||When you cross the Jordan, you shall set up the stones that I am now describing to you on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with lime.
Vehayah be'ovrechem et-haYarden takimu et-ha'avanim ha'eleh asher anochi metsaveh etchem hayom behar Eyval vesadeta otam basid.
||There you shall then build an altar to God your Lord. It shall be a stone altar, and you shall not lift up any iron to it.
Uvanita sham mizbe'ach l'Adonay Eloheycha mizbach avanim lo-tanif aleyhem barzel.
(Septuagint). Or, 'near' (cf. Rashi).
See Deuteronomy, 11:29. This was the mountain of the curse, and the stones were placed there as a consolation for the tribes associated with this mountain (Chizzkuni). They were also to indicate that the curse would come for violating the Torah (Abarbanel).
Some say that they were plastered after having been written on (Sotah 35b; see Deuteronomy 27:2). Others maintain that they were re-plastered (Malbim).
|you shall then|
Some say out of different stones (Malbim), while others maintain that the altar was made out of the stones with the writing (Lekach Tov; Ralbag; Bachya; Abarbanel). Both opinions are found in Talmudical sources (Tosefta, Sotah 8:5; Yerushalmi, Sotah 7:5; Tosafoth, Sotah 35b, s.v. Ketza). See Joshua 8:32.
|not lift up any iron...|
See Exodus 20:22, Joshua 8:31.