Mother Stories from the Bible – The Altar on Mount Ebal

The Altar on Mount EbalBefore Moses died he called the Israelites together, and urged them to faithfully serve God; also directing that when they entered Canaan, they were to build an altar of rough stones, covered with plaster, on Mount Ebal, and to write the words of God’s law upon this altar. Then six of the tribes were to stand on Mount Gerizim, and six on Mount Ebal, and, in the hearing of all the people, the blessings for obedience and the cursings for disobedience were to be proclaimed.

Mounts Ebal and Gerizim are two rugged mountains that face each other in Samaria. When the Israelites advanced thus far, they remembered the words of Moses. Joshua built the altar as directed, on which he offered sacrifices to God, and wrote a copy of the law upon it. All Israel stood, “half of them over against Mount Gerizim, and half of them over against Mount Ebal,” and Joshua read all the words of the law, “the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.” Then the loud voices of the Levites were heard from the mountain sides, declaring, in the hearing of all the people, the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience, as God had commanded.