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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 11:29

 

 

"It shall come about, when the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou shalt put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal - The etymology of these names may be supposed to cast some light on this institution. גרזים gerizzim, from גרז garaz, to cut, cut off, cut down; hence גרזים gerizzim, the cutters down, fellers, and reapers or harvest-men, this mountain being supposed to have its name from its great fertility, or the abundance of the crops it yielded, which is a possible case. Of עיבל ebal or eybal the root is not found in Hebrew; but in Arabic abala signifies rough, rugged, curled, etc.; and abalo, from the same root, signifies white stones, and a mountain in which such stones are found; alabalo, the mount of white stones. See Giggeius and Golius. And as it is supposed that the mountain had this name because of its barrenness, on this metaphorical interpretation the sense of the passage would appear to be the following: God will so superintend the land, and have it continually under the eye of his watchful providence, that no change can happen in it but according to his Divine counsel, so that its fertility shall ever be the consequence of the faithful obedience of its inhabitants, and a proof of the blessing of God upon it; on the contrary, its barrenness shall be a proof that the people have departed from their God, and that his curse has in consequence fallen upon the land. See the manner of placing these blessings and curses, Deuteronomy 27:12, etc. That Gerizim is very fruitful, and that Ebal is very barren, is the united testimony of all who have traveled in those parts. See Ludolf, Reland, Rab, Benjamin, and Mr. Maundrell. Sychem lies in the valley between these two mountains.

That the land of Judea was naturally very fertile, can scarcely be supposed by any who considers the accounts given of it by travelers; with the exception of a few districts, the whole land is dry, stony, and barren, and particularly all the southern parts of Judea, and all the environs of Jerusalem, most of which are represented as absolutely incapable of cultivation. How then could it ever support its vast number of inhabitants? By the especial providence of God. While God kept that people under his continual protection, their land was a paradise; they lent to all nations and borrowed from none. What has it been since? A demi-solitude, because that especial blessing no longer descends upon it. No land, says Calmet, was more fertile while under the benediction of God; none more barren when under his curse. Its present state is a proof of the declaration of Moses, Deuteronomy 28:23; : "The heaven over their head is brass; the earth under their feet, iron." The land itself, in its present state is an ample proof of the authenticity of the Pentateuch. Should facts of this kind be lost sight of by any who read the sacred writings?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim - literally, thou shalt give, i. e., “give” utterance to it. On the ceremony see Deuteronomy 27:14 ff.

Mount Gerizim, barren like Ebal, was probably selected as the hill of benediction because it was the southernmost of the two, the south being the region, according to Hebrew ideas, of light, and so of life and blessing. The situation of the mountains is described more accurately in Deuteronomy 11:30. The words “by the way where the sun goeth down,” should run, beyond the road of the west; i. e., on the further side of the main track which ran from Syria and Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt through the center of Palestine. This is called “the way of the west” in contrast to the ether main route from Damascus to the south which passed through the district east of Jordan. The further specifications “Gilgal” and “the plains (rather, the oaks, compare Genesis 12:6 note) of Moreh,” are added to define more particularly the section of Canaanites intended.

This Gilgal is perhaps to be found in Jiljilia, a large village about twelve miles south of Gerizim.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/deuteronomy-11.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath bought thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it,.... Which is often observed, as being near at hand; and when and where many things were to be done, which could not be done in the place and circumstances they now were, particularly what follows:

that thou shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal; that is, pronounce the one on one mountain, and the other on the other mountain, or at least towards them, or over against them. The Targum of Jonathan is"ye shall set six tribes on Mount Gerizim, and six tribes on Mount Ebal; (#De 27:12,13) blessing they shall turn their faces against Mount Gerizim, and cursing they shall turn their faces against Mount Ebal;'with which agrees the account given in the Misnah;"six tribes went to the top of Mount Gerizim, and six to the top of Mount Ebal; and the priests and the Levites, and the ark, stood below in the middle; the priests surrounded the ark, and the Levites the priests, and all Israel were on this and on that side of the ark, as in Joshua 8:33 then they turned their faces against Gerizim, they opened with the blessing, blessed is he that maketh not any graven or molten image, and both answered "Amen"; then they turned their faces against Mount Ebal, and opened with the curse, Deuteronomy 27:15 and both answered AmenF19Sotah, c. 7. sect. 5. ;'see the performance of this command in Joshua 8:33.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/deuteronomy-11.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Put — Heb. Thou shalt give, that is, speak or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. So the word to give is used, Deuteronomy 13:1; 2; Proverbs 9:9. This is, more particularly expressed, Deuteronomy 27:12,13.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/deuteronomy-11.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

29.And it shall come to pass, when the Lord. I have lately expounded a similar passage, which, although it is subsequent in the order observed by Moses, yet, inasmuch as it sets out the matter more clearly, I have not hesitated for perspicuity’s sake to put first. I said that God’s intention was, whilst appointing the Israelites to proclaim their own condemnation, to lay them under more solemn obligation to keep the Law. If He had Himself declared His will through the Levites only, they ought indeed to have been seriously affected, and to have listened with reverence both to the blessings and the curses; but when each of them testifies with his own mouth what the Levites dictated by God’s command, the introduction of this assent, as a solemn ratification, (205) was more efficacious in awakening their zeal and attention. A more fitting season, however, for this protest was after they had entered the promised land than as if it had been made in the plain of Moab; for the sight of the land tended to its confirmation, as if they had been brought into court to make a covenant with God.

These (206) two mountains are situated opposite to each other, in such a manner that the two divisions of the people might easily stand to bless and to curse, so that they might in concert approve of the promises and threats of God.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/deuteronomy-11.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 11:29 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Ver. 29. Put the blessing upon mount Gerizim.] That is, Pronounce it there. See Joshua 8:33. Hence the Samaritans built their temple on this mount as a blessed place, and there worshipped they knew not what [John 4:20; John 4:22] calling themselves, Those that belong to the blessed mount.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou shalt put the blessing, Heb. thou shalt give, i.e. speak or pronounce, or cause to be pronounced. So the word to give is used, Deuteronomy 13:1,2 Job 36:3 Proverbs 9:9. This is more particularly expressed Deuteronomy 27:12,13 Jos 8:33, whither I refer the reader.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29. Thou shalt put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal — There were special reasons for selecting these mountains. They are almost at the geographical centre of the land. They lie opposite each other, with a beautiful, well-watered valley between — Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, each rising more than twenty-five hundred feet in height above the level of the sea. In the valley was Shechem — modern Nablus. The modern town is beautifully surrounded with well-watered and productive gardens. Shechem was so prominent in the history of the patriarchs that the gathering of the tribes there would be especially impressive and significant. This was the first spot where Abraham pitched his tent in Canaan, and where he built an altar. To this place Jacob came on his return from Mesopotamia, and pitched his tent east of the city near to Shechem. Here he bought the parcel of a field from Hamor, Shechem’s father. Genesis 33:19. Here, too, he built an altar for worship. Here the tribes were soon to bury the bones of Joseph. See Joshua 24:32.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/deuteronomy-11.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Put the blessing, &c. See Deuteronomy xxvii. 12, &c., and Josue viii. 33, &c. (Challoner) --- Six tribes were to be stationed on each of these mountains, chap. xxviii. --- Garizim. Eusebius says that the Samaritans are grossly deceived, in placing this mountain in the vicinity of Sichem, instead of Jericho. But this is a mistake; for Jotham addressed the inhabitants of Sichem from that mountain, Judges ix. 7. Morizon informs us that it is of the same shape as Hebal, and separated from it only by a valley of about 200 paces, in which the town of Sichem stands. Hebal is a barren rock, while Garizim is very fertile, (Ludolf.) though an ancient poet makes both equally covered with verdure. (Ap. Eusebius, præp. ix. 22.) (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Gerizim. North of Shechem. Compare Joshua 8:33, Joshua 8:34, and see Deuteronomy 27:12.

Ebal. South of Shechem. Both mounts here named for first time. Not mentioned after Judges.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/deuteronomy-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal [ har (Hebrew #2022) G


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/deuteronomy-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/deuteronomy-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
put the blessing
27:12-26; Joshua 8:30-35
Gerizim
Gerizim and Ebal, mountains west of Jordan, and in the tribe of Ephraim, are opposite, or parallel to each other, extending from east to west; mount Gerizim being on the south, and mount Ebal on the north. They are separated by the beautiful valley in which Shechem or Nablous is situated, which is only about 200 paces in width. Both mountains are much alike in length, height, and figure; being about a league in length, in the form of a semicircle, and so steep, on the side of Shechem, that there is scarcely any shelving: their altitude appeared to Mr. Buckingham nearly equal, not exceeding 700 or 800 feet from the level of the valley, which is itself elevated. But though they resemble each other in these particulars, yet in another they are very dissimilar; for, says Maundrell, "though neither of the mountains has much to boast of as to its pleasantness, yet, as one passes between them, Gerizim seems to discover a somewhat more verdant, fruitful aspect then Ebal: the reason of which may be, because fronting towards the north, it is sheltered from the heat of the sun by its own shade; whereas Ebal, looking southward, and receiving the sun that comes directly upon it, must by consequence be rendered more scorched and unfruitful."

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-11.html.

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