Deuteronomy 27:16
Cursed be he that sets light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
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(16) Cursed be he that setteth light.—The first curse points to the first two commandments of the first table, and the second to the first commandment in the second table. If we mark off the first offence specified, secret idolatry—the only one which distinctly recalls the first commandment of the Law, and also the last general curse which embraces all transgression whatever, the intervening offences seem more easily arranged. We have duty to parents enforced (Deuteronomy 27:16) and the rights of neighbours (Deuteronomy 5:17), the blind (Deuteronomy 27:18), and the unprotected (Deuteronomy 27:19) come next. The next four precepts are all concerned with purity, first in the nearer, afterwards in the more distant relations (Deuteronomy 27:20-23). The last two precepts concern slander and treachery (Deuteronomy 27:24-25). Evidently the offences specified are examples of whole classes of actions; and the twelve curses may have some reference to the number of the tribes.

Deuteronomy 27:16. That setteth light — Or despiseth in his heart; or reproacheth or curseth secretly: for if the fact were notorious, it was punished with death.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."

Setteth light; or, despiseth in his heart; or reproacheth or curseth, to wit, secretly, as before; for if the fact was notorious, it was punished with death, Leviticus 20:9. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father, or his mother,.... That secretly despises them in his heart, and by looks and gestures mocks at them in a private manner, unseen by others, Proverbs 30:17; for if he publicly cursed them, that was cognizable by the civil magistrate, and he was to be put to death, Leviticus 20:9. This follows next, as in the order of the ten commands, to that which respects the fear and worship of God; honouring parents being next to the glorifying of God, the Father of all:

and all the people shall say Amen; applaud the righteous sentence, saying, "so let it be".

Cursed be he that {i} setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

(i) Or, condemns; and this applies to the second table.

16. Cp. Deuteronomy 5:16, Deuteronomy 21:18 ff.; E, Exodus 20:11; Exodus 21:17; H, Leviticus 20:9. Setteth light by or dishonoureth, the opposite of honour, Deuteronomy 5:16.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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