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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 13

 

 

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

Ver. 1. If there arise among you a prophet.] A public deceiver, that shall boldly obtrude upon you his erroneous opinions for divine oracles, seeking to drag disciples after him, [Acts 20:29] such as of late times were Servetus, Socinus, Arminius, Vorstius, Pelargus the first Anabaptist, Istolius Agricola the first Antinomian; H. N., that is, Henry Nicolas of Leyden, the first Familist. Howbeit Gerson tells us of a woman, one Maria de Valentiana, that had lately, before his relation, written a book with incredible subtlety, concerning the prerogative and eminence of divine love, to the which whatever soul had attained, is, according to her, let loose from all the law of God’s commandments.


Verse 2

Deuteronomy 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

Ver. 2. And the sign or the wonder come to pass.] For so it may happen by divine permission, for the exposing and shame of hypocrites; as when Jannes and Jambres turned water into blood, or at least seemed to do so. [Exodus 7:22]


Verse 3

Deuteronomy 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ver. 3. Thou shalt not hearken.] Heretics have their pythanology, their good words and fair speeches, wherein they can vent a spittle of diseased opinions, and whereby they deceive the hearts of the simple. [Romans 16:18] It is not safe, therefore, to hear them, or hold discourse with such, lest they insinuate and infect us, as the Montanists did Tertullian; as the Valentinians did various well-affected Christians; as Acacius the heretic did Anastasius, second Bishop of Rome, A.D., 497, who sought to rectify him. It is reported of Placilla the good Empress, that when Theodosius, senior, desired to confer with Eunomius, she dissuaded her husband very earnestly, lest being perverted by his speeches he might fall into heresy (a) "Keep thee far from an evil matter," saith Solomon. "Mark those that make divisions, and avoid them," saith Paul. [Romans 16:17] And again, "There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, … , whose mouths must be stopped," &c. [Titus 1:11]


Verse 4

Deuteronomy 13:4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

Ver. 4. Ye shall walk after the Lord.] A special antidote against apostasy from the truth, [2 Peter 3:17-18] whereas those that have "put away a good conscience, do, as concerning faith, easily make shipwreck." [1 Timothy 1:19]


Verse 5

Deuteronomy 13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you] away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Ver. 5. Shall be put to death.] This power is still in the Christian magistrate, to inflict capital punishment on gross heretics; such as was Servetus at Geneva, and Campian here, who spider-like was swept down by the hand of justice, and drew his last thread in the triangle of Tyburn, as the historian wittily phraseth it. (a) Quid Imperatori cum ecclesia? was a question moved by the old Donatists. Libertas prophetandi, is much challenged by the Arminians, and other sectaries. But if in matter of religion every man should think what he lists, and utter what he thinks, and defend what he utters, and publish what he defends, and gather disciples to what he publisheth, this liberty, or licentiousness rather, would soon be the bane of any church.


Verse 6

Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

Ver. 6. Thy friend, which is as thine own soul.] Amicitia fit tantum inter binos qui sunt veri, et bonos qui sunt pauci.

Entice thee secretly, saying.] Christ found the devil in Peter, persuading him to spare himself. Cassianus reports of a young man that had given himself up to a Christian life, and his parents, misliking that way, wrote letters to him to dissuade him, which when he knew, he would not once open them, but threw them in the fire. Mention is also made in ecclesiastical history, of one Phileas, a nobleman and constant martyr, who going to execution, seemed as one deaf at the persuasions, and blind at the tears of his dearest friends: as the waters use to break themselves on a rock, so was he inflexible.


Verse 9

Deuteronomy 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Ver. 9. Kill him,] i.e., Deliver him up to the magistrate to be killed; for he bears not the sword in vain, like St Paul in a glass window, or George on a signpost.


Verse 10

Deuteronomy 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Ver. 10. To thrust thee away.] By force, not of arms, but of arguments; as the Valentinians, Qui prius persuadebant quam docebant. (a) Thus Jeroboam is said to have driven Israel from following the Lord. [1 Kings 14:16]


Verse 12

Deuteronomy 13:12 If thou shalt hear [say] in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

Ver. 12. If thou shalt hear say.] Rumours are not always to be credited, nor always to be contemned.


Verse 13

Deuteronomy 13:13 [Certain] men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

Ver. 13. Children of Belial.] Renegade are the worst of men. See 1 John 2:19. Rabshakeh is held such a one; so Bertius, Tilenus, Staphilus, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-13.html. 1865-1868.

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