Deuteronomy 12

CHAPTER XII

All monuments of idolatry in the promised land to be destroyed,

1-3;

and God's service to be duly performed, 4-7.

The difference between the performance of that service in the

wilderness and in the promised land, 8-11.

The people are to be happy in all their religious observances,

12.

The offerings must be brought to the place which God appoints,

and no blood is to be eaten, 13-16.

The tithe of corn, wine, oil, &c., to be eaten in the place that

God shall choose, 17, 18.

The Levite must not be forsaken, 19.

All clean beasts may be eaten, but the blood must be poured out

before the Lord, and be eaten on no pretence whatever, 29-25.

Of vows, burnt-offerings, &c., 26, 27.

These precepts are to be carefully obeyed, 28.

Cautions against the abominations of the heathen, 29-31.

Nothing to be added to or diminished from the word of God, 32.

NOTES ON CHAP. XII

Verse 3. 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

practised in different parts of the inclosures 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.

Verse 14. 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 Saviour!

Verse 15. 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 tsebi

the antelope is meant; and by aiyal, the hart or deer.

This is the opinion of Dr. Shaw; and from the report of travellers

we learn that both these animals are found in that desert to the

present day. See Harmer, vol. iv., p. 25, &c. 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.

Verse 19. 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.

Verse 23. For the blood is the life] And the life being

offered as an atonement, consequently the blood should not be

eaten. See Clarke on Le 17:11, where the subject of the

vitality of the blood is largely considered.

Verse 31. 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.

Copyright information for Clarke