Deuteronomy 27:20
Cursed be he that lies with his father's wife; because he uncovers his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
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27:11-26 The six tribes appointed for blessing, were all children of the free women, for to such the promise belongs, Ga 4:31. Levi is here among the rest. Ministers should apply to themselves the blessing and curse they preach to others, and by faith set their own Amen to it. And they must not only allure people to their duty with the promises of a blessing, but awe them with the threatenings of a curse, by declaring that a curse would be upon those who do such things. To each of the curses the people were to say, Amen. It professed their faith, that these, and the like curses, were real declarations of the wrath of God against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, not one jot of which shall fall to the ground. It was acknowledging the equity of these curses. Those who do such things deserve to fall, and lie under the curse. Lest those who were guilty of other sins, not here mentioned, should think themselves safe from the curse, the last reaches all. Not only those who do the evil which the law forbids, but those also who omit the good which the law requires. Without the atoning blood of Christ, sinners can neither have communion with a holy God, nor do any thing acceptable to him; his righteous law condemns every one who, at any time, or in any thing, transgresses it. Under its awful curse we remain as transgressors, until the redemption of Christ is applied to our hearts. Wherever the grace of God brings salvation, it teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, consenting to, and delighting in the words of God's law, after the inward man. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found.The "Amen" attested the conviction of the utterers that the sentences to which they responded were true, just, and certain; so in Numbers 5:22, and in our own Commination Office, which is modelled after this ordinance of Moses.

Deuteronomy 27:15-26

Twelve curses against transgressions of the covenant. The first eleven are directed against special sins which are selected by way of example, the last comprehensively sums up in general terms and condemns all and every offence against God's Law. Compare the marginal references.

De 27:11-13. The Tribes Divided on Gerizim and Ebal.

11-13. These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people … these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse—Those long, rocky ridges lay in the province of Samaria, and the peaks referred to were near Shechem (Nablous), rising in steep precipices to the height of about eight hundred feet and separated by a green, well-watered valley of about five hundred yards wide. The people of Israel were here divided into two parts. On mount Gerizim (now Jebel-et-Tur) were stationed the descendants of Rachel and Leah, the two principal wives of Jacob, and to them was assigned the most pleasant and honorable office of pronouncing the benedictions; while on the twin hill of Ebal (now Imad-el-Deen) were placed the posterity of the two secondary wives, Zilpah and Bilhah, with those of Reuben, who had lost the primogeniture, and Zebulun, Leah's youngest son; to them was committed the necessary but painful duty of pronouncing the maledictions (see on [165]Jud 9:7). The ceremony might have taken place on the lower spurs of the mountains, where they approach more closely to each other; and the course observed was as follows: Amid the silent expectations of the solemn assembly, the priests standing round the ark in the valley below, said aloud, looking to Gerizim, "Blessed is the man that maketh not any graven image," when the people ranged on that hill responded in full simultaneous shouts of "Amen"; then turning round to Ebal, they cried, "Cursed is the man that maketh any graven image"; to which those that covered the ridge answered, "Amen." The same course at every pause was followed with all the blessings and curses (see on [166]Jos 8:33, 34). These curses attendant on disobedience to the divine will, which had been revealed as a law from heaven, be it observed, are given in the form of a declaration, not a wish, as the words should be rendered, "Cursed is he," and not, "Cursed be he."

See Deu 22:30. Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife,.... As Reuben did, and which is forbidden Leviticus 18:8,

because he uncovereth his father's skirt; see Deuteronomy 22:30,

and all the people shall say Amen; the tribe of Reuben said this as well as the rest.

Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's {m} skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.

(m) In committing wickedness against him, Le 20:11, De 22:30, Eze 22:10

20. See on Deuteronomy 22:30 (Deuteronomy 23:1); H, Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 20:11."And the Levites shall lift up and speak to all the men of Israel with a high (loud) voice:" i.e., they shall pronounce the different formularies of blessing and cursing, turning towards the tribes to whom these utterances apply; and all the men of Israel shall answer "Amen," to take to themselves the blessing and the curse, as uttered by them; just as in the case of the priestly blessing in Numbers 5:22, and in connection with every oath, in which the person swearing took upon himself the oath that was pronounced, by replying "Amen." "The Levites" are not all the members of the tribe of Levi, but those "in whom the spiritual character of Levi was most decidedly manifested" (Baumgarten), i.e., the levitical priests, as the guardians and teachers of the law, and those who carried the ark of the covenant (Joshua 8:33). From the passage in Joshua, where the fulfilment of the Mosaic injunctions is recorded, we learn that the Levitical priests stationed themselves in the centre between the two mountains, with the ark of the covenant, and that the people took up their position, on both sides, opposite to the ark, viz., six tribes on Gerizim, and six on Ebal. The priests, who stood in the midst, by the ark of the covenant, then pronounced the different formularies of blessing and cursing, to which the six tribes answered "Amen." From the expression "all the men of Israel," it is perfectly evident that in this particular ceremony the people were not represented by their elders or heads, but were present in the persons of all their adult men who were over twenty years of age; and with this Joshua 8:33, when rightly interpreted, fully harmonizes.
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