Blessings And Curses

Q. Re: Deut 11:29-30. When the LORD your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. What does this verse mean?

A. Deut. 11:29-30 reads;

When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. As you know, these mountains are across the Jordan, west of the road, toward the setting sun, near the great trees of Moreh, in the territory of those Canaanites living in the Arabah in the vicinity of Gilgal.

These two “mountains” come down to meet in a common valley in central Israel, and the same highway that the Lord described in Deut. 11:30 passes to the east of them today. I’ve stood between them and the contrast is every bit as striking now as it was then. The slope of Mt. Gerizim faces to the south and is lush and green, and that’s what the Israelites beheld as they looked up to hear the blessings. Then they turned toward the north facing slope of Mt. Ebal, which is rocky and barren, reminding them of the consequences of disobedience as they listened to the curses.

The blessings these verses speak of are all the good things that would come to the Israelites for obeying the Lord’s commandments. And the curses are what would happen to them if they didn’t. A more complete account of both can be found in Deut. 28.

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