Glimpses of Israel - Ebal, the Mountain of Cursing

by Joseph Hunting

Words can be spoken and be unheeded or quickly forgotten. They may also be written and referred to from time to time. On one occasion God chose the everlasting hills of Israel to be the perpetual reminders of words that He once spoke to the Children of Israel.

These hills are known as Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, and are situated close together in the territory once known as Samaria. Immediately following their entry into the Promised Land God commanded that the blessings he promised Israel be read from Mt. Gerizim and that the curses be read from Mt. Ebal. One may still read the blessings and the curses. They are recorded in Deuteronomy chapter 28.

For 3,500 years Ebal and Gerizim have stood as two witnesses to the faithfulness of God's promises to Israel depending upon their obedience to His word.

Just as the blessings read from Mt. Gerizim delight one's soul and gladden the heart, so the curses read from Mt. Ebal bring sadness and the sense of desperation and doom. When one reflects upon the past 19 centuries of Israel's history one may well ask, what went wrong?

The following is just a small section of the warning given from Mt. Ebal.

"Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God ... And the Lord thy God shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth, even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.

"And among these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the soul of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind.

"And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. In the morning, thou shalt say, would God it were evening, and in the evening thou shalt say, would God it were morning; for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see... "