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27:1-30:20 CONDITIONS OF THE COVENANT
The listing of blessings and curses at the end of the covenant document is again in keeping with the form of ancient Near Eastern treaties. God in his sovereign grace had chosen Israel as his people and preserved them. In gratitude the people were to be obedient to God’s commands, and in doing so they would enjoy fellowship with him and blessing in their national life. Disobedience, on the other hand, would bring his judgment upon them, so that they might see their sin, change their ways, and return to him in renewed covenant loyalty.
Blessings and curses (27:1-26)
After the Israelites moved into Canaan, they were to go to the valley between Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal to declare their loyalty to the covenant. There also they were to write the law on plastered stones and display it publicly where people could read it, and so be reminded constantly of their covenant obligations (27:1-10).
Six tribes were to gather on each of the two mountains, while the Levitical priests, who read the blessings and curses, gathered in the valley between. As the priests read each blessing, the tribes on Mt Gerizim would give their acknowledgment by answering ‘Amen’. In the same way the tribes on Mt Ebal would answer ‘Amen’ after each curse, acknowledging the justice of God’s punishment if his people broke his law (11-14; see Joshua 8:30-35).
For some reason only the curses are listed here, though the corresponding blessings were in fact read when Joshua later carried out the ceremony (Joshua 8:34). The curses mainly concerned sins done in secret, emphasizing that no area of life was hidden from the watchful eye of God. The accursed sins included idolatry (15), disrespect (16), cheating (17), lack of sympathy (18), social injustice (19), sexual perversion (20-23), murder (24), plotting (25) and defiance of God’s law in general (26).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 27". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent