Joshua 8:34, 35: Ceremony at Gerizim and Ebal, Part 2

Verse 34:[1] And afterward (Deut. 31:11; Neh. 8:3) he read all the words of the law, (Deut. 28:2, 15, 45; 29:20, 21; 30:19) the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

[After these things] Namely, after the altar was built, etc. Of course, souls perceive the word of God with greater reverence after attention has been given to Divine things (Masius).

Afterward; after the altar was built, and the stones plastered and writ upon.

[He read] He made arrangements for the law (Drusius, Masius); namely, through the Levites, as it had been prescribed, Deuteronomy 27:14 (Masius).

He read, that is, he commanded the priests or Levites to read, Deuteronomy 27:14. The blessings and cursings; which words come in not by way of explication, as if the words of the law were nothing else besides the blessings and curses; but by way of addition, to note that these were read over and above the words of the law.

He saith not, according to all that was written upon those stones, but in the book of the law, which shows the mistake of them that think the same things were both read and written upon these stones.


Verse 35:[2] There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, (Deut. 31:12) with the women, and the little ones, and (Josh. 8:33) the strangers that were conversant (Heb. walked[3]) among them.

There was not a word which Joshua read not; therefore he read not the blessings and curses only, as some think, but the whole law, as the manner was when all Israel, men and women, were assembled together, as we read, Deuteronomy 31:10-12.

[And the strangers] That is, Proselytes. No age, no sex, is to be kept from the hearing of the word of God (Masius). [Masius here asks:] Then why is the reading of the Law of Christ prohibited to the multitude of Christians? He responds: 1. The matter of the Mosaic Law is one thing, the matter of the Law of Christ another: the former dwells upon civil ordinances, and worship merely external; the latter is taken up in the explanation of its more hidden meaning (which the Jews say was delivered to exceeding few). 2. Nevertheless, for my part [says he], even if these things are so, I would keep no Christian from the reading of the Law of Christ that might only want it to be interpreted, not according to his own sense, etc. (Masius). [What things Masius adds concerning the entire ceremony, out of others we previously noted on Deuteronomy 27.]

[That stayed among them] Hebrew: walking in the midst of them;[4] that is, that were dwelling among them, and had been converted to their faith (Vatablus).

That were conversant among them, that is, who were proselytes, for no others can be supposed to be with them at this time.

[1] Hebrew: וְאַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן קָרָא֙ אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֣י הַתּוֹרָ֔ה הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה כְּכָל־הַכָּת֖וּב בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: לֹֽא־הָיָ֣ה דָבָ֔ר מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֣ה מֹשֶׁ֑ה אֲשֶׁ֙ר לֹֽא־קָרָ֜א יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ נֶ֣גֶד כָּל־קְהַ֤ל יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְהַנָּשִׁ֣ים וְהַטַּ֔ף וְהַגֵּ֖ר הַהֹלֵ֥ךְ בְּקִרְבָּֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: הַהֹלֵךְ.

[4] Hebrew: הַהֹלֵ֥ךְ בְּקִרְבָּֽם׃.

2 thoughts on “Joshua 8:34, 35: Ceremony at Gerizim and Ebal, Part 2

  1. Westminster Larger Catechism 156: Is the word of God to be read by all? Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publickly to the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves, and with their families: to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.

  2. Matthew Henry: ” The law itself also containing the precepts and prohibitions was read (Joshua 8:35), it should seem by Joshua himself, who did not think it below him to be a reader in the congregation of the Lord. In conformity to this example, the solemn reading of the law, which was appointed once in seven years (Deuteronomy 31:10, 11), was performed by their king or chief magistrate. It is here intimated what a general publication of the law this was. (1.) Every word was read; even the minutest precepts were not omitted, nor the most copious abridged; not one iota or tittle of the law shall pass away, and therefore none was, in reading, skipped over, under pretence of want of time, or that any part was needless or not proper to be read. It was not many weeks since Moses had preached the whole book of Deuteronomy to them, yet Joshua must now read it all over again; it is good to hear twice what God has spoken once (Psalm 62:11) and to review what had been delivered to us, or to have it repeated, that we may not let it slip. (2.) Every Israelite was present, even the women and the little ones that all might know and do their duty. Note, Masters of families should bring their wives and children with them to the solemn assemblies for religious worship. All that are capable of learning must come to be taught out of the law. The strangers also attended with them; for wherever we are, though but as strangers, we should improve every opportunity of acquainting ourselves with God and his holy will.”

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