Bible Meaning: Stone, bare mountain, bald
Strong's Concordance #H5858
Two men are named Ebal in the Bible. The first was a Horite descendant living in Edom (Genesis 36:23) and the second was a descendant of Shem (one of Noah's sons) through his father Joktan (1Chronicles 1:22).
Mount Ebal, at a present day elevation of 3,080 feet (940 meters), was the place of a unique and highly symbolic Old Testament event. God commanded the Israelites to carry out this ceremony, amongst others acts, after they entered the Promised Land under Joshua (Deuteronomy 27 - 28).
Joshua had six Israelite tribes (Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali) stand on Mount Ebal while the others were stationed on Mount Gerizim. Those on Ebal shouted curses (punishments) on all those who refused to obey God and his righteous laws.
What were some of the punishments to come on those who hardened their hearts against their Creator? God would allow fatal sicknesses and diseases to spread among the people and kill many of them (Deuteronomy 28:21 - 22). They would also suffer from a variety of physical and mental afflictions (verses 27 - 28, 34 - 35).
Those who refuse to repent will not receive rain for their crops, making it difficult to produce food in such extreme drought conditions (Deuteronomy 28:23 - 24). Locusts and other crop destroying pests would also come to decimate their means of survival (verses 38 - 40).
What little food is produced would be forcibly taken from those who continue to sin (Deuteronomy 28:30 - 31). Those who continue to be rebellious would not only be hated by the neighbors but also severely oppressed by their enemies. Such oppression would include the enslavement of their sons and daughters (verses 25, 30 - 32, 41).
When the land is ultimately attacked, the onslaught of the enemy will be so severe that the people will resort to cannibalism (Deuteronomy 28:53). This extreme event did occur at least twice in Israel's history, once when the Syrians attacked Samaria (2Kings 6:24 - 29) and again when the Babylonian Empire attacked Jerusalem (Lamentations 2:20, 4:10).
And the children of Shobal were these: Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
And Ebal, and Abimael, and Sheba.
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.
Deuteronomy 27:3 - 4, 12 - 13
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.
Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister (lime concrete) . . .
These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Joshua 8:30, 33
Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal . . .
And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them: half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal: as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.