Deuteronomy 27:15
Cursed is the man who makes a carved idol or molten image--an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of a craftsman--and sets it up in secret.' And let all the people say, 'Amen!'
Ebal and GerizimJ. Orr Deuteronomy 27:11-26
ResponsesR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 27:11-26
The Decalogue Nationally ReciprocatedD. Davies Deuteronomy 27:11-26
Against Imposing on the IgnorantJ. Jortin, D. D.Deuteronomy 27:15-26
AmenJames Cochrane, M. A.Deuteronomy 27:15-26
The Landmarks of FaithOriginal Secession MagazineDeuteronomy 27:15-26

This ceremony turns on the idea of the Law as primarily entailing a curse. Blessings and curses were both to be recited (vers. 12, 13). But the curse seems to have been first pronounced, and it only is given in the record. It has the lead in the transaction. The explanation is obvious. Ver. 26 shows that, in strictness, none can escape the curse (Psalm 130:3; Galatians 3:10). A blessing is pronounced from Gerizim, but it is abortive, as depending on a condition which no sinner can fulfill. Hence:

1. The stones are all placed on Ebal.

2. All the sons of the bondwomen are placed on that mount (cf. Galatians 4:21-31).

This is preferable to supposing that prominence is given to the curse, inasmuch as, under law, fear rather than love is the motive relied on to secure obedience. The appeal to fear is itself an evidence that "the law is not made for a righteous man" (1 Timothy 1:9). It brings strikingly to light the inherent weakness of the economy (Romans 8:3). When a Law, the essence of which is love, requires to lean on curses to enforce it, the unlikelihood of getting it obeyed is tolerably manifest. As an actually working system, the Mosaic economy, while availing itself of the Law to awaken consciousness of sin and to keep men in the path of virtue, drew its strength for holiness, not from the Law, but from the revelations of love and grace which lay within and behind it. We learn -

I. THAT THE LAW IS COMPREHENSIVE OF EVERY PART OF OUR DUTY. A variety of sins are mentioned as examples. They relate to all departments of duty - duty to God and duty to man. The list is avowedly representative (ver. 26). Note:

1. That it covers a large part of the Decalogue. The first table is fairly represented by the second commandment, and a curse is pronounced on the making and worshipping of images (ver. 15). The precepts of the second table are involved in the other verses - the fifth commandment in the curse on filial disrespect (ver. 16), the sixth in the curse on murder (ver. 24), the seventh in the curses on the grosser forms of uncleanness (vers. 20-23); the eighth in the curse on removing the landmark (ver. 17); the ninth in the, curse on slaying another for reward, which may include perjury (ver. 25); while vers. 19:19 may be viewed as forbidding breaches of the law of love generally.

2. That the sins against which the curses are directed are mostly secret sins. The Law searches the heart.

3. That the usual care is shown for the interests of the defenseless (vers. 18, 19). It is touching, in the heart of so awful a malediction, to find this tender love for the blind, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow. Wrath and love in God are close of kin.

II. THAT A CURSE WAITS ON EVERY VIOLATION OF THE LAW'S PRECEPTS. The position of Scripture is that every sin, great and small, subjects the sinner to God's wrath and curse. It derives this truth, not, as some have sought to derive it, from the metaphysical notion of sin's infinite demerit, as committed against an infinite God; but from its own deep view of sin, as involving a change, a deflection, an alteration, in its effects of infinite moment, in the very center of man's being. There is no sin of slight turpitude. A holy being, to become capable of sin, must admit a principle into his heart totally foreign to the holy condition, and subversive of it. In this sense, he that offends in one point is guilty of all (James 2:10, 11). Sin is in him, and on a being with sin in him the Law can pronounce but one sentence. His life is polluted, and, being polluted, is forfeited. The curse involves the cutting of the sinner off from life and favor, with subjection to the temporal, spiritual, and eternal penalties of transgression. The denial of this article leaves no single important doctrine of the gospel unaffected; the admission of it carries with it all the rest. It gives its complexion to a whole theology.


(1) An assent to the conditions of life proposed.

(2) A recognition of the righteousness of them.

The Law declares God's judgment against sin. And this:

1. Is echoed by the conscience. Fitfully, reluctantly, intermittently, yet truly, even by the natural conscience. The Amen" is implied in every pang of remorse, in every feeling of self-condemnation. Every time we do that we would not, we consent unto the Law that it is good (Romans 3:16). The very heathen know the "judgment of God, that they which commit such things" as are here specified "are worthy of death" (Romans 1:32). But it needs the spiritually convinced heart to render this "Amen hearty and sincere. The true penitent justifies God and condemns himself (Psalm 51.).

2. Was acknowledged by Christ as our Sin-bearer. In Christ's atonement, it has been truly remarked, there must have been a perfect 'Amen in humanity to the judgment of God on the sin of man. Such an 'Amen' was due to the truth of things. He who was the Truth could not be in humanity and not utter it - and it was necessarily a first step in dealing with the Father on our behalf" (J. McLeod Campbell).

3. Will yet be joined in by the whole universe (Revelation 15:2; Revelation 17:1, 2).

CONCLUSION. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13). In him no condemnation (Romans 8:1). - J.O.

Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.
Original Secession Magazine.
The landmarks of faith are just the truth which God has revealed to men, and the duty which He requires of them. Among the sins, the criminality of which it was the will of God should be deeply impressed on the minds of the children of Israel, that of removing the ancient landmarks was one. The reference manifestly is to landmarks that were set up, when the land of Canaan was divided among the tribes and families of Israel; to determine the boundaries of the portion belonging to each individual family, or tribe. This is a kind of crime which is spoken of and pointedly prohibited in other parts of Scripture as well as that quoted above. (Proverbs 22:28.) God saw meet to employ men of high character in the division made of the land, and that division He so sanctioned that it was His will that it should be maintained throughout the successive generations of Israel. But however great a crime it was to remove any of these landmarks, the criminality of the removal of such landmarks and its evil consequences were exceedingly small compared with the guilt that has been and is being contracted by the removal of the landmarks of faith. The dishonour done to God, and the injury to society by the one form of wickedness, is as nothing compared with the other. Of this there is ample illustration and confirmation furnished in the past history of our fallen world. The landmarks of faith were set up progressively by God Himself in the special revelation which He was pleased to give to men regarding His own character and will in relation to doctrine and practice; to the truth to be believed and the duty to be performed to Him and to one another. In most cases, though not in all, the removal of those Divinely erected landmarks has been a gradual process. Of Abraham God said, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Genesis 18:19). By this patriarch we can have no doubt the landmarks of faith as to truth and duty were faithfully set up in his household, both by precept and instruction, commended by the best example. But except in the line of Jacob, how speedily did these come to be removed among all the other branches of his posterity. His son Ishmael, and his children by Keturah, as well as Isaac, were no doubt highly favoured in their early years with the advantages of earnest paternal counsel. Reminiscences of this behoved to follow them to their respective places of sojourn and location. But the light which might thus shine for a time became gradually more and mole obscure, till at length there was scarcely anything left to distinguish them from the other branches of Noah's descendants, who had at an earlier date sunk into that state of moral debasement which is inseparable from idolatry. How brief the time during which these landmarks stood up erect in the days of David and the first years of the reign of his son Solomon! In the history of Judah we see the same issues realised so far as a similar course was pursued in that kingdom; and in the conduct of the Jews after their restoration from the Babylonish captivity, when the landmarks of faith were set up anew among them — by such notable instruments as Ezra and Nehemiah — and to which they bound themselves to adhere by solemn covenant. How soon did they also fall back and become hardened in unbelief. Again, at the era of the glorious Reformation from Popery, God graciously interposed for a blissful restoration of the widely obliterated landmarks of faith in a number of the nations of Europe. Distinguished instruments were simultaneously raised up in different countries, by whom these were anew set up in a remarkable degree of conformity to the Divine pattern. These, alas, have been, to a very lamentable extent, practically removed in all the Reformed Churches on the Continent — in France, Switzerland, Holland, and Germany.

(Original Secession Magazine.)

I. A LESSON OF ACQUIESCENCE IN THE DIVINE LAW. "Amen" is understood to denote truth or certainty. Such, without doubt, was its signification here. The leading principles of the moral law were then being enunciated, in the hearing of all the people, and in token that these met with their acquiescence, they were to superadd the emphatic "Amen." Now, every believer knows that the God in whom we live and move, is a God of infinite holiness, and that the Scripture is filled with precepts which every responsible creature is bound to carry into hourly practice. "Be ye holy, for I am holy" — "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them — "Except your righteousness shall exceed" — such are precepts whose import may not be misunderstood, leaving it as one of the dearest and most intelligible of Gospel maxims that to God's moral law the Christian is called upon to append his sanction — his solemn "Amen."

1. The Christian Church is not placed under the law, as a covenant of works. An acquiescence, therefore, in the moral law, or of our saying "Amen" to every one of its precepts, does not imply that we have elevated these to be the conditions of our salvation, or the grounds of an acceptance before God.

2. This does not stand in the way of an acknowledging the surpassing excellency of every such precept. The law may in itself be good and holy, although we cannot keep it — just as the light of the sun's meridian splendour may be pure and glorious, although there are eyes too weak to bear it. And this we affirm.

3. We must consider the law as still the rule of our life. Our inability to realise the lofty standard of holiness indicated in the Decalogue, no more releases us from our obligation to perform it, than the mere declaration of bankruptcy cancels a debt, discharges the conscience from the duty of paying it, should there be ability to do so at any future time, or authorises a man to contract fresh obligations with the secret purpose of getting quit of them by a similar process.

4. As Christians, we are necessarily anticipating a restoration to that moral perfection which the law requires.

II. A LESSON OF CONFORMITY TO THE DIVINE METHOD OF SALVATION. Momentous, of course, are the effects which ensue upon the acceptance or rejection, but everyone who listens to the overtures of the Gospel does so in the attitude of an independent and rational being. There is no restraint, no compulsion. "My son, give Me thine heart," is, indeed, the impressive demand; but we ought to know, that if we choose to risk the fearful consequences of embracing the alternative, there is no constraining influence compelling us to believe against our will. The thing, indeed, is impossible. Faith is a voluntary, act; and this is the most important principle suggested by the text, that to God's method of salvation, our heart, in the hour of regeneration, must respond with an unreserved and cordial "Amen."

III. A LESSON OF SUBMISSION TO GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL DISPENSATIONS. It is obvious to even the natural judgment of man, that, of all methods of meeting the calamities which flesh is heir to, the worst is to murmur and oppose. Not only does this involve the turpitude of virtual rebellion against the authority of heaven; it positively adds to and renders more poignant the distresses we are called upon to endure. It were folly to imagine, for a single instant, that affliction can be thereby either mitigated or removed. The dying soldier may cherish the fiercest resentment against the enemy who has smitten him, but that resentment will not heal the deadly wound. The chances are that death will be thereby precipitated. So is it with our calamities. Whether we will or no, these will descend upon us; and our spiritual enemies can desire no greater victory over us than that these should crush and drive us to despair. Submission, then, is the lesson inculcated upon us by the afflictive dispensations of God. Whatever these may be, let the tendency of the Christian's heart be to acknowledge them with a cordial "Amen." Peace will be his in the present. He will experimentally know the meaning of that apostolic paradox, "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"; in the world's chastisements realise a pledge of his heavenly Father's love; and anticipate with gladness unspeakable the approval of that blissful era when "God the Lord shall wipe away," etc.


(James Cochrane, M. A.)

That maketh the blind to wander out of the way
In this chapter, curses are pronounced against several heinous crimes, such as idolatry, contempt of parents, murder, rapine, and the like; and amongst these crimes is mentioned this, of causing the blind to go out of their way; a wickedness of a singular nature, and which one would not expect to find in this list of vicious actions. It is a crime which is seldom committed; there are few opportunities for it; there is little temptation to it: it is doing mischief for mischief's sake, an enormity to which few can easily bring themselves. We may therefore reasonably suppose that more is intended than barely to condemn those who should lead a blind man out of his way. And what that may be, it is not difficult to discover. Blindness in all languages is put for error and ignorance; and, in the style of the Scriptures, ways and paths, and walking, running, going, wandering astray, stumbling, falling, mean the actions and the behaviour of men. These obvious observations will lead us to the moral, mystical, spiritual, and enlarged sense of the law, or commination; and it is this: Cursed is he who imposeth upon the simple, the credulous, the unwary, the ignorant, and the helpless; and either hurts, or defrauds, or deceives, or seduces, or misinforms, or misleads, or perverts, or corrupts and spoils them.

1. As to the ministers of the Gospel, they may be said to mislead the blind when, instead of endeavouring to instruct and amend their hearers, they deal in false opinions, or unintelligible doctrines, or unprofitable disputes, or uncharitable reproofs, or personal reflections, or flattery, or in any subjects foreign from religion and void of edification; much more when they teach things of an evil tendency, and which may have a bad influence on the minds and manners of the people.

2. In all our worldly affairs and intercourse with others, as we ought to act fairly, justly towards every person, so more especially ought we to behave towards those whom we might injure with impunity, that is, without danger of being called to account for it in this life.

3. As nations subsist by trade, so trade subsists by integrity. In commerce upright dealing is an indispensable duty, and defrauding is a vice. But if it be a fault to make unreasonable advances in our dealings even with those who are skilful as ourselves, it is far worse to impose upon the ignorant and the necessitous, and to wrong those who have a good opinion of us, and place an entire confidence in us.

4. Of the same bad nature is giving wrong counsel and hurtful advice, knowingly and wilfully, to those who have an opinion of our superior skill, and apply to us for direction. As likewise all dishonesty in offices of trust and confidence.

5. To take bad courses, to keep bad company, to be vicious amongst the vicious, dissolute amongst the dissolute — this is confessedly a great fault. But yet there is a greater, which is, to seek out the weak, the young, the ignorant, the unsteadfast, to instill bad principles into them, to entice them to sin, to spoil an honest disposition, to seduce an innocent mind, to rob an unspotted person of virtue, of honour and reputation, of peace of mind, of a quiet conscience, and perhaps of all happiness present and future. This is not an ordinary offence; it is to be agents and assisters to the devil, and to do his work and imitate his example. It is a crime attended with this terrible circumstance, that even repentance itself can be attended with no suitable reparation to the injured person.

(J. Jortin, D. D.).

Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Levi, Levites, Moses, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun
Beth-baal-peor, Jordan River, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim
Abomination, Amen, Artificer, Carves, Casts, Craftsman, Craftsman's, Cursed, Detestable, Disgusting, Engraved, Graven, Hands, Idol, Image, Makes, Maketh, Man's, Metal, Molten, Puts, Putteth, Secret, Secretly, Sets, Setteth, Stone, Wood
1. The people are commanded to write the law upon stones
5. and to build an altar of whole stones
11. The tribes to be divided on Gerizim and Ebal
14. The curses to be pronounced on mount Ebal

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Deuteronomy 27:15

     4345   metalworkers
     5211   art
     5273   creativity
     5941   secrecy
     6103   abomination
     8634   amen

Deuteronomy 27:1-26

     7797   teaching

Deuteronomy 27:9-26

     5827   curse

Deuteronomy 27:15-26

     1461   truth, nature of
     5783   agreement

Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments.' Deut 27: 9, 10. What is the duty which God requireth of man? Obedience to his revealed will. It is not enough to hear God's voice, but we must obey. Obedience is a part of the honour we owe to God. If then I be a Father, where is my honour?' Mal 1: 6. Obedience carries in it the life-blood of religion. Obey the voice of the Lord
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

In Judæa and through Samaria - a Sketch of Samaritan History and Theology - Jews and Samaritans.
We have no means of determining how long Jesus may have tarried in Jerusalem after the events recorded in the previous two chapters. The Evangelic narrative [1850] only marks an indefinite period of time, which, as we judge from internal probability, cannot have been protracted. From the city He retired with His disciples to the country,' which formed the province of Judæa. There He taught and His disciples baptized. [1851] [1852] From what had been so lately witnessed in Jerusalem, as well
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

How Christ is Made Use of for Justification as a Way.
What Christ hath done to purchase, procure, and bring about our justification before God, is mentioned already, viz. That he stood in the room of sinners, engaging for them as their cautioner, undertaking, and at length paying down the ransom; becoming sin, or a sacrifice for sin, and a curse for them, and so laying down his life a ransom to satisfy divine justice; and this he hath made known in the gospel, calling sinners to an accepting of him as their only Mediator, and to a resting upon him for
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Gilgal, in Deuteronomy 11:30 what the Place Was.
That which is said by Moses, that "Gerizim and Ebal were over-against Gilgal," Deuteronomy 11:30, is so obscure, that it is rendered into contrary significations by interpreters. Some take it in that sense, as if it were near to Gilgal: some far off from Gilgal: the Targumists read, "before Gilgal": while, as I think, they do not touch the difficulty; which lies not so much in the signification of the word Mul, as in the ambiguity of the word Gilgal. These do all seem to understand that Gilgal which
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

In Galilee at the Time of Our Lord
"If any one wishes to be rich, let him go north; if he wants to be wise, let him come south." Such was the saying, by which Rabbinical pride distinguished between the material wealth of Galilee and the supremacy in traditional lore claimed for the academies of Judaea proper. Alas, it was not long before Judaea lost even this doubtful distinction, and its colleges wandered northwards, ending at last by the Lake of Gennesaret, and in that very city of Tiberias which at one time had been reputed unclean!
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Meditations of the Misery of a Man not Reconciled to God in Christ.
O wretched Man! where shall I begin to describe thine endless misery, who art condemned as soon as conceived; and adjudged to eternal death, before thou wast born to a temporal life? A beginning indeed, I find, but no end of thy miseries. For when Adam and Eve, being created after God's own image, and placed in Paradise, that they and their posterity might live in a blessed state of life immortal, having dominion over all earthly creatures, and only restrained from the fruit of one tree, as a sign
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Jesus' Last Public Discourse. Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXIII. 1-39; ^B Mark XII. 38-40; ^C Luke XX. 45-47. ^a 1 Then spake Jesus ^b 38 And in his teaching ^c in the hearing of all the people he said unto ^a the multitudes, and to his disciples [he spoke in the most public manner], 2 saying, ^c 46 Beware of the scribes, ^a The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: 3 all things whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Differences in Judgment About Water Baptism, no Bar to Communion: Or, to Communicate with Saints, as Saints, Proved Lawful.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Owing to the comparatively loose nature of the connection between consecutive passages in the legislative section, it is difficult to present an adequate summary of the book of Deuteronomy. In the first section, i.-iv. 40, Moses, after reviewing the recent history of the people, and showing how it reveals Jehovah's love for Israel, earnestly urges upon them the duty of keeping His laws, reminding them of His spirituality and absoluteness. Then follows the appointment, iv. 41-43--here irrelevant (cf.
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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