Shining a light on the weekly Bible Lessons published in the Christian Science Quarterly®


Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster: and thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee. . . . And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly. 

“Great stones” describes tall pillars or steles used to mark a territory or commemorate a significant event (see other examples in Genesis 28:22; Joshua 4:9; 24:26, 27). Plastering was an ancient process equivalent to contemporary methods of smoothing and sealing surfaces. Its whitewash effect also served to make inscriptions conspicuous.

Resources quoted in this issue

Cit. 1: Carpenter, Eugene E., and Wayne McCown, eds. Asbury Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.

Cit. 5: Mays, James L., Joseph Blenkinsopp, et al., eds. Harper’s Bible Commentary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988.

Cit. 9: Johnson, Thomas Floyd. New International Biblical Commentary—1, 2, and 3 John. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers 1993; Burge, Gary M. The NIV Application Commentary: From Biblical Text . . . to Contemporary Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.

Cit. 10: Barnes, Albert. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible. New York, 1834–85. Also available at

Cit. 13: Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1955. Revised and updated by Saint Andrew, 2001. Reprinted as The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04.

Cit. 21: The Living Bible, copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Letters & Conversations
Letters & Conversations
June 27, 2022

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