A Commitment to the Covenant

Deuteronomy 26:16-27:10

Moses reminds the people that they have committed this day to accept God and follow in His ways, and in return, God has accepted them as His people, to protect and to treasure. Moses and the elders then command the people together to record the words of the covenant on stones once they cross the Jordan, and along with it, a stone altar. The stones and the altar are to be set up at Mount Ebal, and the altar is to be used for peace-offerings. Then Moses and the priests and Levites declare that on this day, they have become God’s people.


The Israel Bible notes that the reaffirmation of the covenant, started in this passage and continuing in the next, was to take place at the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. The actual fulfilment of this ceremony took place in Joshua 8:30-35. Israeli archaeologist Adam Zertal discovered an altar at the foot of Mount Ebal that he believes is the one commanded here. Once an atheist, Zertal now believes, “It is impossible to explore Israel’s origins without the Bible.”


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think the people must record the words of the covenant once they have crossed the Jordan? Why are the tablets in the ark and the Torah scroll not enough?

Comments ( 8 )

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  • Damian Sco

    Interesting to note that Ebal and Gerizim mean “cut off ones” and “stripped one”, not unlike what the Messiah went through.

  • Damian Sco

    Just as the Passover eliminates that which makes bread rise, crossing the Jordan meant only those who were NOT among the generation that rebelled against God would be acceptable. Even Moses who struck the stone against God's command would only be allowed to see this land but not enter it. For me, this land was a parallel to Heaven and Just as the Messiah's Words were a reaffirmation of the Torah ("I have come not to destroy but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets") those who were allowed to enter this Kingdom were required to be the fulfillment of those God found worthy. And HE declared to build them out of WHOLE Stones, Field Stones, UNCUT Stones as the FOUNDATION STONE of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Corner Stone itself was the Messiah. These children who were being Baptised by the waters of the Jordan are entering into a New Land which was the Fulfillment of the Promise Given to them., just as the Messiah's Coming was the Fulfillment of all Gods Promises. This was as we say today, the First day of the rest of their lives. How could they not establish this remembrance with a reaffirmation, for it all started HERE!

  • Nice to read this (late, but in this very time) just before Jom Kippur. The stones must be whitened, not any longer belonging to the raw nature but cleansed. So they must be clean. In shul we also wear white in this time of the year as a sign that we let HaShem clean our hearts.. Engraved in the stones the blessings and the curses. As a monument, a remaining and reminding book which could endure the elements of weather etc. (Good for a drosje). Listeners can remember what had been said. But those who write what has been said will keep it better in mind. This reminds me of Chavaquq 2:2 and also of the kings who had to write the law. What you see for your eyes makes a deeper and double impression on your mind. And of course it is also a monument of honouring HaShem for bringing us that far. All senses had been touched for the priest/levites and Moshe had to recite it also.

  • Several years ago I questioned why record something written. Then I started to copy the Torah for myself. I came to realize why the Kings had to and why the people had to record it after their long 40 years of wandering. If we take the time to just copy the book of Deuteronomy it would make you review each word. I said to myself, I never saw that or I never understood until I not only took the time to read but write it word for word.

  • Linda

    Q.Why do you think the people must record,,,,,? Its the language of the covenant,, Renewal. 2nd question Why are the tablets in the,,,? because the Ark can’t be open. and the
    Torah scroll, is the Law, which Jesus came to fill the Law, God was later, made a new covenant.

  • Herman

    Gratefulness is very personal. Everyone must know for what he is grateful. So, when you see it yourself your heart maybe touched. In later years the king himself had to write the words of Torah as an example for the B’nei Israël.

    • Good point. That’s true about the kings of Israel, too. Perhaps having the words written on a monument at the crossroads of Israel (where they entered the land) serves as a double-reminder of both the miracles that brought them to the land and the relationship they should maintain with God.

      • I agree Ahuva. And Linda too, you have a point on the 10 commandments being in the ark which couldn't be opened. I will add that something written down is best proof for the existence of something. It would deter subsequent generations from disputing the existence of these laws. There's a chinese proverb that says, "the palest ink is better than the best memory". Yahweh knew the importance of what is written down hence the instruction.

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