their duty with the promises of a blessing, but awe them with the threatenings of a curse, by declaring that a curse would be upon those who do such things. To each of the curses the people were to say, Amen. It professed their faith, that these, and the like curses, were real declarations of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, not one jot of which shall fall to the ground. It was acknowledging the equity of these curses. Those who do such things deserve to fall, and lie under the curse. Lest those who were guilty of other sins, not here mentioned, should think themselves safe from the curse, the last reaches all. Not only those who do the evil which the law forbids, but those also who omit the good which the law requires. Without the atoning blood of Christ, sinners can neither have communion with a holy God, nor do any thing acceptable to him; his righteous law condemns every one who, at any time, or in any thing, transgresses it. Under its awful curse we remain as transgressors, until the redemption of Christ is applied to our hearts. Wherever the grace of God brings salvation, it teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, consenting to, and delighting in the words of God’s law, after the inward man. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found.

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