Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deuteronomy 27:1–8

Deuteronomy 27:1–8: The Altar on Mount Ebal


This is another short passage, which is really just setting up the next couple of passages. In a way. But not really. I was going to just quote it verbatim, as I sometimes do, but I think I get more out of these blog postings if I talk about what’s happening, instead of just copying the text and pasting it here.

First off, Moses and the elders command the people to obey all of the commands that have been given to them. (I assume this means all of the laws that we’ve read about, in the book of Deuteronomy.)

Once the Israelites have crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they are to get some large stones, cover them in plaster, and write all of the words of the law on them. (They’ll have to be very large stones. Or there will have to be a lot of them. Especially since verse 8 instructs the people that the words of the law are to be written “very clearly.”) They are to set the stones up on Mount Ebal. (I tried looking for Mount Ebal on BibleMap.org, to show where it is, but it didn’t recognize it.)

They are also to set up an altar on Mount Ebal, made of stones—specifically, “fieldstones” (verse 6). (They aren’t allowed to use iron tools on the stones.) Once the altar is set up, they are to offer fellowship offerings there, and eat the offerings and rejoice in the presence of the LORD.


When the Israelites finally enter the Promised Land, the first thing they are to do is rejoice. And not just to rejoice at what the LORD has done for them, but simply to rejoice in His presence.

I’m not sure why they weren’t allowed to use iron tools on the stones they used for their altar. This isn’t the only case where this rule is given, there have been—or will be, I can’t remember which—other altars where they weren’t supposed to use iron tools.

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