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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Ebal and Gerizim

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E´bal and Ger´izim, two mountains of Samaria, forming the opposite sides of the valley which contained the ancient town of Shechem, the present Nabulus. From this connection it is best to notice them together. The valley which these mountains enclose is about 200 or 300 paces wide, by above 3 miles in length; and Mount Ebal rises on the right hand and Gerizim on the left hand of the valley (which extends west-north-west) as a person approaches Shechem from Jerusalem. It was on Mount Ebal that God commanded to be reared up an altar, and a pillar inscribed with the law; and the tribes were to be assembled, half on Ebal and half on Gerizim, to hear the fearful maledictions pronounced by the Levites upon all who should violate the obligations of the sacred code, and the blessings promised to those who should observe them. The tribes which responded with simultaneous 'Amens' to the curses were to be stationed on Mount Ebal, and those who answered to the blessings, on Mount Gerizim. This grand ceremony—perhaps the most grand in the history of nations—could not have found a more fitting scene; and it was duly performed by Joshua as soon as he gained possession of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 27; ). Dr. Robinson (Bib. Researches, iii. 96) says—'Mounts Gerizim and Ebal rise in steep, rocky precipices, immediately from the valley on each side, apparently some 800 feet in height. The sides of both these mountains as here seen (i.e.from Nabulus) were, to our eyes, equally naked and sterile, although some travelers have chosen to describe Gerizim as fertile, and confine the sterility to Ebal. The only exception in favor of the former, as far as we could perceive, is a small ravine coming down opposite to the west end of the town, which indeed is full of fountains and trees; in other respects both mountains, as here seen, are desolate, except that a few olive-trees are scattered upon them. The side of the northern mountain, Ebal, along the foot, is full of ancient excavated sepulchres. The southern mountain is now called by the inhabitants Jebel-et-Tur, though the name Gerizim is known, at least, to the Samaritans. The modern appellation of Ebal we did not learn.'





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Ebal and Gerizim'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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