Deuteronomy 27

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Read Deuteronomy 27

The Altar on Mount Ebal

27 Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.”

Curses From Mount Ebal

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God. 10 Obey the Lord your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.”

11 On the same day Moses commanded the people:

12 When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13 And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.

14 The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:

15 “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

16 “Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

18 “Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

20 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

21 “Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

22 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

23 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

24 “Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

25 “Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

26 “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

Go Deeper

In this chapter, we see a clear calling to take action, provide clarity, and declare truth. So often, we think that we have heard sermons over certain passages before, so we can tune it out. We know John 3:16, we know the gospel, we know the Great Commission, we know the basics. Let’s get to the deeper, more intense theology! However, if we are not applying the “basics” on a consistent basis and truly internalizing them, then we simply do not know what we think we know.

In Deuteronomy 27, God has called the people to raise an altar to Him. They have heard the law and guidance from Moses, and they know the information. Now it is time for them to not only be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word. We also see that they are commanded to “write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” God did not say, “Write down the law and use as many big words as possible to make yourself sound smart.” God desires that all would know Him and keep His commandments. He wants His law accessible to all.

In our own lives, sometimes pride can get in the way of living out the Great Commission. Instead of sharing the gospel, we want to debate a topic that we feel is “above” the gospel. We believe the gospel should be shared in children’s ministries, but not with us smart and wise adults. This could not be further from the truth. In Matthew 18:2-4, Jesus clearly tells us that those who have the faith of a child will inherit the kingdom of heaven. This is not to say we should not push deeper in our theology and understanding of Scripture. However, we must also not let our “pursuit of knowledge” be an excuse to actually avoid doing what God has called us to do.

At the end of the chapter, we see that they are to declare truth openly. Not only are they called to build an altar, but they are also commanded to “declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice” laws that are to be engraved on the altar. These laws would cause a stir and perhaps some potential persecution to come upon its declarers. However, they are told to stand firm and declare the truth openly and clearly.

God has called each of us to declare the truth as well. It might get us fired, kicked out of groups, shunned by friends or family members, and more. However, none of this compares to the persecution the early Church encountered or the persecution our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing as we read this right now in other places around the world.

Do we trust that God is worth the persecution that will come when we declare truth? Are we ready to take action? Are we willing to be humble enough to embrace the simplicity and power of the gospel?


  1. What is keeping you from boldly declaring the truth?
  2. What are you willing to lose by declaring the truth?
  3. How can you declare the truth in a loving, humble, easily understood way?

Did You Know?

Mount Ebal (where Moses instructed the Israelites to build an altar) is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. To see where it is on a map and where else it’s mentioned, check out this helpful resource.

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3 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 27”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    Wow! This commentary really struck a chord that I pray propels me to boldly keep declaring truth, whether it be in a classroom or a courtroom. Having taught in the public school setting for many years, I’ve seen generations pass through the hallways. The shift in our culture away from God has been poignant, and sharing truth has become more and more urgent. Honestly, my heart is grieved and weak from being in the trenches. Reading the list of curses in this chapter pronounced by Moses over the people, I find many are evidenced in those I daily interact with. Let’s remember when God’s directives seem harsh or unfair, they are loving warnings about the plain facts of life. There are tragic consequences both now and in eternity for disobedience. In his great mercy, God has warned us because his heart is to bless us and for us to thrive. Let’s keep fighting the good fight, which always leads us closer to Christ and impacts those around us. Empowered by the Spirit we can do hard and holy things.

  2. Be quite and listen to ME God said. He had details to tell and ask them to do. Obey ME and follow MY commands. Sounds like a Dad. Do right and have good consequences, do wrong and have bad consequences. I have been convicted by a book I am reading about how my life looks compared to my neighbor who doesn’t believe in Jesus. Do we look the same except I go to a church and they do not? I desire to be the person who when you ask about a struggle you are having says verse 6 in Phil 4 says do not be anxious about NO-THING!!!, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I can be there, here, but in the middle of the world, yes sometimes but not enough YET!! This is where I struggle to do what I know God is asking me to do. Not that I do not want to, I let the world wrap me in its web. BUT GOD is (AMP) my light and my salvation— Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge and fortress of my life— Whom shall I dread? I will overcome. I will continue to endeavor to be a light in dark places. I will with God not be the same as my unsaved neighbor so that when compared there is a BIG difference. BUT GOD makes the way!!!!!

    Thank You for Your light so shining out of me that people can know that You are with me. Thank You for Your words pouring out of my mouth. Thank You for forgiving me for not being always obedient. Thank You for Your Love goggles to see others as You see them so that my pride gets out of the way. WOOHOO!!!! God You are greatly to praised, adored, honored and rejoiced in all the minutes of every day. Thank You for breath life to WOOHOO!!! for YOU!!!! in Jesus name amen.

    1. Sorry did not proof read again and so to make sense of my nonsensicalness. I can be there, as in say the scripture to people or in the middle of the world and say scripture but I do not do that enough YET. Sorry yall got in a hurry!! Have a beautiful day WOOHOO!!!!

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