|<< Deuteronomy 12 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
All monuments of idolatry in the promised land to be destroyed, Deuteronomy 12:1-3; and God's service to be duly performed, Deuteronomy 12:4-7. The difference between the performance of that service in the wilderness and in the promised land, Deuteronomy 12:8-11. The people are to be happy in all their religious observances, Deuteronomy 12:12. The offerings must be brought to the place which God appoints, and no blood is to be eaten, Deuteronomy 12:13-16. The tithe of corn, wine, oil, etc., to be eaten in the place that God shall choose, Deuteronomy 12:17, Deuteronomy 12:18. The Levite must not be forsaken, Deuteronomy 12:19. All clean beasts may be eaten, but the blood must be poured out before the Lord, and be eaten on no pretense whatever, Deuteronomy 12:20-25. Of vows, burnt-offerings, etc., Deuteronomy 12:26, Deuteronomy 12:27. These precepts are to be carefully obeyed, Deuteronomy 12:28. Cautions against the abominations of the heathen, Deuteronomy 12:29-31. Nothing to be added to or diminished from the word of God, Deuteronomy 12:32.
1These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
2Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
Ye shall overthrow their altars - Where unholy sacrifices have been offered; and break their pillars, probably meaning statues and representations of their gods cut out of stone; and burn their groves, such as those about the temple of Ashtaroth, the Canaanitish Venus, whose impure rites were practiced in different parts of the enclosures or groves round her temples; and ye shall hew down the graven images, probably implying all images carved out of wood; and destroy the names of them, which were no doubt at first graven on the stones, and carved on the trees, and then applied to the surrounding districts. In various instances the names of whole mountains, valleys, and districts were borrowed from the gods worshipped there.
4Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.
5But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:
6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:
7And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.
8Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
9For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
10But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
11Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:
12And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.
13Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:
14But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
The place which the Lord shall choose - To prevent idolatry and bring about a perfect uniformity in the Divine worship, which at that time was essentially necessary; because every rite and ceremony had a determinate meaning, and pointed out the good things which were to come, therefore one place must be established where those rites and ceremonies should be carefully and punctually observed. Had it not been so, every man would have formed his worship according to his own mind, and the whole beauty and importance of the grand representative system would have been destroyed, and the Messiah and the glories of his kingdom could not have been seen through the medium of the Jewish ritual. For uniformity in every part of the Divine worship the same necessity does not now exist; because that which was typified is come, and the shadows have all fled away. Yet, when it can be obtained, how desirable is it that all sincere Christians should with one mouth, as well as with one heart, glorify their common Lord and Savior!
15Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.
Thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates - With the proviso that the blood be poured out on the ground.
1. The blood should not be eaten.
2. It should be poured out by way of sacrifice. I think this is the meaning; and not that they should pour out the blood with as little ceremony and respect as they poured water upon the ground, which is the meaning according to Calmet and others.
The roebuck, and - the hart - It is very likely that by צבי tsebi the antelope is meant; and by איל aiyal, the hart or deer. This is the opinion of Dr. Shaw; and from the report of travelers we learn that both these animals are found in that desert to the present day. See Harmer, vol. iv., p. 25, etc. Of the propriety of eating clean animals there could be no question, but the blood must be poured out; yet there were cases in which they might kill and eat in all their gates, cities, and dwellings - such as the roebuck and the hart, or all clean wild beasts, for these being taken in hunting, and frequently shot by arrows, their blood could not be poured out at the altar. Therefore the command appears to take in only such tame beasts as were used for food.
16Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.
17Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:
18But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.
19Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.
Forsake not the Levite - These had no inheritance, and were to live by the sanctuary: if therefore the offerings were withheld by which the Levites were supported, they of course must perish. Those who have devoted themselves to the service of God in ministering to the salvation of the souls of men, should certainly be furnished at least with all the necessaries of life. Those who withhold this from them sin against their own mercies, and that ordinance of God by which a ministry is established for the salvation of souls.
20When the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
21If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
22Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.
23Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.
For the blood is the life - And the life being offered as an atonement, consequently the blood should not be eaten. See the notes on Leviticus 17:11, where the subject of the vitality of the blood is largely considered.
24Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.
25Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.
26Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose:
27And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.
28Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.
29When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
31Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
Their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire - Almost all the nations in the world agreed in offering human victims to their gods on extraordinary occasions, by which it is evident that none of those nations had any right notion of the Divine nature. How necessary, then, was the volume of revelation, to teach men what that religion is with which God can be well pleased! The Hindoos to this day offer human victims to their goddess Cali, and at the temple of Jaggernaut; and yet, notwithstanding this, there are found certain persons who, while they profess Christianity, are absolutely unwilling to send the Hindoos the Gospel of Christ, because they think it would not be politically wise! But the wisdom of this world has ever been foolishness with God; and in spite of all this infidel policy, the word of the Lord shall have free course and be glorified.
32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.