A Commitment to the Covenant

Aug 30, 2015

הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְצַוְּךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וְשָׁמַרְתָּ וְעָשִׂיתָ אוֹתָם בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶׁךָ׃

Hashem your God commands you this day to observe these laws and rules; observe them faithfully with all your heart and soul.

Deuteronomy 26:16

וְשָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת־מִצְוׂתָו וְאֶת־חֻקָּיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם׃

Heed Hashem your God and observe His commandments and His laws, which I enjoin upon you this day.

Deuteronomy 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?

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