Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 5: Harmony of the Law, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
26. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
26. Vide, ego pono coram vobis hodie benedictionem et maledictionem:
27. A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
27. Benedictionem, si obedieritis praeceptis Jehovae Dei vestri, quae ego praecipio vobis hodie:
28. And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
28. Maledictionem vero, si non obedieritis praeceptis Jehovae Dei vestri, sed recesseritis e via quam ego praecipio vobis hodie, ut ambuletis post deos alienos quos non novistis.
29. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
29. Quumque introduxerit te Jehova Deus tuus in terram quam tu ingrederis ut possideas eam, tunc dabis benedictionem super montem Garizim, et maledictionem super montem Ebal.
30. Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
30. Annon sunt trans Jordanem post viam ad occasum solis vergentem in terra Chananaei, qui habitant in planitie e regione Gilgal, juxta campestria Moreh?
31. For ye shall pass over Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
31. Vos enim transituri estis Jordanem, ut pergatis ad possidendam terram quam Jehova Deus vester dat vobis, et haereditabitis eam, et habitabitis in ea.
32. And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.
32. Custodite ergo ad faciendum omnia statuta, et judicia, quae ego pono ante faciem vestram hodie.
26. Behold, I set before you this day. He now embraces the two points at once, viz., that they would be blessed if they earnestly apply themselves to the keeping of the Law, and cursed, if they shake off its yoke and revel in their lusts. But, when he says that he here sets before them a blessing and a curse, it is as much as to declare, that he does not merely tell them what is right, but that the reward is prepared if they obey; and if not, that the punishment is also at hand. Thus we see, that the doctrine which he had hitherto delivered is sealed by hope and fear, since they would not lose their labor if they obeyed it, nor be unpunished if they rejected it. But, that they may learn surely to embrace the promises and to fear the threatenings, he repeats what we have met with before, 203 that God, who is both a faithful rewarder, and a severe judge, is the Author of the Law; yet at the same time he magnifies his own ministry, 204 since it behooved them to depend upon God, and to acquiesce in His commandments, in such a manner as still to submit themselves to His Prophet. For such is men’s pride, that they desire to fly above the clouds to listen to God; whilst He would be heard in His servants, by whose mouth He speaks. Moses, therefore, would again enforce upon them this humility, when he states that he enjoins what God has commanded, as if to call himself the organ of the Holy Spirit.
29. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord. I have lately expounded a similar passage, which, although it is subsequent in the order observed by Moses, yet, inasmuch as it sets out the matter more clearly, I have not hesitated for perspicuity’s sake to put first. I said that God’s intention was, whilst appointing the Israelites to proclaim their own condemnation, to lay them under more solemn obligation to keep the Law. If He had Himself declared His will through the Levites only, they ought indeed to have been seriously affected, and to have listened with reverence both to the blessings and the curses; but when each of them testifies with his own mouth what the Levites dictated by God’s command, the introduction of this assent, as a solemn ratification, 205 was more efficacious in awakening their zeal and attention. A more fitting season, however, for this protest was after they had entered the promised land than as if it had been made in the plain of Moab; for the sight of the land tended to its confirmation, as if they had been brought into court to make a covenant with God.
These 206 two mountains are situated opposite to each other, in such a manner that the two divisions of the people might easily stand to bless and to curse, so that they might in concert approve of the promises and threats of God.
30. Are they not on the other side of Jordan. Although the form of interrogation is common in Hebrew, yet in this place Moses affirms more vehemently than as if he had only stated directly that these mountains were in the land of Canaan; for he wishes to encourage them in the confidence of entering the promised inheritance; just as he adds immediately afterwards, “Ye shall pass over Jordan.” For, although they had already experienced the miraculous power of God in the conquest of the Amorites, and in heir occupation of the land of Bashan, yet such was their incredulity, that it was necessary constantly to dissipate their fears, so that they might lay aside all hesitation, and boldly prepare to advance. Finally, he founds an exhortation upon this great goodness of God; for the actual enjoyment of the land ought to have stimulated them the more in the service of God, because they were made to inherit it for the purpose of keeping the Law.
Added in Fr., “Plusieurs fois.”
Added in Fr., “Disant que c’est luy qui commande apres Dieu;” saying that it is he who commands after God.
The Latin word used by C. is a legal one, ratihabitio, explained by Du Cange by “confirmatio, occurring more than once in the Digest, and in more modern writers.” — Adelung’s Gloss. Man., in voce.
“Ebal and Gerizim are two closely adjoining mountains, separated by a narrow valley, about a furlong in breadth, in which stands the town of Naplous, the ancient Shechem. This beautiful valley, covered with olive woods and corn fields, has Mount Gerizim on the south, and Mount Ebal on the north. The two mountains are, according to Buckingham, nearly equal in altitude, neither of them exceeding seven or eight hundred feet above the level of the valley, but much more above the level of the sea, as the whole country here is considerably elevated.” — Illustrated Comment on De 27:4.