ger’-i-zim, ge-ri’-zim (har gerizzim):
1. Scriptural References:
Named in the directions for the reading of the law (
Mt. Gerizim, the modern Jebel et-Tur, stands on the South, Mt. Ebal on the North, of the narrow pass which cuts through the mountain range, opening a way from the sea to the Jordan. In the throat of this pass to the West, on the South of the vale, and close to the foot of Gerizim, lies the town of Nablus, the ancient Shechem. Here copious fountains rise, filling the valley with beauty and fruitfulness. The sides of the mountain are steep and rocky on East and North; on the West the ascent is more gradual, and here, by means of a system of terraces carried almost to the summit, it is cultivated with great care and success. Its height is 2,849 ft. above the level of the sea, 228 ft. lower than its northern companion.
3. Samaritan Traditions:
Abraham came through the pass and camped near Gerizim at the oak of Moreh (
The most important remains on the mountain today are those of Justinian’s fortress, built in 533 AD, to protect the church which had been erected in 475 AD. Near the center of the plateau is a bare piece of rock, on which, tradition says, the altar stood in the Samaritan temple. A cup-like hollow in it may have been used for libations. In the western wall of el-Qal`ah, Justinian’s castle, there are 12 stones under which, it is said, are the stones which Israel took from the bed of the Jordan (
Gerizim was certainly "this mountain" pointed to by the woman of Samaria in her conversation with Jesus (
For the reason why Gerizim was chosen for the blessing and Ebal for the cursing we are left to conjecture. The directions were fixed by one looking to the East, not, as with us, looking to the North. For one standing in the valley, therefore, Gerizim was on the right hand, "the side of good fortune" (Driver, Deuteronomy on 11:28).
Onom places Ebal and Gerizim much nearer the Jordan valley. This was doubtless to meet the difficulty raised by the long distance from Ai to Shechem. But their nearness to the "oaks of Moreh" (
Andronicus, appointed governor of Gerizim by, is mentioned in 2 Macc 5:23 (the "Garizim").