Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:33

All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord , the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Benedictions;   Commandments;   Curse;   Ebal;   Gerizim;   Government;   Law;   Levites;   Prayer;   Reward;   Word of God;   Worship;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ebal;   Gerizim, Mount;   Mountains;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Strangers in Israel;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Samaritans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Curse;   Ebal;   Foreigner;   Joshua the son of nun;   Judge;   Ruler;   Shechem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Government;   War, Holy War;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ebal;   Gerizim;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bible;   Ebal;   Hilkiah;   Pentateuch;   Shechem (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ark of the Covenant;   Covenant;   Deuteronomy, the Book of;   Ebal;   Ezrahite;   Gerizim and Ebal;   Joshua;   Joshua, the Book of;   Shechem;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ebal;   Gerizim;   Israel;   Joshua;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gerizim;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Beatitudes, the;   Gerizim, Mount;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gerizim;   Mount gerizim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ebal;   Gerizim;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tabernacle;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ebal;   Government of the Hebrews;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Blindness, Judicial;   Deuteronomy;   Gerizim, Mount;   Law, Judicial;   Moses;   Shechem;   Writing;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Blessing, Priestly;   Deuteronomy;   Ebal;   Gerizim, Mount;   Police Laws;   Shechem;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Half of them over against Mount Gerizim - See the arrangement of the whole of this business in the note and observations on Deuteronomy 27:26; (note). And see also the notes on Deuteronomy 28:1-68 (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-8.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark, and on that side,.... Some on Ebal, and some on Gerizim:

before the priests and the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord; it being brought out of the tabernacle on this occasion, and bottle by the priests and Levites:

as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; that is, as well the proselytes as the native Israelites, both appeared and were in the same situation:

half of them over against Mount Gerizim; that is, half of the tribes, and these were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin:

and half of them over against Mount Ebal; which were the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali; See Gill on Deuteronomy 27:12 and See Gill on Deuteronomy 27:13,

as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel, as in Deuteronomy 27:12.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side — One half of Israel was arranged on Gerizim, and the other half on Ebal - along the sides and base of each.

before the priests the Levites — in full view of them.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

All Israel — That is, the whole congregation, old and young, male and female.

That side — Some on one side of it, and some on the other.

Mount Gerizim — These two places were in the tribe of Ephraim, not far from Shechem, as appears both from scripture, and from other authors.

Bless — Or curse, which is easily understood out of the following verse.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

Ver. 33. Before the priests and the Levites.] Whose office from God was to pronounce not only blessings, [Numbers 6:23] but curses, that those that would not obey God for love should do it for fear. These curses we may read in Deuteronomy 27:15-17, &c. The blessings are not mentioned by Moses, that we might learn to look for them by Messiah only. [Acts 3:26]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

All Israel, i.e. the whole congregation, old and young, male and female, as it follows, Joshua 8:35.

On this side the ark, and on that side, i.e. some on one side of it, and some on the other. Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal were in the tribe of Ephraim, not far from Shechem, as appears both from Scripture, Deuteronomy 11:29,30 27:12 Jude 9:7, and from other authors who lived in those parts, as Josephus and the Jewish doctors. That they should bless, or curse, which is easily understood out of the following verse, and from Deuteronomy 27:13, &c.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-8.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Joshua 8:33 a.

‘And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the Ark, and on that side, before the priests and the Levites, who bore the Ark of the covenant of YHWH, as well the stranger as the homeborn, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal.’

Once the sacrifices had been offered and the sacrificial meal had been partaken of, and the law recorded as a permanent reminder, the solemn covenant renewal began. The Ark of the covenant of YHWH was situated in the valley between the mountains, surrounded by the priests and the Levites who bore the Ark, And the whole nation of Israel, together with those who were strangers but welcomed among them (indicating that there were certainly some present who had not been at Sinai), stood on both sides, some in front of one mountain and some in front of the other.

Joshua 8:33 b

‘As Moses the servant of YHWH had commanded, that they should bless the people of Israel first of all.’

All this was done in response to the commands of Moses. The old dead leader was being remembered and his instructions followed. Then would follow first the blessings. Note Moses’ command that the blessing should come first.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

33. As well the stranger — The entire body of Israelites, by descent and by adoption, were present. The latter were more commonly called proselytes, but sometimes strangers.

Over against Mount Gerizim — The multitude did not stand on the summits of the mountains, but on their slopes. That they could all hear when thus standing is sufficiently attested by modern travellers. Says Stanley: “The vale of Shechem is far from broad, not exceeding in some places a few hundred feet.” [Says Tristram: “The acoustic properties of this valley are interesting. A single voice might be heard by many thousands, shut in and conveyed up and down by the enclosing hills. In the early morning we could not only see from Gerizim a man driving his ass down a path on Mount Ebal, but could hear every word he uttered as he urged it on; and, in order to test the matter more certainly, on a subsequent occasion two of our party stationed themselves on opposite sides of the valley, and with perfect ease recited the commandments antiphonally.”] Dr. W.M. Thomson writes, respecting this impressive scene: “This was, beyond question or comparison, the most august assembly the sun ever shone upon. I never stand on the narrow plain, with Ebal and Gerizim rising on either hand to the sky, without involuntarily recalling and reproducing the scene. I have shouted to hear the echo, and then fancied how it must have been when the loud-voiced Levites proclaimed from the naked cliffs of Ebal, ‘Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto Jehovah;’ and then the tremendous AMEN, tenfold louder, from the mighty congregation, rising and swelling, and reaching from Ebal to Gerizim and from Gerizim to Ebal.”

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 8:33. All Israel stood, &c. — That is, the whole congregation, old and young, male and female. On this side the ark and on that side — Some on one side of it, and some on the other. Mount Gerizim and mount Ebal — These two places were in the tribe of Ephraim, not far from Shechem, as appears from Scripture and from other authors. That they should bless — Or curse, which is easily understood out of the following verse.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Hebal. "Gerizim and Ebal, says Maundrell, p. 59, are separated by a narrow valley, not above a furlong broad; and Naplosa, (the ancient Sychem) consisting chiefly of two streets lying parallel, is built at the foot of, and under Gerizim." The princes, representing the different tribes, were stationed on these mountains, and the crowd at the foot of them, while a select company of Levites attended the ark in the midst, and repeated what the princes proclaimed, that the multitude might answer Amen, as they turned successively to them; (Kennicott) or the princes might answer Amen, from the top of the two hills. (Calmet) --- And first. Protestants, "as Moses....had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel." But if Josue blessed them himself, (Haydock) all superiors might do so, as parents bless their children. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

and officers. Some codices, with Aramaean and Syriac, read "and their officers".

before = at the first.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

All Israel ... stood on this side the ark and on that side. One-half of Israel was ranged on Gerizim, and the other half on Ebal-along the sides and base of each.

Before the priests the Levites - in full view of them. The valley enclosed by these two mountains is about three miles long, and from 250 to 300 paces wide, (see the note at Deuteronomy 27:1-26.) The articulations of the human voice are, from the purity of the atmosphere, heard distinctly on the opposite heights, as has been testified by numerous travelers (see the note at Judges 9:7). The slopes of the two mountains recede gradually, and afford room for hundreds of thousands to stand or sit conveniently to hear the words of the law. The experiment was actually made in 1860 by Mr. Mills. 'We had pitched our tent in the valley, near the foot of Gerizim, on the line between the two mountains, where I have supposed the ark stood. I clambered up Gerizim, and Mr. Williams up Ebal-preferring that he should have all the cursings, and I all the blessings-Mr. Edwards remaining with the men at the tent. Having reached the lower spur, I found myself just as if I stood upon a lofty pulpit, and my friend found himself on a similar one on Ebal. Having rested ourselves a little, I opened my Bible and read the blessings in Hebrew; and every word was heard distinctly by those at the tent, as well as by Mr. Edwards on Ebal. My friend then read the cursings in Welsh; and we all heard every word and syllable' ('Journal of Sacred Literature,' October, 1863, p. 178; see also 'Land of Promise,' p. 371).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
all Israel
23:2; 24:1; Deuteronomy 27:12,13; 29:10,11
priests
3:3,6,14; 4:10,18; 6:6; Deuteronomy 31:9,25; 1 Chronicles 15:11-15
stranger
Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Numbers 15:16,29; Deuteronomy 31:12
Moses
30-32; Deuteronomy 11:29; 27:12
Reciprocal: Exodus 5:6 - officers;  Numbers 6:23 - GeneralDeuteronomy 27:14 - GeneralJoshua 8:35 - strangers;  Judges 9:7 - mount Gerizim;  John 4:20 - fathers;  Hebrews 3:5 - as

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

33.And all Israel, and their elders, etc The third instance of obedience was the placing all the tribes on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal to stand in six rows each over against each other. For they were so arranged that six stood on Mount Ebal, and an equal number on the opposite Mount Gerizim. The intervening space was occupied by the Levites with the ark of the covenant, that the Lord might be surrounded on all sides by his own people. It is said that Joshua stood that he might first bless the people, as it was the purpose of God to allure the people to himself by sweetness and winning condescension. For although Moses, to rebuke the obstinacy of the people, makes mention of curses only, it is certain that these were in a manner accidental, because the genuine method was to employ blessings as a means of gaining over to obedience those who might otherwise have proved refractory. But when humane invitation proved unavailing, curses were added as a new resource and remedy.

God had promised ample rewards to his servants who should obey the Law. On the other hand, curses were denounced in order to deter transgressors. Each is now forced to subscribe his own condemnation, while an amen is responded to every single sentence. For in this way they not only hear themselves condemned by the mouth of God, but as if they had been heralds sent by him, they denounce the punishment which may await themselves. A similar promulgation was made in the plain of Moab beyond the Jordan, but now they are bound more solemnly, and acknowledge on what condition they are to dwell in the land of Canaan. It added no little weight to the whole, that the children also were admitted as witnesses.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:33". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-8.html. 1840-57.