Deuteronomy 27:15
Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and puts it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 27:15. Cursed — The curses are expressed, but not the blessings. For as many as were under the law, were under the curse. But it was an honour reserved for Christ to bless us; to do that which the law could not do. So in his sermon on the mount, the true mount Gerizim, we have blessings only. The man that maketh any graven image — Under this particular he understands all the gross violations of the first table, as under the following branches he comprehends all other sins against the second table. Amen — It is easy to understand the meaning of amen to the blessings. But how could they say it to the curses? It was both a profession of their faith in the truth of these curses, and an acknowledgment of the equity of them. So that when they said amen, they did, in effect, say, not only, it is certain it shall be so, but, it is just it should be so.27:11-26 The six tribes appointed for blessing, were all children of the free women, for to such the promise belongs, Ga 4:31. Levi is here among the rest. Ministers should apply to themselves the blessing and curse they preach to others, and by faith set their own Amen to it. And they must not only allure people to their duty with the promises of a blessing, but awe them with the threatenings of a curse, by declaring that a curse would be upon those who do such things. To each of the curses the people were to say, Amen. It professed their faith, that these, and the like curses, were real declarations of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, not one jot of which shall fall to the ground. It was acknowledging the equity of these curses. Those who do such things deserve to fall, and lie under the curse. Lest those who were guilty of other sins, not here mentioned, should think themselves safe from the curse, the last reaches all. Not only those who do the evil which the law forbids, but those also who omit the good which the law requires. Without the atoning blood of Christ, sinners can neither have communion with a holy God, nor do any thing acceptable to him; his righteous law condemns every one who, at any time, or in any thing, transgresses it. Under its awful curse we remain as transgressors, until the redemption of Christ is applied to our hearts. Wherever the grace of God brings salvation, it teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, consenting to, and delighting in the words of God's law, after the inward man. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found.The "Amen" attested the conviction of the utterers that the sentences to which they responded were true, just, and certain; so in Numbers 5:22, and in our own Commination Office, which is modelled after this ordinance of Moses.

Deuteronomy 27:15-26

Twelve curses against transgressions of the covenant. The first eleven are directed against special sins which are selected by way of example, the last comprehensively sums up in general terms and condemns all and every offence against God's Law. Compare the marginal references.

De 27:11-13. The Tribes Divided on Gerizim and Ebal.

11-13. These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people … these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse—Those long, rocky ridges lay in the province of Samaria, and the peaks referred to were near Shechem (Nablous), rising in steep precipices to the height of about eight hundred feet and separated by a green, well-watered valley of about five hundred yards wide. The people of Israel were here divided into two parts. On mount Gerizim (now Jebel-et-Tur) were stationed the descendants of Rachel and Leah, the two principal wives of Jacob, and to them was assigned the most pleasant and honorable office of pronouncing the benedictions; while on the twin hill of Ebal (now Imad-el-Deen) were placed the posterity of the two secondary wives, Zilpah and Bilhah, with those of Reuben, who had lost the primogeniture, and Zebulun, Leah's youngest son; to them was committed the necessary but painful duty of pronouncing the maledictions (see on [165]Jud 9:7). The ceremony might have taken place on the lower spurs of the mountains, where they approach more closely to each other; and the course observed was as follows: Amid the silent expectations of the solemn assembly, the priests standing round the ark in the valley below, said aloud, looking to Gerizim, "Blessed is the man that maketh not any graven image," when the people ranged on that hill responded in full simultaneous shouts of "Amen"; then turning round to Ebal, they cried, "Cursed is the man that maketh any graven image"; to which those that covered the ridge answered, "Amen." The same course at every pause was followed with all the blessings and curses (see on [166]Jos 8:33, 34). These curses attendant on disobedience to the divine will, which had been revealed as a law from heaven, be it observed, are given in the form of a declaration, not a wish, as the words should be rendered, "Cursed is he," and not, "Cursed be he."

Under this particular he understands all the gross violations of the first table, as under the following branches he comprehends all other sins against the second table, as is manifest from hence, that there are other sins, not here mentioned, which are as sinful as these, and will as certainly expose a man to the curse as any of the rest.

And putteth it, or although, as that particle sometimes signifies,

In a secret place; he takes special notice of such partly to show the folly of those men who think to hide their sins by this means; and partly to deter men from such practices, which men could not see nor punish, by making them their own condemners and executioners.

Amen, i.e. So let it be: I wish this curse may befall me, if I be guilty of this crime See Numbers 5:22 Jeremiah 11:5. Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image,.... The blessings and the form of them are not recorded, because they were not to be had from the law, and through obedience to it; and therefore there is a profound silence about them, to put men upon seeking for them elsewhere, and which are only to be had in Christ, especially spiritual ones; but we may suppose they were delivered in the same form, and respecting the same things as the curses, only just the reverse of them; as, "blessed is the man that maketh not any graven image", &c. The order of both is given in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; See Gill on Deuteronomy 11:29. This curse respects the breach of the first table of the law, and everything included in it relating to the nature and being of God, the worship of him, and the honour of his name; to do anything contrary to which, particularly to make an image, whether graven or molten, to worship, is

an abomination to the Lord; and therefore subjects a man to the curse of his law, it being

the work of the hands of the craftsman; and therefore it must be a most stupid thing to ascribe deity to it, and worship it as such:

and putteth it in a secret place; though it is not set in a place of public worship, or the house, so as to be seen by everyone; but in some retired place, in a secret chamber, and there worshipped, or kept to look at with pleasure; which would be a temptation, and lead on to idolatry, and therefore is forbidden, and to be guarded against: now one that committed idolatry, or anything like it, in the most secret manner, was liable to this curse; for the omniscient God, the legislator, knows what is done in the most private manner, and will resent and revenge every affront and injury to his honour and glory. And Aben Ezra observes, that all that follow respect things done in a secret way, and which were not cognizable by the civil magistrate, and therefore to deter persons from them these curses were pronounced:

and all the people shall answer and say Amen; even those on the one mountain as on the other, thereby approving of, and assenting to, the justice of the sentence pronounced.

Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten {h} image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

(h) Under this he contains all the corruptions of God's service, and the transgression of the first table.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. Amen] The Heb. ’amen (lit. firm or assured) when used as an exclamation means true, truly, or be it assured. All the instances of ’Amen which are parallel to this are post-exilic.

Cp. Deuteronomy 4:16; Deuteronomy 4:23; Deuteronomy 4:25, Deuteronomy 5:8 (Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:25), Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16; Deuteronomy 9:21 (Deuteronomy 12:3); E, Exodus 20:23; J, Exodus 34:17; H, Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1. Graven image (Heb. pesel), Deuteronomy 4:16; molten, Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 9:16; the work of the hands of the craftsman, so Jeremiah 10:3, cp. Hosea 8:6; Hosea 13:2, Isaiah 40:19 f., Isaiah 41:7, Isaiah 44:11-17, Isaiah 45:16; in secret, Isaiah 13:6 (7), cp. Job 31:27.

15–26. Cursed be] The Heb. for this is simply the passive part. of the vb. ‘to curse’ (the original sense of which may have been ‘to bind’), and may be rendered either cursed be or cursed is.Verses 15-26. - The curses to be pronounced were twelve in number, probably to correspond with the number of the tribes. The blessings are not here recorded; but when the injunction here given was fulfilled by Joshua, the blessing as well as the curse was pronounced (Joshua 8:34). And probably, as the Jews report, each, the blessing and the curse, was pronounced alternately (Talmud Bab., 'Sotah,' p. 7; Targum Hieros., in loc.; Surcnhus., 'Mishna,' 3:262). It has sometimes been doubted whether any human voice could be audible over so wide a stretch as that between these two mountains; but this need be no longer matter of doubt, for the experiment has been repeatedly tried in recent times with success (Tristram, 'Land of Israel,' p. 150; Bonar, p. 371; Stanley, 'Syr. and Pal.,' p. 13). In the clear atmosphere of the East sounds travel far. It is to be borne in mind also that it was not a single voice that had to make itself heard across the valley on this occasion, but a chorus of voices pro-seeding from a body of priests stationed apparently in the midst between the two companies (cf. Joshua 8:33), and chanting in unison the words of each blessing or curse. Verses 15-26. - Each of the first eleven curses is directed against some particular sin already denounced in the Law. The twelfth curse is directed generally against all breaches of the Law, against those who fail or refuse to set up the whole Law and follow it as the rule of life and conduct. This shows that the sins specially denounced are selected by way of specimen, and also, perhaps, because they are such as could for the most part be easily concealed from judicial inspection. Verse 15. - (Cf. Exodus 20:4; Leviticus 26:1.) Verse 16. - (Cf. Exodus 21:17.) Verse 17. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 19:14.) Verse 18. - (Cf. Leviticus 19:14.) Verse 19. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 24:17.) Verse 20. - (Cf. Leviticus 18:8; Deuteronomy 22:30.) Verse 21. - (Cf. Leviticus 18:23; Leviticus 20:15.) Verses 22, 23. - (Cf. Leviticus 18:9, 17.) Verse 24. - (Cf. Exodus 20:13; Numbers 35:16, etc.) Verse 25. - (Cf. Exodus 23:7, 8.) Verse 26. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 28:15; Jeremiah 11:3, 4.)



The words of Moses which follow in Deuteronomy 27:9 and Deuteronomy 27:10, "Be silent, and hearken, O Israel; To-day thou hast become the people of the Lord thy God," show the significance of the act enjoined; although primarily they simply summon the Israelites to listen attentively to the still further commands. When Israel renewed the covenant with the Lord, by solemnly setting up the law in Canaan, it became thereby the nation of God, and bound itself, at the same time, to hearken to the voice of the Lord and keep His commandments, as it had already done (cf. Deuteronomy 26:17-18).
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