The following commentary covers Chapters 12 and 13.
conditions of relationship with God in the land and
enjoyment of His promises
The second division begins
with chapter 12, and contains the statutes and ordinances
they were bound to observe. It is not a repetition of the
old ordinances, but what specially referred to their
conduct in the land, that they might keep it and be
blessed in it. It is a covenant, or the conditions of
their relationship with God, and of the enjoyment of His
promises, added to what had been said before (see chap.
their relationship with Jehovah characterised by a centre
The ordinances tended in
general to this, that they were a people belonging to
Jehovah, and that they were to give up every other
relationship in order to be His; and keep themselves from
all that could seduce them to form such relationships, or
defile them in those which they had with Jehovah. At the
same time, directions are given as to the details of the
maintenance of those relationships. One thing specially
characterises this part: a fixed place where Jehovah
would put His name to which they were to go up to
But in all this, and in
the whole book, this point is treated as a question of a
direct relationship of the people itself with God. The
priests are, in general, mentioned, more as being the
objects of the care of the people when in the land,
according to ordinances already given. The people were to
behave in such-and-such a way towards them; but the
relationship is immediate between the people and God.
The fixed place of
worship chosen by Jehovah, and conduct suited to the true
The first principle laid
down to confirm these relationships is the choice of a
place as the centre of their exercise. They were to go
thither with all their offerings; they might eat flesh
elsewherewithout the blood; but the consecrated
things could only be eaten in the place chosen of God.
They were not to forget the Levites. They were not even
to inquire about the ways of those who had been driven
out of the land.
If the signs of a prophet,
who would entice them to serve other gods, came to pass,
or if a relative, or the beloved of their souls, enticed
them, such were to be put to death; if any of a city, the
whole city was to be reduced to a heap of stones. No
relationship with any but with the true God was to be
allowedno forbearance toward that which ensnared
them to follow another.