Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness (defect): for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
- To bring a defective sacrifice to The Lord was to bring something into the presence of God that was forbidden, and was therefore an abomination to The Lord. This calls remembrance the perfect, pure, and spotless sacrifice of Christ as The Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world.
- According to Malachi 1.6-8, to offer anything less than our best to The Lord was equivalent to despising His Name. This reminds us to serve God with the best of our abilities, time, and possession. To do what we do for His glory and honor.
2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness (found doing evil) in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing (violating) his covenant, 3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
- Here we read God’s instructions concerning those who would later rebel against the commands of the Lord in Israel. These commands are not intended to apply to every person who commits sin, because everyone in Israel would be a sinner, as we all are.
- These commands were to be applied to the person who deliberately breaks their covenant with Jehovah God, and in doing so, they deliberately turn away from Him and begin to worship other gods, whether they be pagan idols or the hosts of Heaven (many of the pagans would worship the sun, moon, and stars); that person was to be put to death.
- Astral worship was also forbidden (cf. 4:19) for it honored inanimate creation rather than the living Creator.
- One reason for this severity would be that the individual had broken a covenant with God which was much like marriage, and the penalty for adultery in Old Testament Israel was death.
- Another reason for the severity was that God knows how infectious and contagious apostasy is; that if apostasy were allowed to remain undealt with in Israel, it could easily spread throughout the entire nation and lead all of them astray. Thus it could have eternal ramifications for hundreds of thousands of people.
- The grand object contemplated in choosing Israel was to preserve the knowledge and worship of the one true God.
4. And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
- If an Israelite heard that another Hebrew was following after false gods, it was their responsibility to look into the matter rather than just ignoring it. However, the Lord also commands them to make a diligent inquiry, rather than jumping to a conclusion that is only based on rumors and hearsay. There was to be a thorough examination of the matter, and He describes in later verses the fact that there were to be witnesses included in the investigation.
- The Lord is so mindful of the life of men that He demands two or three eyewitnesses of an event in order to put a person to death for a capital crime. He tells them specifically in this verse that the testimony of one witness is not enough, but that it would require at least two eyewitnesses who were willing to stand up and verbally accuse the condemned in public.
- The one who is willing to stand up and publicly accuse the condemned is also required to be the first one to pick up a stone against them in putting them to death. (John 8.1-11) This would have the effect of cautioning the witness against making a false accusation or even a hasty decision on what they have seen. It would also subject them to the penalty of blood vengeance if they had wrongfully condemned someone to death (19:15-21).
- New Testament churches have a similar responsibility to keep themselves pure. A Christian offender should be “cut off” from his local church’s fellowship if a thorough investigation proves his sin and he is unwilling to repent of it.
- These passages bring up something that we studied on the last Men’s Getaway, and that was the issue of accountability within the community of saints. Every single person in this body is responsible before God to look out for one another’s spiritual condition…not as a sin sniffing Phariasee…not in a legalistic way…..but out of love for one another and for the preservation of spiritual health within the community of saints.
8. If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood (relating to the killing of a man), between plea and plea (concerning property, or civil rights), and between stroke and stroke (personal quarrel), being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; 9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: 10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: 11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
- The person at odds with someone was to go to the temple for resolution. If a judge thought that a case was too difficult for him to decide, he could take it to a central tribunal which consisted of Levites and an officiating chief judge. This was to take place at the future location of the sanctuary.
- The same principle is true today. I firmly believe that the best place for arbitration between believers is the local church where the mind and heart of God is to be sought to determine the correct course of action that is to be taken.
- People who come to the church for counsel must come submitted to what the Lord instructs and what the Word declares rather than going to other people, lawyers, or clinics until they find someone who agrees with them or feels sorry for them. Knowing our tendency is to travel around until we hear what we want to hear. Jon Courson
12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
· The previous few verses state that when the Lord has spoken through His representatives on a matter, great care was to be taken to obey His voice and carry out His will. Here, He instructs that the man who does not respect and heed the voice of God should suffer the penalty that was at first to abide upon the accused.
· The word "presumptuously" means "high handedly or in defiant arrogance," and refers to the person who chooses not to obey the word given by God through the Priests.
o Psa 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
· Moses here steps again into the role of prophet, looking by the Spirit into Israel's future and predicting that the day will come on which they will demand that God give them a king so that they could be like all the other nations around them.
· This was fulfilled in the days of Samuel and Saul (1 Sam. 8:5,19,20; 10:19), and was an unfortunate turn of events, as God desired for Israel to be a theocracy, rather than a monarchy. He Himself wanted to be the only King over Israel, and to set them apart from other nations in that way. However, the Lord does give them instructions that will ensure that they will be somewhat distinct from the other nations, in that their king will have strict guidelines around them to guide their spiritual path and moral behavior.
· They were not to hold elections, but were to rather seek the voice and will of God concerning the identity of their king. The Lord also instructs them to ensure that a fellow Israelite takes the throne, rather than a foreigner.
16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
- The Lord knows the heart of man. Once Israel is given a king, his tendency would be to abuse their power for the sake of personal gain, which is contrary to his will. . Since Egypt was the place of slavery from which the Lord had just rescued Israel, it was prohibited for Israel to return to Egypt for help (Isa. 31:1; cf. Deut. 28:68).
- The Lord here advises him not to begin to accumulate horses for himself, as the tendency would be to put his trust in horses and chariots as the strength of Israel. God desired that all of Israel and her king would put their trust in Him alone for their security and strength. Egypt was a country which abounded in renowned breeds of horses, but the Lord desired that His people would never return to that nation which had oppressed them, and from which He had just delivered them.
17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
- Polygamy was never God's desire for His people. As Genesis 2:24 states, every man is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his one wife, and that the two of them shall become one flesh. This is impossible to do with more than one wife, and so the Lord instructs at the very outset of the Scriptures that marriage is to be between one man and one woman, in a lifelong relationship of love and commitment.
Lastly, he was not to amass unto himself treasures of silver and gold.
- Riches, honours, and pleasures, are three great hindrances of godliness, (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life,) especially to those in high stations. MHC
- King Solomon violated all 3 of these prohibitions and his father David violated the last 2.
18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
- Israel's king, before taking the throne, was to be required to hand-write a copy of the entire Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). This would have the effect of ensuring that he was familiar with the Word and the desires of God, and would help serve as a defense against transgressing the commands of God listed in this chapter.
- What’s to keep the king from falling prey to the lure of power, women, and wealth? David said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11)—which is exactly what Moses said…These words of King David only proves that it is not enough for us to know the will of God.
- The kings heart was not to be lifted up above God’s law any more than any other Israelite.
1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. 2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. 3 And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5 For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.
- In order to be a priest, one must be from the Jewish tribe of Levi. The first part of this chapter describes the support of the tribe of Levi, which was the one tribe selected by God out of all of Israel to serve Him in full-time ministry among their people.
- Because they were forbidden to own or work land, and thus were given no "inheritance" in the land of Israel, they would need to be supported by the offerings of God's people, such as sacrificial animals, grain and financial giving. The Levites lived in the cities assigned to them throughout the land (Num 35.1-8; Josh 21).
- God is revealing here that the priests have a right to receive the tithes of God's people in order to live and support their families. Other passages in the Law, such as Leviticus 7:32-34, further describe the portion of the sacrifices which belonged to the priests.
- The principle of "first fruits" ordained that the first and best portion of an Israelite's livestock and produce belonged to the Lord. Here, God reveals that a portion of that first fruits belonged to the Levites.
6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose; 7 Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD. 8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony (other property besides what he received officially as a Levite).
- The principle is that no matter where in Israel a Levite may reside, he has the right to enter into the ministry and be supported by the giving of God's people.
9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
- Now God warns His people through Moses about the dangers of getting involved in the detestable worship and demonic activities of the surrounding pagan nations. The passage will go on to describe nine detestable practices of the Canaanites.
10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
- Pass through the fire - Refers to the detestable worship of the Canaanite god Molech. In some cases, two fires were built and a priest of Molech would carry an infant in between, thus initiating them into the religion. In other cases, children were actually burned alive on the arms of an idol (Deut. 12:31).
- Divination (witchcraft); seeking to determine the will of the gods or future events by examining and interpreting omens.
- Observer of times (soothsaying); Because it sounds like a Hebrew word for “cloud,” some scholars believe it refers to cloud reading; one who pretends to foretell by the clouds, planets. Some see this as beingsimilar to tea-leaf reading or astrology, which is a reading of the stars.
- Enchanter (sorcery); inducing magical effects by drugs or some other kind of potion.
- Witch (enchantress or sorceress); denotes a form of magic. The root means “to cut up,” and thus may refer to one who cuts up herbs and brews them for magical purposes (Gr. Pharmaka, drug).one who conjures up spells or omens.
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
- Charmer; One who chants to achieve a desired effect, either beneficial or harmful, or to ward off evils or evil spirits.
- Consulter with familiar spirits (medium); one who supposedly communicates with the dead, but is actually communicating with demons.
- Wizards (spiritism); a person who has intimate acquaintance with demonic spirits.
- Necromancer- calling up the dead or seeking to make communication with the dead.
- Palm reading, tarot card readings, astrology readings, praying to saints, channeling and many other New Age techniques. Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce are typical of the kinds of “spiritual” mediums that are forbidden by God to be entertained by His people.
- Beloved, let me make it real simple for you…..read the Scriptures. Be a Psalm 1 kind of a saint……beware of pseudo-Christian cults with their spiritual propaganda…..their “inspired” literature (NWT< Book of Mormon, D&C)…..tracks etc…….
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
- God reveals that as He drove the Canaanites out of their land for these practices, He would also turn His face against Israel if they were found holding fast to these things. Although this is an Old Testament passage, it reveals the unchanging heart of God toward all of these things. None of God's people should ever be found having involvement with such practices.
13 Thou shalt be perfect (sincerely, heartily, and wholly devoted to God) with the LORD thy God.
- The word perfect here does not mean sinless or without sin, for that is impossible for any son of Adam (1 John 1.8-10).
14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
15 ¶ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
- Moses begins to prophecy about the coming of Jesus Christ. He would arise from among the people of Israel, and be the next great Prophet to speak to the nation of Israel and lead them into a new dispensation of God's dealings with men, Moses being the deliverer of the Old Covenant, Jesus the New Covenant.
- John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
- In Acts 3:22,23 Peter reveals that is was Jesus that Moses was speaking about here.
- Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
- Hebrews 3:1-6 also draws some comparisons between Moses and Jesus. Jesus is far greater and more important than Moses, as He is counted worthy of more glory than Moses; as Moses was a servant in the house of God but Jesus was its Maker (Heb. 3:3); Jesus is actually God (Heb. 3:4); and Moses was faithful to God but Jesus is the Son of God (Heb. 3:6).
- Jesus Himself stated in John 5:45-47 that Moses wrote about Him. Here in Deuteronomy 18, Moses teaches that it will be far more important to hear and obey Jesus than they did himself.
- In Matthew 12:38-42 and Luke 10:13-16 Jesus reveals that it was those that heard His words and rejected Him that were the most accountable to judgment.
20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
- Under Old Testament Law, if a person would presume to speak a word of prophecy in the name of the Lord and it would not come to pass, that person was to be considered a false prophet and was to be put to death. Thus a false prophet was not always going to be overtly blasphemous, as in the case of a prophet of Baal or Ashteroth, but could come speaking in the name of Jehovah God and yet be a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
- Ascribing his own vain and lying fancies as being the God of truth.