Contemporary English Version
Build an Altar on Mount Ebal
27 Moses 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 Soon you will enter the land that the Lord your God is giving to you. He is the God your ancestors worshiped, and he has promised that this land is rich with milk and honey.
After you cross the Jordan River, 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 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. 6 Look for stones that can be used without being cut. Then offer sacrifices to please the Lord,[a] burning them completely on the altar. 7 Next, offer sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing,[b] and serve the meat at a sacred meal where you will celebrate in honor of the Lord.
8 Don’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
9 Moses stood together with the priests[c] and said, “Israel, be quiet and listen to me! Today you have become the people of the Lord your God.[d] 10 So you must obey his laws and teachings that I am giving you.”
11 That same day, Moses gave them the following instructions:
12-13 After you cross the Jordan River, you will go to Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.[e] The tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Ephraim, Manasseh,[f] 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 The people of the Levi tribe will speak each curse in a loud voice, then the rest of the people[g] 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 property lines.
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!”
- 27.6 sacrifices to please the Lord: See the note at 12.5-19.
- 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.”
- 27.9 priests: See the note at 17.8-12.
- 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.
- 27.12,13 Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal: These mountains were separated by a valley.
- 27.12,13 Ephraim, Manasseh: The Hebrew text has “Joseph” ; the descendants of Joseph formed the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
- 27.14-26 the rest of the people: Or “all the people who are standing on Mount Ebal.”