Deuteronomy 25-27

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 7, 2001


The name Deuteronomy means “second law”. It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1˝ months of Moses’ life.  He’s 120 years old.  It’s God’s “review” for the people to make sure they understand His ways before they go into the land.

Deuteronomy 25

:1-3  Righteous judgment

:2  to be beaten before his face

In other cultures, a prisoner might be beaten in some dungeon, away from the presence of the judge.  But in God’s ways, the judge was to see the punishment he had ordered.

:3  Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

The Jews actually would only give out 39 lashes, not because they were merciful, but in order to make sure they didn’t break the Law of Moses.  Just in case someone miscounted, they were cautious not to break this law.  In actual practice, the Jews developed a whip with three cords, and the prisoner was beaten thirteen times, making 39 stripes (3 x 13).

Paul knew all about it.

(2 Cor 11:23-24 KJV)  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. {24} Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.


The Time should match the Crime.

This can apply to us as parents as we are trying to discipline our children.
We shouldn’t be over-doing our discipline or giving more than the behavior requires.
Excessive punishment can break a person’s spirit.  The unfairness of it can do great damage.

:4  Muzzling an ox

:4  Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

An ox would be used to thresh the grain by having it walk over the grain, separating the grain from the chaff.  If the ox gets hungry as he’s doing his work in your grain bin, let him eat.

Twice Paul used this verse to say that a person who works hard in ministry ought to be able to make a living off of what he’s doing. (see also 1Tim. 5:17-18)

(1 Cor 9:9-11 KJV)  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? {10} Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. {11} If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

(1 Tim 5:17-18 KJV)  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. {18} For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

:5-10  Levirate Law

This next section was known as the “Levirate” law, the duty of a man to raise up a name for a deceased brother who had no offspring.

This was a custom that actually predated Moses.

When Judah’s son Er died without having had a child with his wife Tamar, Judah made Er’s brother Onan marry Tamar to produce offspring (Gen. 38:8).

(Gen 38:8 KJV)  And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

The Sadducees used this law to try and trap Jesus:

(Mat 22:23-33 KJV)  The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, {24} Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. {25} Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: {26} Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. {27} And last of all the woman died also. {28} Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

They were building a situation based upon the Levirate law, where a brother dies and the wife is taken by the next youngest brother to fulfill the Levirate Law.  Then this brother dies, and the next brother takes her, and so on until all brothers have died.  They think they have a difficult situation for Jesus to solve in asking whose wife she will be in this “resurrection” that they don’t believe in.

{29} Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. {30} For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

We will not be married to our spouse in heaven.  For some, this is a relief.  I hope for most of us, this is sad news.  Jesus’ whole point in tearing down their argument is to simply state that there is no marriage in heaven.  You won’t stay married to your current spouse in heaven, you won’t marry anybody else in heaven.
It’s interesting that the Mormons also have some unusual ideas about marriage and heaven.  They have a ritual that “seals” your marriage so you will be married in heaven, have spirit babies, and become a god over your own planet.
Jesus told the Sadducees that they were mistaken in their ideas because they were unfamiliar with the Scriptures and unfamiliar with the true power of God.  I think we could say the same to the Mormons.

{31} But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, {32} I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. {33} And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

Besides not believing in a resurrection, the Sadducees also only believed that the first five books of Moses were inspired.  They did not believe in the inspiration of the prophets, the Psalms, the history books, etc.  And when Jesus quotes the Scriptures for the Sadducees (“I am the God of Abraham …”), He quotes from Exodus 3:6, from one of the books that they accept.  God had told Moses that He is currently the God of Abraham.  If there was no resurrection, God would have told Moses, “I WAS the God of Abraham” since Abraham had long been dead at Moses’ time.

:6  that his name be not put out of Israel.

This was the purpose behind the law, to keep the family line of the brother going and to keep the property within the family.


Marrying a family

If you were about to married under these laws of Israel, I think you’d want to pay attention to who your in-laws were.  If you were a gal marrying a guy, you’d probably want to make sure you could stand his brother (if he had any).  If you were a guy and your brother was getting married, you’d probably want to make sure that he marries a nice gal.  After all, you may get stuck with each other.
This is kind of a controversial subject, but it’s one I think we ought to consider.  When you marry a person, there is a sense that you are gaining a new family, your spouse’s.
I’ve heard a person say to their spouse, “I married you, not your mother”.  Then they will proceed to alienate their spouse from their mother.  There is a point where this is completely appropriate since we are to “leave” our parents’ influence and “cleave” to our spouse.
But I’ve also seen a type of abuse over the years where one spouse works hard to alienate their spouse’s family.
I think when a couple marry, there’s a fine line they need to walk where they on one hand “leave” the influence of their family, yet on the other hand they need to continue to show love and respect toward their family as well.

:9  loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face

loose his shoe from off his footThis act signified that he had abandoned his duty. It was a kind of sign of degradation, that the man was becoming poorer by having to go barefoot.  The city officials would keep the sandal as evidence of the transaction.

spit in his face – A sign of contempt.

:10  And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

or, bayith chalotz hana’al

We see this played out in the book of Ruth when Boaz wants to take Ruth for his wife, fulfilling the levirate law, and there is another kinsman who agrees to not marry Ruth.

(Ruth 4:1-8 KJV)  Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. {2} And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. {3} And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: {4} And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.

Up to this point, Boaz is proceeding under the rules of the Law of the Kinsman Redeemer.  When a relative went into debt, it was the obligation of the nearest kinsman to help out, to buy the farm and keep the property in the family.

{5} Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.

Here we see Boaz now invoking the Levirate Law, requiring the near kinsman not only to buy the land, but take Ruth to be his wife and raise up an inheritance for Elimelech.

{6} And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. {7} Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. {8} Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.

The kinsman didn’t mind acquiring the land, but when he saw that it came with a wife attached, he was quick to back out.  Perhaps he was married, and his own wife wasn’t too excited about the situation!
It seems that by Ruth’s time, the shoe bit wasn’t seen as something to be ashamed of, almost as if they had lost the meaning of the ritual.  We also see another part of the ritual has dropped off, the wife was supposed to spit in the face of the one rejecting the law.

:11-12  Out of bounds

:11  taketh him by the secrets:

secrets – genitals.  It was okay for a wife to help defend her husband, but there are certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed.


Fair fighting

I’m a little reluctant to spend too much time in this passage because of the content, but there is a lesson here.
When you are fighting with another individual (hopefully not violently), there are things that just aren’t fair.
I believe that within marriage, there are going to be times when you fight, when you “disagree”.  I don’t think that a healthy marriage is one where there are no fights, I believe that in a healthy marriage you know how to fight fairly.  No “hitting below the belt”.
As you grow in your marriage, you will know more and more about the other person.  You will know the things that encourage the other person, but you will also know what kinds of things can devastate the other person.
It’s inevitable that every once in a while you’re going to accidentally walk into a “mine field” by talking about a subject that is very hurtful to your spouse.  All you can do is apologize and do your best to make up.
But you also need to realize that you have just found a weakness in the other person that you must NEVER ever exploit.  You have found one of those “red buttons” that can cause great damage in the other person and you must vow to never fight by pressing those “red buttons”.
There’s even a penalty when you hit “below the belt”.  The woman was to have her hand cut off.  That’s about the most useful part of your body. 
When you fight “dirty” in relationships, you loose a sense of all usefulness, you destroy the ability to do constructive work, you only hurt yourself.

:13-16  Impartiality

:13  Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.

This has to do with measuring stuff.  If you have a balance scale, you’d set a weight on one side, and pour whatever you were measuring on the other side until the scale balanced.  If you had two different “weights” that were both supposedly one pound, and you were a sneaking thief, you would use the smaller weight for selling things and a larger weight for buying things.  That would be an easy way to increase your “profit margin”.

:15  But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight

The point is that we need to handle all our transactions impartially.  We need to use the same weight to sell things as we do to buy things.


Impartiality.  Honesty.

We need to treat each person with the same standard that we treat others or how we would want to be treated ourselves.

:17-19  Destroy Amalek

:17  Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

The tribe of Amalek were descendants of Esau’s grandson (cf. Gen. 36:12)

For some, Amalek is a type of the flesh.

(Exo 17:8-16 KJV)  Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. {9} And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. {10} So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. {11} And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. {12} But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. {13} And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. {14} And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. {15} And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: {16} For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Jehovahnissi – “Yahweh is my banner”

The hands and rod of Moses were held up as soldiers are wont to hold up their standards in the time of battle; and as these standards bear the arms of the country, the soldiers are said to fight under that banner, i.e., under the direction and in the defense of that government. Thus the Israelites fought under the direction of God, and in the defense of his truth; and therefore the name of Jehovah became the armorial bearing of the whole congregation. By his direction they fought, and in his name and strength they conquered; each one feeling himself, not his own, but the Lord’s soldier.

Joshua was having a difficult time defeating Amalek until Moses raised his hands up.  We can help others in their battle with the flesh as we lift our hands in prayer for them.  Yet Moses had a hard time keeping his hands up, so Aaron and Hur helped him, giving him support, putting him on a Rock.


Victory comes from yielding to God.

We can see Moses’ hands being lifted as either a picture of prayer or surrender, probably of both.
As we yield to God, as we seek Him in prayer, the battle gets easier.
Note:  The battle isn’t solely won by putting your hands up, it simply allowed Joshua to win with his sword.

As we yield to God, the battle isn’t over, we will still need to battle the flesh, but the battle goes much easier when we are yielded to Him.

:18  when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.

God doesn’t take kindly to people who pick on the less fortunate.  Amalek was kind of parallel to people who fly airliners into buildings in order to kill innocent people.

This is also just how our flesh works, always picking on us when we’re at a weak moment.

:19  thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

Israel was commanded that they would one day wipe out Amalek.

This would happen when Israel would have their first king:

(1 Sam 15:1-3 KJV)  Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. {2} Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. {3} Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

(1 Sam 15:7-9 KJV)  And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. {8} And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. {9} But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

(1 Sam 15:22-23 KJV)  And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. {23} For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

You can get the idea the Saul wiped out all the Amalekites except for Agag.  But he left far more than just Agag.  Later on David’s city of Ziklag was raided by an army of Amalekites, and when David caught up to them, there was such a huge number of them that we are told they were “spread abroad upon all the earth” (1Sam. 30:16).

The last known Amalekite was a man found in the book of Esther.  His name was Haman, the “Agagite”, meaning he was a descendant from Agag.  He was the one who developed a plan to wipe out all the Jews around the world, but who was foiled by Mordecai and Esther.


Deal completely with the flesh

I think there is a lesson here when we think of Amalek being a picture of our flesh, our sin nature.
God’s method of dealing with our “flesh” is not to reform it, but to kill it, to “reckon it dead”.
(Rom 6:6 KJV)  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
(Rom 6:11 KJV)  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When we go easy on our flesh and allow little bits of it here and there to live and flourish, it will rise up like Haman one day to try and destroy us.
We need to be careful about what kinds of things we allow ourselves to be exposed to, things that would feed our flesh, things that would stimulate sinful, rebellious behavior against the Lord.

Deuteronomy 26

The next chapter is a ritual that Israelites were to perform after they had come into the Promised Land.  It’s all about remembering who they are, where they’ve come from, and who is responsible for their being in the land.

:1-11  First Firstfruits

:1  And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;

This is something that would take place once they have conquered their land and have begun to settle down and cultivate and harvest their crops.

The ceremony centered around a basket containing the first fruits of this new land of theirs.

:5  A Syrian ready to perish was my father

This was all part of a speech that each individual Israeli was to make before God.  Each person was to take time to realize just where he had come from and what God had brought them through to.

Better translation, a wandering Aramean.

This is referring to Jacob who lived for a long time in the land of Mesopotamia (Gen. 28:5) as he married his wives and raised his children and flocks of sheep and goats.  His family had come mostly from the land of “Paddan-aram”.

:5  and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:

Jacob came down to Egypt with seventy people.  When the Israelites left four hundred years later, their population included 600,000 fighting men, and probably numbered upwards to two million people (including women and children).

:11  And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee


Rejoice in God’s blessings

We need to step back every once in a while and realize just how much God has given us.
I think this is along the lines of what Solomon meant when he wrote,
(Eccl 2:24 KJV)  There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Life is difficult when we are constantly looking at what others have and we want it too.  But we can find contentment when we look at the good things that God has given us, and learn to say, “thanks”.
Sometimes we don’t really appreciate certain things until they’re gone.  Perhaps we can learn to appreciate the blessings that God has given us while we still have them!

:12-15  Asking for blessings

:12  When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year

This was a reminder of what they’ve already been told –

(Deu 14:28-29 KJV)  At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: {29} And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

The people were to tithe every year, but every third year they were to take their tithe and give it to the Levites and the poor that lived in their home town, whereas the other years they were supposed to bring the tithe to Jerusalem.

God said they were to do this so that He might bless them.

:13  I have not transgressed thy commandments

This is a person who has been following what the Lord wanted him to do.

:14  I have not eaten thereof in my mourning

The things that should have been given to the Levites and the poor have been given to them.  This person has not taken the things that God has wanted to have him give away, and kept it for himself.

Even when we are sad and feel a need for a “treat”, this person is saying that they haven’t taken from the things of God to treat themselves.

What belongs to God belongs to God.

:15  bless thy people Israel


Ask for His blessings

I think that sometimes we have a hard time with this.  We can become so aware of our own “unworthiness” that we feel that God must not want to bless us.
Some things God gives to us unconditionally.  We call that grace.  We didn’t ask.  He just gives.
But some things require a request from us.  Earlier (Deut. 14) God had promised a blessing for the people when they used their tithe the way He wanted them to.  Now He tells us that they need to take time to ask God for the blessing.
Mr. Jones Goes To Heaven
There’s a little fable about a Mr. Jones who dies and goes to heaven. Peter is waiting at the gates to give him a tour. Amid the splendor of golden streets, beautiful mansions, and choirs of angels that Peter shows him, Mr. Jones notices an odd-looking building. He thinks it looks like an enormous warehouse-it has no windows and only one door. But when he asks to see inside, Peter hesitates. “You really don’t want to see what’s in there,” he tells the new arrival. “Why would there be any secrets in heaven?” Jones wonders. “What incredible surprise could be waiting for me in there?” When the official tour is over he’s still wondering, so he asks again to see inside the structure. Finally Peter relents. When the apostle opens the door, Mr. Jones almost knocks him over in his haste to enter. It turns out that the enormous building is filled with row after row of shelves, floor to ceiling, each stacked neatly with white boxes tied in red ribbons. “These boxes all have names on them,” Mr. Jones muses aloud. Then turning to Peter he asks, “Do I have one?” “Yes, you do.” Peter tries to guide Mr. Jones back outside. “Frankly,” Peter says, “if I were you....” But Mr. Jones is already dashing toward the “J” aisle to find his box. Peter follows, shaking his head. He catches up with Mr. Jones just as he is slipping the red ribbon off his box and popping the lid. Looking inside, Jones has a moment of instant recognition and lets out a deep sigh like the ones Peter has heard so many times before. Because there in Mr. Jones’s white box are all the blessings that God wanted to give to him while he was on earth ... but Mr. Jones had never asked.
“Ask,” promised Jesus, “and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). “You do not have because you do not ask,” said James (James 4:2). Even though there is no limit to God’s goodness, if you didn’t ask Him for a blessing yesterday you didn’t get all that you were supposed to have. That’s the catch-if you don’t ask for His blessing, you forfeit those that come to you only when you ask. In the same way that a father is honored to have a child beg for his blessing, your Father is delighted to respond generously when His blessing is what you covet most.

- Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez, pgs. 25-27

:16-19  Be God’s obedient people

:17  Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God

avouched – declared

Deuteronomy 27

:1-8 Altar on Ebal

:2  and plaister them with plaister:

plaister (or lime). Produced by roasting gypsum, which was available in the Jordan and Dead Sea valleys.

They were to build an altar out of large uncut stones and then the stones were painted with this lime.  This would provide a huge white backdrop upon which the Law was to be written.  They were creating a kind of stone billboard.

:3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law

Some have suggested that they only wrote out the Ten Commandments.  Others have suggested the just the Law portion of Deuteronomy was written out (and not the history parts).  Others have suggested that the blessings and curses were written out.

: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.

This was how God wanted His altars to be built – very plainly.

(Exo 20:25 KJV)  And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

I think that the point is that God wants the attention to be on Him and the sacrifice, not the instrument that is being used to bring the sacrifice.


Uncut worship

There is probably a lesson here about worship.  We need to be careful that we don’t get caught up looking at the “instrument”, whether it’s a musician or their instrument.  Instead, when we worship we ought to be concerned about bringing our “sacrifice”, our praise.  I don’t think that means that our songs or music ought to be “plain”, they are the things we bring as sacrifice.  In a way, our praise ought to be the best we can bring, sacrifices weren’t supposed to be brought from animals that were defective, but the best of the flock.
And our main goal in worship is to put our attention on the Lord.  As important as the sacrifice is, we are bringing our sacrifice in order to draw attention to and honor the Lord.  This isn’t always easy because there are times when the music is simply “cool”.  And that’s not bad.  But we need to work at our hearts in keeping in mind that what we bring is for Him, not for us.  He is the audience, not us.

:8  And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

This was previously commanded in Deut. 11:26-29, and now the people are reminded one more time.

(Deu 11:26-29 KJV)  Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; {27} A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: {28} And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. {29} And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Joshua carried out these instructions early on, after he had finished the first two battles, those of Jericho and Ai.

(Josh 8:30-35 KJV)  Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, {31} As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. {32} And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. {33} And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. {34} And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. {35} There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

:9-10  Charge to obedience

:9  Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God.

Though there is plenty of room to apply these principles to our lives, keep in mind that this is a covenant between God and His people Israel.

:11-26  The curses for disobedience

:12  These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people

Half of the tribes set on the side for blessing.

:13  And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse

Half of the tribes set on the side for cursing.

The choice between blessing and cursing was dramatized by relating it to the contrast of these two mountains.  The two peaks apparently rise to a height of 3,000 feet, but only 800 feet above the valley floor.  In between the two peaks is a small valley that is about 500 yards wide.  The city of Shechem is nearby.


You have a clear choice.

Follow the Lord or not follow.
The Israelites at this point would see it clearly.  When we’re in the middle of temptation, we don’t see it very clearly.
(1 John 2:15-17 KJV)  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
There is blessing when we choose to do things God’s way.  There is trouble when we don’t.

:14  And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,

The Levites stood in the valley between the two peaks, reciting the blessings and the curses, and the other tribes would echo with “Amen”.

: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

Making other gods or idols, doing it in secret.

God sees what’s done in secret.

:15  And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

Even though the people were divided with half on one mountain and half on the other mountain, they all responded by saying “Amen”, or, “so be it”.

:16  Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother

(Deu 27:16 NKJV)  'Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.'

:17  Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.

Stealing your neighbor’s property.  Property was marked off by landmarks.  Moving the landmark would be equivalent to stealing your neighbor’s land.

:18  Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way.

Don’t take advantage of helpless people.

:19  Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow.

Don’t take advantage of those who can’t defend themselves.

:20  Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt.


:24 Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly.

(Deu 27:24 NLT)  'Cursed is anyone who kills another person in secret.'

:25  Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.

Murder for hire.

:26  Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.

Paul used this verse to show that eternal life could NOT be achieved by the keeping of the Law:

(Gal 3:10 KJV)  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

The purpose of the Law was to show us how far we fall short.  God didn’t ask His people to do most of the Laws most of the time, but ALL of the Law ALL of the time.

That’s why we need Jesus.

(Gal 3:13 KJV)  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Jesus took the punishment for our sins so we might be made perfect with God not based on our performance, but based on Jesus’ performance.

Now my relationship with God is no longer based on what I do, but on whom I trust.  I am able to become right with God by trusting in what Jesus has done for me.