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EBAL MONS (ὄρος Γαιβάλ), a mountain of Palestine, always associated in the sacred narrative with the neighbouring Gerizim, from which it is separated by a narrow valley, in which is situated the town of Nablouse [NEAPOLIS], the ancient Shechem; Ebal being on the north of the valley, Gerizim on the south, which may account for a phenomenon remarked by some travellers, and thus described by Maundrell (p. 61):--“Tho‘ neither of the mountains has much to boast of as to their pleasantness, yet, as one passes between them, Gerizim seems to discover a somewhat more verdant, fruitful aspect than Ebal. The reason of which may be, because fronting towards the north, it is sheltered from the heat of the sun by its own shade: whereas Ebal, looking southward, and receiving the sun that comes directly upon it, must by consequence be rendered more scorched and unfruitful.” It was from Mount, Ebal that Moses commanded the blessings to be pronounced by the children of Israel, as the curses were from Mount Gerizim (Deut. 11.29); and upon this mountain, according to the Hebrew text of the Pentateuch, they were to set up plaistered stones inscribed with the Decalogue, and to erect an altar and offer sacrifices (Deut. 27.4, 5; comp. Josh. 8.30, 31). The remarkable variation of the Samaritan Pentateuch, which assigns Gerizim to this use, is a matter of history and philology, which cannot be here discussed. It is remarkable that the identity of the two mountains in the vicinity of Nablouse with the Ebal and Gerizim of Scripture was called in question by Eusebius and S. Jerome, who assign to these Scripture names a position E. of Jericho and in the vicinity of Gilgal (Onomast. s. v. Gabal), in accordance, as the latter thinks, with the sacred narrative (Comment. in Deut.). Independently, however, of the fact that no mountains or hills are found in the Valley of the Jordan, between Jericho and the river, it may be observed that the objection to the received sites is based on a misunderstanding of the text; and although the transition in the history (Joshua, 8.30) from the valley of the Jordan to the heart of Mount Ephraim is sudden and abrupt, yet the history of Jotham (Judges, ix.) unmistakeably places Gerizim in the immediate vicinity of Shechem, of the identity of which with Nablouse [NEAPOLIS], there can be no doubt. The question is fully discussed by Reland, with his usual learning and acumen. (Dissert. Miscall. pars i. p. 121, &c.)


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