Ancient Sources

The Jordan Valley



13. Ebal - (Mount Ebal)

ORIGINAL TEXTS


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Eusebius, Onomasticon 64:9-15 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 65:9-15 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Gebal (Deut 11:29), a mountain in the Promised Land, where an altar was built at Moses' command. And there are two mountains near Jericho, standing close and facing one another, one of which is called Gerizim and the other Gebal. However, the Samaritans believe these two mountains to be near Neapolis, but they are grossly mistaken, for the mountains they indicate are very far the one from the other, and the voice of anyone blessing or cursing from one of them, as the Scripture says, cannot be heard from the other.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

Deut. 11:26-32 The curses on mount Ebal
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known.
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that you are entering to occupy, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. As you know, they are beyond the Jordan, some distance to the west, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oak of Moreh.
When you cross the Jordan to go in to occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and when you occupy it and live in it, you must diligently observe all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

Dt. 27:2-6 The stones set up on mount Ebal
On the day that you cross over the Jordan into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and cover them with plaster. You shall write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over, to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. So when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, about which I am commanding you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall cover them with plaster. And you shall build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones on which you have not used an iron tool. You must build the altar of the Lord your God of unhewn stones. Then offer up burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God.

Josh. 8:30-35
Sacrifice on Mount Ebal: the law read there
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, "an altar of unhewn stones, on which no iron tool has been used"; and they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed offerings of well-being. And there, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. All Israel, alien as well as citizen, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark in front of the levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the aliens who resided among them.

see also: 42. Tur Gobel (Mount Ebal)

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 11:52:19
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000