Deuteronomy 11:29
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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(29) The blessing . . . and the curse . . .—The Targum of Onkelos says, “Those that bless,” and “those that curse.” (See Deuteronomy 27:12-13, and Note.[1])

[1] The other Targums say, “When they bless they shall turn their faces towards Mount Gerizim; and when they curse they shall turn their faces towards Mount Ebal.” This confirms the antiquity of the view taken in the Talmud.

Deuteronomy 11:29-30. Put — Hebrew, Thou shalt give; that is, speak, or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. This is more particularly expressed Deuteronomy 27:12-13. Over against — Looking toward Gilgal, though at some considerable distance from it. Beside the plains of Moreh — This was one of the first places that Abraham came to in Canaan. So that in sending them thither to hear the blessing and the curse, they were reminded of the promise made to Abram in that very place, Genesis 12:6-7.

11:26-32 Moses sums up all the arguments for obedience in two words, the blessing and the curse. He charged the people to choose which they would have. Moses then appointed a public and solemn proclamation of the blessing and curse, to be made upon the two mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. We have broken the law, and are under its curse, without remedy from ourselves. In mercy, the gospel again sets before us a blessing and a curse. A blessing, if we obey the call to repentance, to faith in Christ, and newness of heart and life through him; an awful curse, if we neglect so great salvation. Let us thankfully welcome these glad tidings of great joy; and let us not harden our hearts, but hear this voice of God while it is called to-day, and while he invites us to come to him upon a mercy-seat. Let us be diligent to make our calling and election sure.Thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim - literally, thou shalt give, i. e., "give" utterance to it. On the ceremony see Deuteronomy 27:14 ff.

Mount Gerizim, barren like Ebal, was probably selected as the hill of benediction because it was the southernmost of the two, the south being the region, according to Hebrew ideas, of light, and so of life and blessing. The situation of the mountains is described more accurately in Deuteronomy 11:30. The words "by the way where the sun goeth down," should run, beyond the road of the west; i. e., on the further side of the main track which ran from Syria and Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt through the center of Palestine. This is called "the way of the west" in contrast to the ether main route from Damascus to the south which passed through the district east of Jordan. The further specifications "Gilgal" and "the plains (rather, the oaks, compare Genesis 12:6 note) of Moreh," are added to define more particularly the section of Canaanites intended.

This Gilgal is perhaps to be found in Jiljilia, a large village about twelve miles south of Gerizim.

26-32. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse—(See on [125]De 27:11). Thou shalt put the blessing, Heb. thou shalt give, i.e. speak or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. So the word to give is used, Deu 13:1,2 Job 36:3 Proverbs 9:9. This is more particularly expressed Deu 27:12,13 Jos 8:33, whither I refer the reader.

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath bought thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it,.... Which is often observed, as being near at hand; and when and where many things were to be done, which could not be done in the place and circumstances they now were, particularly what follows:

that thou shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal; that is, pronounce the one on one mountain, and the other on the other mountain, or at least towards them, or over against them. The Targum of Jonathan is"ye shall set six tribes on Mount Gerizim, and six tribes on Mount Ebal; (#De 27:12,13) blessing they shall turn their faces against Mount Gerizim, and cursing they shall turn their faces against Mount Ebal;''with which agrees the account given in the Misnah;"six tribes went to the top of Mount Gerizim, and six to the top of Mount Ebal; and the priests and the Levites, and the ark, stood below in the middle; the priests surrounded the ark, and the Levites the priests, and all Israel were on this and on that side of the ark, as in Joshua 8:33 then they turned their faces against Gerizim, they opened with the blessing, blessed is he that maketh not any graven or molten image, and both answered "Amen"; then they turned their faces against Mount Ebal, and opened with the curse, Deuteronomy 27:15 and both answered Amen (s);''see the performance of this command in Joshua 8:33.

(s) Sotah, c. 7. sect. 5.

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.
29–30. A return to the Sg. form of address, with phrases peculiar to that form (see Deuteronomy 6:10, Deuteronomy 7:1). Whether it is original here, or dependent on Deuteronomy 27:12 f. (cp. Joshua 8:33 f.), is doubtful.

29. shall bring thee unto the land, etc.] Song of Solomon 7:1, q.v.

the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal
] The two most prominent hills on the Western Range, whether seen from the Mediterranean or from the E. of Jordan, on either side of what is not only the natural centre of Western Palestine, but the part most open to approach from E. Palestine. See the present writer’s HGHL, ch. vi., and pp. 335 ff. Gerizim lies to the S., or, according to Semitic orientation, the right hand and lucky quarter of the heavens; ‘Ebal on the N., the left or sinister quarter. But the visitor to the locality will also be struck by the sympathy between our verse and the contrasted aspects of the two hills as they face each other: the N. face of Gerizim, the mount of blessing, is the more fertile; the opposite face of ‘Ebal, the mount of curse, much the more bare.

30. A geographical gloss similar to those in Deuteronomy 1:2, and in chs. 2, 3, and introduced by are they not, as Deuteronomy 3:11.

beyond Jordan] True to the speaker’s position on the E. of Jordan, so Deuteronomy 3:20; Deuteronomy 3:25. Contrast, as untrue to the speaker’s position, Deuteronomy 3:8 (part of Moses’speech), Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:5, Deuteronomy 4:46-47; Deuteronomy 4:49 (all titles), and Deuteronomy 4:41 (a historical fragment).

behind the way of the going down of the sun] Of doubtful meaning. Behind is, of course, west of (according to the orientation alluded to above). But what is the way? It has been understood by most as the great road traversing Western Palestine from N. to S., to the immediate west of which the two mountains lie (Dillm., who quotes Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, xvi. 658 f. = Geog. of Pal. iv. 293 ff., Driver, Marti). Steuern. proposes, by the addition of one letter, to read west of it, i.e. the Jordan, and to translate the rest in the direction of the sunsetting; cp. the LXX ὀπίσω ὁδὸν (not ὁδοῦ) δυσμῶν ἡλίου ‘behind (it) towards the sunset.’ Such redundance is not uncharacteristic of the deuteronomic editors.

in the land of the Canaanites] Not D’s usual name for the inhabitants of the land; see on Deuteronomy 1:7.

which dwell in the Arabah] See on Deuteronomy 1:1 : the Jordan valley, not relevant to the position of ‘Ebal and Gerizim. The whole clause is very probably a still later addition, especially as the following clause connects naturally with that position. So, too, the Massoretic punctuation of the text implies.

over against Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh] The Gilgal, i.e. stone-circle. There were several places of this name W. of Jordan and still marked by Arabic forms of it (see ‘Gilgal’ in E. B. by the present writer): (1) One was the Gilgal near Jericho, and with this certain Rabbis, followed by Eusebius, Jerome, and a constant Christian tradition, have identified the Gilgal of our text. So, too, a number of modern commentators. Others, changing the punctuation, refer the words over against the Gilgal to the Canaanites which dwell in the ‘Arabah. (2) A second Gilgal lay on the Western Range above Bethel (2 Kings 2:1-8) and has been identified with the present Jiljilyeh seven miles N. of Bethel, which, though actually lower than Bethel, stands on a hill so bold and isolated that the phrase to go down thence to Bethel would not be inappropriate. This also has been identified with the Gilgal of our text, yet it is at a good distance from Gerizim and ‘Ebal, and stands in no definite relation to them. (3) Dillmann supposed some Gilgal near Shechem, and his hypothesis has been justified by the discovery of the name Juleijil (Ar. dimin. of Gilgal) on the plain one mile E. of the foot of Gerizim and 2½ miles SE. of Shechem. This suits the data of our passage (including the following oaks or terebinths of Moreh), and its claims have been defended in detail by Schlatter (Zur Topogr. u. Gesch. Palästinas, 246 ff.) and accepted by Buhl (Pal. 202 ff.); cp. the present writer in Critical Review, Oct. 1895, 346 ff., and art. ‘Gilgal’ in E.B.; and Driver, Deuteronomy 3 rd ed. (1901), p. xxi. In 1901 the present writer visited Juleijil, and a thorough examination of the site convinced him that it is the Gilgal of our text. A hill, some two hundred feet high, rises from the Makhneh plain just opposite the valley between Gerizim and ‘Ebal. The trace of a broad winding road leads to the summit, which is covered with ancient remains, including those of a large stone-circle composed of huge blocks. There is no more suitable site for a sanctuary in all W. Palestine. Cp. G. Hölscher, ZDPV, xxxiii. 102 f.

beside the oaks of Moreh] Read, with Sam. and LXX, the oak. The oak or terebinth of Moreh, ‘the Revealer,’ takes us back to Abraham, who found it here by Shechem and built an altar, Genesis 12:6 (J), from which the above mention of the Canaanites (it is J’s word for the inhabitants of the land) may have been derived by the annotating editor. On trees, as impressing especially the nomads of the treeless desert with their speaking and oracular powers, see on Deuteronomy 12:2 and the present writer’s Early Poetry of Israel, 32 f.

Verses 29, 30. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 27:11.) Thou shalt put the blessing; thou shalt give (נָתַתָּה), i.e. give forth, utter, announce, proclaim (cf. Genesis 49:21; Job 1:22 [gave, i.e. uttered impiety to God]; Psalm 50:20, gavest, didst utter, slandered. The two mountains named stand opposite to each other, with a valley between, about two hundred yards broad at the widest part, in which stood the town of Shechem, now Nablus. They were selected for the purpose mentioned, doubtless, because of their relative position, and probably also because they stand in the center of the land both from north to south, and from east to west. It has been suggested that Ebal was appointed for the uttering of the curse, and Gerizim for the uttering of the blessing, because the former was barren and rugged, the latter fertile and smooth; but this is not borne out by the actual appearance of the two bills, both being equally barren-looking, though neither is wholly destitute of culture and vegetation. That Gerizim was selected for the blessing because of its position on the south side of the valley "towards the region of light," while Ebal was appointed for the curse because it was on the north side, can be regarded only as an ingenious fancy. In ver. 30, the position of the two mountains is defined as on the other side of Jordan, i.e. on the side opposite to where the Israelites then were, the western side; and as by the way - rather, behind the way - where the sun goeth down; i.e. the road of the west, the great road which passed through the west-Jordan country, and which is still the main route from south to north in Palestine (Ritter, 4:293, etc.; Robinson, 3:127), passing Nablus and the two menu-rains on the east, so that they are behind it. Which dwell in the Champaign; in the 'Arabah (see Deuteronomy 1:1), "mentioned here as that portion of the land on the west of the Jordan which lay stretched out before the eyes of the Israelites, who were encamped in the steppes of Moab" (Keil). Over against Gilgal; i.e. not the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 4:19, which was east of Jericho (hod. Jiljulia), nor the Gilgal of Joshua 12:23 (probably the modern Jiljulieh, in the plain of Sharon), but the Gilgal of Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6; and 2 Kings 2:1 (hod. Jiljilia), to the north of Bethel, from which there is "a very extensive prospect over the great lower plain, and also over the sea" (Robinson, 'Bib. Res,' 3:138); so that the mountains by Nablus may be very well described as "over against it." Beside the plains of Moreh; for "plains" read oaks (cf. Genesis 12:6; Genesis 35:4). Deuteronomy 11:29Concluding summary. "I set before you this day the blessing and the curse." The blessing, if (אשׁר, ὅτε, as in Leviticus 4:22) ye hearken to the commandments of your God; the curse, if ye do not give heed to them, but turn aside from the way pointed out to you, to go after other gods. To this there are added instructions in Deuteronomy 11:29 and Deuteronomy 11:30, that when they took possession of the land they should give the blessing upon Mount Gerizim and the curse upon Mount Ebal, i.e., should give utterance to them there, and as it were transfer them to the land to be apportioned to its inhabitants according to their attitude towards the Lord their God. (For further comment, see at Deuteronomy 27:14.) The two mountains mentioned were selected for this act, no doubt because they were opposite to one another, and stood, each about 2500 feet high, in the very centre of the land not only from west to east, but also from north to south. Ebal stands upon the north side, Gerizim upon the south; between the two is Sichem, the present Nabulus, in a tolerably elevated valley, fertile, attractive, and watered by many springs, which runs from the south-east to the north-west from the foot of Gerizim to that of Ebal, and is about 1600 feet in breadth. The blessing was to be uttered upon Gerizim, and the curse upon Ebal; though not, as the earlier commentators supposed, because the peculiarities of these mountains, viz., the fertility of Gerizim and the barrenness of Ebal, appeared to accord with this arrangement: for when seen from the valley between, "the sides of both these mountains are equally naked and sterile;" and "the only exception in favour of the former is a small ravine coming down, opposite the west end of the town, which is indeed full of foundations and trees" (Rob. Pal. iii. 96, 97). The reason for selecting Gerizim for the blessings was probably, as Schultz supposes, the fact that it was situated on the south, towards the region of the light. "Light and blessing are essentially one. From the light-giving face of God there come blessing and life (Psalm 16:11)." - In Deuteronomy 11:30 the situation of these mountains is more clearly defined: they were "on the other side of the Jordan," i.e., in the land to the west of the Jordan, "behind the way of the sunset," i.e., on the other side of the road of the west, which runs through the land on the west of the Jordan, just as another such road runs through the land on the east (Knobel). The reference is to the main road which ran from Upper Asia through Canaan to Egypt, as was shown by the journeys of Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 33:17-18). Even at the present day the main road leads from Beisan to Jerusalem round the east side of Ebal into the valley of Sichem, and then again eastwards from Gerizim through the Mukra valley on towards the south (cf. Rib. iii. 94; Ritter, Erdkunde, xvi. pp. 658-9). "In the land of the Canaanite who dwells in the Arabah." By the Arabah, Knobel understands the plain of Nabulus, which is not much less than four hours' journey long, and on an average from a half to three-quarters broad, "the largest of all upon the elevated tract of land between the western plain and the valley of the Jordan" (Rob. iii. p. 101). This is decidedly wrong, however, as it is opposed to the fixed use of the word, and irreconcilable with the character of this plain, which, Robinson says, "is cultivated throughout and covered with the rich green of millet intermingled with the yellow of the ripe corn, which the country people were just reaping" (Pal. iii. 93). The Arabah is the western portion of the Ghor (see at Deuteronomy 1:1), and is mentioned here as that portion of the land on the west of the Jordan which lay stretched out before the eyes of the Israelites who were encamped in the steppes of Moab. "Over against Gilgal," i.e., not the southern Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, which received its name for the first time in Joshua 4:20 and Joshua 5:9; but probably the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6., and very frequently in the history of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, which is only about twelve and a half miles from Gerizim in a southern direction, and has been preserved in the large village of Jiljilia to the south-west of Sinjil, and which stands in such an elevated position, "close to the western brow of the high mountain tract," that you "have here a very extensive prospect over the great lower plain, and also over the sea, whilst the mountains of Gilead are seen in the east" (Rob. Pal. iii. 81). Judging from this description of the situation, Mount Gerizim must be visible from this Gilgal, so that Gerizim and Ebal might very well be described as over against Gilgal.

(Note: There is much less ground for the opinion of Winer, Knobel, and Schultz, that Gilgal is the Jiljule mentioned by Robinson (Pal. iii. 47; and Bibl. Researches, p. 138), which evidently corresponds to the Galgula placed by Eusebius and Jerome six Roman miles from Antipatris, and is situated to the south-east of Kefr Saba (Antipatris), on the road from Egypt to Damascus. For this place is not only farther from Gerizim and Ebal, viz., about seventeen miles, but from its position in the lowland by the sea-shore it presents no salient point for determining the situation of the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. Still less can we agree with Knobel, who speaks of the village of Kilkilia, to the north-east of Kefr Saba, as the name itself has nothing in common with Gilgal.)

The last definition, "beside the terebinths of Moreh," is intended no doubt to call to mind the consecration of that locality even from the times of the patriarchs (Schultz: see at Genesis 12:6, and Genesis 35:4).

Deuteronomy 11:29 Interlinear
Deuteronomy 11:29 Parallel Texts

Deuteronomy 11:29 NIV
Deuteronomy 11:29 NLT
Deuteronomy 11:29 ESV
Deuteronomy 11:29 NASB
Deuteronomy 11:29 KJV

Deuteronomy 11:29 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 11:29 Parallel
Deuteronomy 11:29 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 11:29 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 11:29 French Bible
Deuteronomy 11:29 German Bible

Bible Hub

Deuteronomy 11:28
Top of Page
Top of Page