Deuteronomy 13 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Deuteronomy 13)
The following commentary covers Chapters 12 and 13.

The 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. 29: 1).

Maintenance of their relationship with Jehovah characterised by a centre of worship

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 worship.

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 God

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 elsewhere—without 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 allowed—no forbearance toward that which ensnared them to follow another.