This last curse is a clincher, more expansive in scope by far than the others. By its substance as well as its position, it serves to point out that the previous eleven curses serve in aggregate as an encapsulation of all the laws of God. In fact, the curse will come to any person who violates any of the precepts of God's law. There is no room for hypocrisy. The apostle Paul may have had the twelfth curse in mind when he wrote to God's people in Rome: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified” (Romans 2:13).
Confirmation of the law does not take place through word but through works, works of overt obedience. As a second witness, consider God's own orders to His prophet Jeremiah:
The Lord said to me, “Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey Me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be My people and I would be their God. Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have.” (Jeremiah 11:1-5, Good News Translation)
Through the same prophet, God tells us that appearances do not fool God. He sees through the mask, recognizing reality clearly: “For My eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from Me, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17).
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Four)
Looking at the underlying commonality of the Ebal-curses—that they focus on secret sin—we may conclude that the six tribes on Ebal represent those church members whom we could call “wolves in sheep's clothing,” in whom God finds unrepented sin, individuals living a secret life, closeted in some way, hypocrites.
Conversely, we may conclude that the six tribes atop Mount Gerizim symbolize those people in God's church who exhibit sincerity and wholeness of heart, unwavering commitment to keeping the principle inherent to the Feast of Unleavened Bread—and, by extension, living their entire lives—“not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:8).
Those on Gerizim, unlike their fellows on the Mount of Cursing, represent individuals who break their bread with “singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46), fully committed to abandoning all sin, no matter how stubbornly closeted it may have been at one point in their lives, no matter how tenacious its addiction, no matter how much carnal pleasure it might bring. On Gerizim stand, symbolically, those of God's people who, recognizing the damnation of the charade, have firmly rejected living a double-life. Those who so shun sham and find no pleasure in the mask really do stand on the Mountain of Blessing!
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Five)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Deuteronomy 27:26: