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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 12

 

 

Introduction

The Covenant Stipulations, Covenant Making at Shechem, Blessings and Cursings (Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 29:1).

In this section of Deuteronomy we first have a description of specific requirements that Yahweh laid down for His people. These make up the second part of the covenant stipulations for the covenant expressed in Deuteronomy 4:45 to Deuteronomy 29:1 and also for the covenant which makes up the whole book. They are found in chapters 12-26. As we have seen Deuteronomy 1:1 to Deuteronomy 4:44 provide the preamble and historical prologue for the overall covenant, followed by the general stipulations in chapters 5-11. There now, therefore, in 12-26 follow the detailed stipulations which complete the main body of the covenant. These also continue the second speech of Moses which began in Deuteronomy 5:1.

Overall in this speech Moses is concerned to connect with the people. It is to the people that his words are spoken rather than the priests so that much of the priestly legislation is simply assumed. Indeed it is remarkably absent in Deuteronomy except where it directly touches on the people. Anyone who read Deuteronomy on its own would wonder at the lack of cultic material it contained, and at how much the people were involved. It concentrates on their interests, and not those of the priests and Levites, while acknowledging the responsibility that they had towards both priests and Levites.

And even where the cultic legislation more specifically connects with the people, necessary detail is not given, simply because he was aware that they already had it in writing elsewhere. Their knowledge of it is assumed. Deuteronomy is building on a foundation already laid. In it Moses was more concerned to get over special aspects of the legislation as it was specifically affected by entry into the land, with the interests of the people especially in mind. The suggestion that it was later written in order to bring home a new law connected with the Temple does not fit in with the facts. Without the remainder of the covenant legislation in Exodus/Leviticus/Numbers to back it up, its presentation often does not make sense from a cultic point of view.

This is especially brought home by the fact that when he refers to their approach to God he speaks of it in terms of where they themselves stood or will stand when they do approach Him. They stand not on Sinai but in Horeb. They stand not in the Sanctuary but in ‘the place’, the site of the Sanctuary. That is why he emphasises Horeb, which included the area before the Mount, and not just Sinai itself (which he does not mention). And why he speaks of ‘the place’ which Yahweh chose, which includes where the Tabernacle is sited and where they gather together around the Tabernacle, and not of the Sanctuary itself. He wants them to feel that they have their full part in the whole.

These detailed stipulations in chapters 12-26 will then be followed by the details of the covenant ceremony to take place at the place which Yahweh has chosen at Shechem (Deuteronomy 27), followed by blessings and cursings to do with the observance or breach of the covenant (Deuteronomy 28).

I. INSTRUCTION WITH REGARD TO WORSHIP AND RIGHTNESS BEFORE YAHWEH (Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 16:17).

In this first group of regulations in Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 16:7 emphasis is laid on proper worship and rightness before Yahweh, looked at from the people’s point of view. They include:

· Regulations with regard to the Central Sanctuary as the one place where Yahweh is to be officially worshipped with emphasis on the people’s side of things and their participation. They are to worship there joyfully (Deuteronomy 12).

· Regulations with regard to avoidance of idolatry as it affects the people lest they lose their cause for joy (Deuteronomy 13).

· Regulations for the people with regard to ritual wholeness and cleanness so that they might reveal themselves as suited to worship joyfully in the place which Yahweh would choose (Deuteronomy 14:1-21).

· Regulations for the people with regard to tithing mainly ignoring levitical aspects (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). Here they were to share their joy with others who would thus be able to rejoice with them.

· Regulations with regard to poverty as a slur on Yahweh (Deuteronomy 14:28 to Deuteronomy 15:11). This was to be allayed by a special use of the tithe every third year and a release from debt every seventh year. To allow unrelieved poverty in the land would prevent their being able to approach Yahweh with joy and to enjoy His prosperity.

· Regulations with regard to Israelite Habiru bondsmen and bondswomen and how they were to be their treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-18). Again the emphasis is on generosity towards those whose need was greatest.

· Regulations with regard to firstlings, who represented their own relief from bondage, with the emphasis on their being Yahweh’s and thus to be royally treated, and to be eaten joyfully in the place which Yahweh would choose. The emphasis is on the people’s participation (Deuteronomy 15:19-23).

· Regulations with regard to the three main feasts, with emphasis on the fact that they must be eaten at the place which Yahweh will choose and that the last two of them must be celebrated joyfully, again with the emphasis on the people’s participation throughout (Deuteronomy 16:1-17).

But central to it all is the Central Sanctuary, the place where Yahweh sets His name. The place where He meets with His people, and they with Him, and the need for them to be in the right spirit so as to do so joyfully.

Chapter 12 One Place of Worship To Be Chosen By Yahweh Himself - The Central Sanctuary.

The contents of this chapter are crucial. It basically deals with the fact that Israel was to worship at one sanctuary, and one sanctuary only, in contrast with the many altars and the many sanctuaries of the Canaanites. For Yahweh was One and could not be divided up (Deuteronomy 6:4). As we have seen in the introduction, the only legitimate exception to this was when the Ark left the tabernacle for specific purposes, and thus Yahweh was seen as travelling with it, or when Yahweh actually appeared in a theophany, and was thus clearly there in the place where the offering was offered.

And even more importantly (and constantly emphasised) was that the place in which that sanctuary would be set up was to be one chosen by Yahweh. Unlike the gods of the nations He controlled His own destiny. He was not subject to the will of men or of priests, but brought about all in accordance with His own will, and chose where He would reveal Himself and where He should be officially worshipped. While He was over all He could not be found on every high hill and in every green tree. He could not be so limited. He was not a part of nature but above it.

The concept of ‘the place which He shall choose’ is a magnificent one. All was to be seen as under His sovereign control and when He dwelt among men it was because He chose to do so, and where He chose to do so. And He revealed Himself as He chose to do so. The glory went not to the place but to the One Who chose it.

This dwelling among men did not in any way limit Yahweh. Moses has shown earlier, especially in Egypt and in the wilderness, that He could act where He would, He could speak where He would, and He knew all that happened everywhere even to the extent of knowing people’s minds. Thus men could pray to Him wherever they were and He would hear them. But it stressed that there was only one physical place of approach to Him by men, not through nature but in the place that He chose, where He came to them in His invisible presence, the heavenly coming in contact with the earthly. This emphasised His distinctiveness. We could see this chapter as based on the first commandment, ‘you shall have no other gods before My face’.

That is one reason why Moses here speaks of ‘the place which Yahweh your God will choose’. The term ‘the place (maqom)’ was sanctified by ancient usage for the site at which worship took place. When Abraham himself came to Canaan he set up an altar in ‘the place (maqom) of Shechem’ (Deuteronomy 12:6). It is surely from this no coincidence that in Deuteronomy, on entering the land, Israel were to gather at Shechem (Deuteronomy 27). Later in Genesis 13 Abraham returned to ‘the place (maqom) of the altar which he had made there (at Bethel) at the first’ (Deuteronomy 13:4). It was in ‘the place (maqom) of which Yahweh had told him’ (the place of Yahweh’s choice) that Abraham prepared to offer Isaac (Genesis 22:3), a ‘place’ which became known as Yahweh yireh, ‘in the Mount of Yahweh it will be provided’ (Genesis 22:14). And Jacob when he had had his first awesome experience of Yahweh could say, ‘Yahweh is in this place (maqom), and I knew it not -- how awesome is this place (maqom)’ (Genesis 28:16-17). Again it was a place that Yahweh had chosen. Compare also Genesis 32:2; Genesis 32:30; Genesis 35:7; Genesis 35:14. The word ‘place’ (maqom) thus had a firm and sacred connection with patriarchal ‘holy places’ and with treasured experiences of Yahweh and the idea of a place chosen by Yahweh. That was why it was a very suitable term to use in connection with the site of His ‘dwellingplace’ (of His mishkan, often translated ‘Tabernacle’) in the land which was being given to their descendants for their sakes. Like the patriarchs they would have a ‘place’ which Yahweh their God had chosen. The court of the Tabernacle was also regularly described as a holy ‘place’ (Leviticus 6:16; Leviticus 6:25 and often).

Thus the people who were fully familiar with these ancient traditions would tie themselves in with their fathers in recognition of the chosen ‘place’ as a holy place of worship. And they would in the light of Deuteronomy 11 and Deuteronomy 27 see themselves as following in Abraham’s footsteps to ‘the place (maqom) of Shechem’. Yet Moses does not mention Shechem here (although he does later by inference), for here it was not necessarily Shechem that was in mind but ‘the place’ that Yahweh would choose, wherever it might be, which might vary from time to time, and was dependent on His will.

We should note with regard to this that what follows was not just guidance given. Note the constant repetition of ‘you shall’ and ‘you shall not’. It was apodictic law. It was imperative that it be obeyed.

That there was one and one only ‘place’ for worship signified the Oneness of God. We too worship One God, although we do not come through one place but through One Lord Jesus Christ, the One Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), our One Lord. As the sanctuary united Israel, so does Christ today unite His people as one. We may therefore apply the teaching about the one sanctuary to our One Saviour. It is to Him, and to Him alone that we must look, and we all find our unity in His oneness.

This chapter is carefully constructed on a chiastic pattern, (a to e then e to a), stressing its unity:

a These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall observe to do (Deuteronomy 12:1).

b All idolatrous places to be destroyed - shall not do so to Yahweh my God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4).

c Must seek to the place ‘which Yahweh your God will choose’ and bring whole burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes etc. (Deuteronomy 12:5-6).

d Shall eat before Yahweh and rejoice in all they put their hand to in which Yahweh has blessed them, not doing what they do now, doing what is right in their own eyes (Deuteronomy 12:7-9).

e When they go over Jordan and dwell in the land which ‘Yahweh your God’ causes them to inherit -- they shall bring whole burnt offering and sacrifices etc. to ‘the place which Yahweh your God shall choose’ and rejoice before Yahweh (Deuteronomy 12:10-12).

f Must ‘take heed’ not to offer whole burnt offerings anywhere but only in the place which Yahweh their God chooses (Deuteronomy 12:13-14).

g May kill and eat flesh within their gates as they desire but must not eat the blood (15-16).

g Must eat their tithes before Yahweh their God in the place which Yahweh their God chooses and rejoice befor Him (Deuteronomy 12:17-18). (Note how g is the reversal of e).

f Must ‘take heed’ that they do not forsake the Levite as long as they live (Deuteronomy 12:19).

e When ‘Yahweh your God’ enlarges their borders as He has promised -- if ‘the place which Yahweh your God shall choose’ be too far they may eat within their gates all that they desire (Deuteronomy 12:20-22).

d Must not eat the blood but must pour it on the ground (Deuteronomy 12:23-25)

c Must take holy things and vows to the place ‘which Yahweh your God will choose’ and offer whole burnt offerings and pour out blood before altar, and observe His commandments (Deuteronomy 12:26-28).

b Idols not to be sought to once they have been destroyed - shall not do so to Yahweh your God (Deuteronomy 12:29-31).

a Whatever I command, you will observe to do (Deuteronomy 12:32).

In ‘a’ and its parallel they must ‘observe to do’ what He commands. In ‘b’ and its parallel all idolatrous places to be destroyed and not sought for - they shall not do so to Yahweh their God. In ‘c’ and its parallel they are to offer whole burnt offerings etc. at the place which Yahweh chooses. In ‘d’ they must eat before Yahweh and not do what is right in their own eyes, and in the parallel they must not eat the blood but must pour it on the ground. In ‘e’ when they inherit they must offer whole burnt offerings and rejoice (and therefore eat) before Yahweh at the place which He will choose, but in the parallel when their borders are enlarged they may eat within their gates if the place which Yahweh has chosen is too far off. In ‘f’ they must ‘take heed’ that they only make offerings at the place which Yahweh chooses, and in the parallel they must ‘take heed’ that they do not forsake the Levites as long as they live. Thus they must centralise their worship and look to the Levites constantly for guidance. In ‘g’ we have a reversal of ‘e’.


Verse 4

They Must Be Obedient to His Covenant and Destroy All That Is Related To Idolatry (Deuteronomy 12:1-4).

Deuteronomy 12:1

These are the statutes and the ordinances which you (ye) shall observe to do in the land which Yahweh, the God of your (thy) fathers, has given you (thee) to possess it, all the days that you (ye) live on the earth.’

(Note the combination of ‘ye’ and ‘thee, thy’ in the one virtually indivisible sentence. The ‘ye’ stresses their plurality, the ‘thee’ their oneness as a nation which has been given the land and with a special emphasis on each individual’s need to respond to Yahweh. This will be followed by ‘ye’ in Deuteronomy 12:2-12, and ‘thou’ in Deuteronomy 12:13-31, with the exception of Deuteronomy 12:16 where in MT ‘none of ye’ is required. Deuteronomy 12:32 reverts to ‘ye’. The subtle distinctions continue).

Here Moses introduces the whole section. It continues on from the previous chapter. He had closed off chapter 11 with ‘you (ye) shall observe to do all the statutes and ordinances which I set before you this day’, now he says, ‘these are the statutes and ordinances which you (ye) shall observe to do --’. In pursuance of what had gone before he will now outline the statutes and ordinances, the written regulations and the judgments based on them, which they must ‘observe to do’ in the land which Yahweh, the God of their fathers has given them. Here we again have the main basis of their entry. It is Yahweh’s land. He is giving it to them for the sake of their fathers. They must therefore hear His voice and walk in His ways by their obedience to His statutes and ordinances. Thus will it be theirs (and their children’s) as long as they remain on the earth. Conditional on obedience, possession will be permanent, but it is conditional on obedience. They are entering under the kingly rule of Yahweh in His land, from which all that is evil will be spued out.

For us it is the Kingly Rule of God that is at stake. If we would be permanently under His kingly rule, we must obey Him, for that is what being ‘in His kingdom’ is all about. In fact whenever we read the words ‘the land’ we can for our part read ‘the kingly rule of God’, for that is what the land represented.

Destruction of All Canaanite Sanctuaries And The Setting Up Of The One Sanctuary (Deuteronomy 12:2-14).

Deuteronomy 12:2-3

You shall surely destroy (‘destroying you shall destroy’) all the places in which the nations that you will dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains, and on the hills, and under every green tree, and you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and you shall destroy their name out of that place.’

Possession of the land for Yahweh was to be ensured by their total destruction from the land of all traces of the false and depraved religion of the Canaanites. All areas must have their idolatry removed and be put under Yahweh’s control. They must destroy all ‘the places’ (meqomoth - plural of maqom). This is probably a technical term for holy places which later became replaced by ‘high places’ (bamoth ) to distinguish them from Yahweh’s ‘holy place’. There they served their gods, whether on the high mountains (a favourite place for idolatrous worship for they were seen as abodes of the gods), on the hills (ditto), or under every green tree (certain living trees were seen in themselves to possess a kind of divinity and as promoting fertility. This included green trees with thick foliage (Ezekiel 6:13; Ezekiel 20:28), like the vigorous oak which attains a great age (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 57:5), and the poplar or terebinth, which continues green even in the heat of summer (Hosea 4:13)). The threefold description expressed completeness, covering all abodes of the gods.

The altars built up in such places were to be broken down, their pillars (stones set up to represent the divine for worship) were to be smashed to pieces, their Asherah-images burned with fire (these were images or poles made of wood, set up next to the altars and the pillars, evidence for which has been found in many places), their graven images to be cut down, and the very name of the gods was to be destroyed from each of those places. ‘Destroying the name of their gods’ indicated that the places were not to be seen as having any remnants of ‘holiness’ or association with these gods left. Each ‘place’ was to be emptied of significance so that they would become ‘common’ places, not revered by men. It is noteworthy that no instruction is given that they should be ‘defiled’. That idea comes later (2 Kings 23:8; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Kings 23:13). Here the gods were to be removed as nonentities and had not been worshipped by Israel.

The ‘pillars’ (matstseboth) that were to be condemned were those set up that men might worship before them, examples of which have been discovered in a number of Canaanite cities, especially at Hazor. Jacob in contrast set up memorial pillars to Yahweh (Genesis 28:18; Genesis 31:13; Genesis 31:45; although gratitude could be expressed at them by pouring a libation over them - Genesis 35:14) and Isaiah spoke of a similar memorial pillar being set up on the borders of Egypt when Egypt had begun to seek Yahweh (Isaiah 19:19), both of which were acceptable. We can compare with this the memorial altar in Joshua 22:26-27 on the border of Transjordan. Memorial pillars were common (Genesis 31:45-54; Genesis 35:20; Exodus 24:4; Joshua 4:1-9; Joshua 24:26-27; 2 Samuel 18:18). But men were not to worship before them.

For us the gods to be rejected may be different ones. Our ‘gods’ are anything that comes between us and God. Let us but find something that hinders our worship of Him and our joyful service for Him and that is our false god that must be destroyed. Beware especially of covetousness, says Paul, for that is idolatry of the worst kind (Colossians 3:5). Those who come under the Kingly Rule of God must avoid all covetousness.

Deuteronomy 12:4

You shall not do so to Yahweh your God.’

It was to be very different with the worship of Yahweh. That is not how they were to worship Him, at hundreds of different ‘places’ spread throughout the land wherever they desired. He could only be officially worshipped in one ‘place’.


Verses 5-9

They Must Establish Their Worship At The Place Where He Chooses To Set His Name (Deuteronomy 12:5-9).

Deuteronomy 12:5-7

But to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose out of all your tribes, to put his name there, even to his habitation, shall you choose to seek, and to there you shall come, and to there you shall bring your whole burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and the heave-offering of your hand (literally ‘what is lifted up in the hand’), and your vows, and your freewill-offerings, and the firstlings of your herd and of your flock, and there you shall eat before Yahweh your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, in which Yahweh your God has blessed you.’

So rather they were to come to the place which Yahweh ‘chose to put His name there’. All that is basic to Israel was seen as occurring through Yahweh’s choice. And that choice was not just arbitrary. It was the positive act of Yahweh. The idea behind the word is of God’s positive action by which He works on behalf of His people, but which is His doing because it cannot be left to man. In choosing He is exercising His sovereign will and acting for their good. And when they worship Him it must be where He chooses to reveal Himself and to be present. He is not subject to their choices.

Thus they were on their part to choose to worship Him in one place only, ‘the place that He will choose’, the place where He has determined to be present among them and no other, the place where He will put His name. Their choice must be subject to His choice. So their public worship must always be in ‘the place’ which Yahweh their God ‘chooses out of all their tribes to set His name there’, which while His name was set there would become a sacred ‘place’ in a similar way to the patriarchal ‘places’ (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 13:4; Genesis 22:3; Genesis 22:14; Genesis 28:16-17; Genesis 32:2; Genesis 32:30; Genesis 35:7; Genesis 35:14). The setting of His name there reveals His genuine but invisible presence.

The ‘setting of His name there’ may refer to the placing there of the Ark of the covenant of Yahweh, for the Ark was ‘called by His Name’. Thus in 2 Samuel 6:2 we read of ‘the Ark of God whose name is called by the name of Yahweh of hosts Who dwells between the cherubim’. But if this is so it is because as His throne it declares His invisible presence described in terms of His name. His presence was indicated by His name. Thus it could be said of the angel that He would send before them that ‘My name is in him’ (Exodus 23:21), meaning that Yahweh would go forward in His angel. It signifies that it was where He was to be seen as present. Compare Exodus 20:24, where ‘recording His name’ indicates some special manifestation of His presence. ‘The place which He chose’ would thus be His habitation, His dwellingplace, in the place where in His sovereignty He chose it to be, and to that alone should they choose to seek (compare Deuteronomy 12:14).

And in the end the name that was set there was the name whose full significance was revealed to Moses. When Yahweh sent Moses to Israel in order to deliver them He did it by revealing Himself as the ‘I am’ (ehyeh), or more strictly the ‘I will be’, the One Who will be whatever He wants to be, the One Who is always there and present among them (Exodus 3:14). So among them, dwelling in the place that He has chosen, will be the powerful Fulfiller of His own will. And because they are a part of that will they can be confident of His continual support and protection.

“The place which Yahweh your God shall choose.” This idea is repeated again and again by Moses in one way or another throughout Deuteronomy, demonstrating the importance of the idea (Deuteronomy 12 six times; Deuteronomy 14:23; Deuteronomy 14:25; Deuteronomy 15:20; Deuteronomy 16 six times; Deuteronomy 17:8; Deuteronomy 17:10; Deuteronomy 18:6; Deuteronomy 23:16; Deuteronomy 26:2-3). Repetition in different ways in speeches is a way of fixing ideas in the memory. Each time the phrase comes up the listener responds. Yahweh is there because He has chosen to be among them, and in the place which He chose, not the place that they chose. Such repetition was also common in ancient literature which was designed to be read out. The hearer loved to be able to think along with the narrative. There was after all for Israel nothing more important than the place that God would choose for His dwellingplace. But its importance lay in the fact that He had chosen it so as to be among them. More important than the place was that Yahweh Himself chose it (compare Deuteronomy 17:15 where the choosing was more important than the king. See also Deuteronomy 18:5) There He would be among them as Lord and Protector by His own will. For us the place where God has chosen to reveal Himself is in Jesus Christ. He is our sanctuary to which we belong when we become His, built up on Him (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Note the contrast between Deuteronomy 12:3, ‘you shall destroy their name out of that place’, with ‘the place which Yahweh your God shall choose out of all your tribes, to put his name there’. His name was to replace their name in the land at the place that He chose, not in the places where they were worshipped. Their name (the idea of their presence there and their reputation) was to be destroyed from each ‘place’ where they were, the sacred places to which people went. They were to be no longer worshipped there or remembered. The sacred places must be desacralised. But His name, His very recognised presence in all that He is, was to be established in the one place that He chose, the place where He wanted His people to come, but which was in His own purview. There they would worship Him, there they would recognise His presence, there they would acknowledge His right to His own will, and there they would remember Him, invisible though He was. Even though they could not see Him His name, and therefore His very self, was there, as evidenced by the Ark.

In entering a new land where many gods were worshipped and where there were many sacred places, such a move was in fact the only way to prevent syncretism. God wanted to ensure that none of the sacred places were connected with Him. He would choose His own sacred place, then there would be no ambivalence in their minds. This may be why Moses does not actually mention Shechem. He did not want it thought that this was taking place at ‘the ancient Sanctuary of Shechem’.

“To the place which Yahweh your God shall choose.” Choice was central to what Yahweh was as Lord over all. As the Sovereign God He had chosen the people (Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 4:37; Deuteronomy 10:15); He had chosen Aaron and his sons (Deuteronomy 18:5; Deuteronomy 21:5); He had chosen the land (Genesis 12:1-3); He would choose any king that they might have in the future (Deuteronomy 17:15). Now He chose the place where He would dwell, as He would later choose the place where the temple described by Ezekiel would descend on a high mountain well away from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48). This last confirms once for all that the place of His choosing was not tied to Jerusalem.

They were well aware that Yahweh had chosen ‘places’ for the patriarchs in which they might worship and honour Him in one place after another (Genesis 22:2-3; Genesis 22:14; Genesis 32:30; Genesis 35:13-15) but not all at the same time. And it was in similar ‘places’ that Yahweh would record His name (Exodus 20:24). Thus while the word maqom could simply mean any place, it was also one connected with sacred ‘places’, and was a fit one to use because it denoted the site, not just the sanctuary itself. The people as a whole were always more familiar with the site around the Tabernacle than the Tabernacle itself which many only saw at a distance. The whole site was holy, and guarded by the Levites (Numbers 1:53), and was where the people as a whole came to worship Him, in the place where He had set His name.

“The place which Yahweh your God shall choose” was never to be seen as a monotonous repetition, or a cryptic puzzle. Rather it was a glorious reality, and an important distinction. It represented Yahweh’s right to choose, and will to choose, and as chosen by Yahweh it was a sacred place while He was there, as had been the place of the burning bush (Exodus 3:4-5) and as had been Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:11-14), which He had also chosen. For now Yahweh had chosen to come and live among His chosen people as One settled in the land, and at any time it would be at one place that He chose at that time, His chosen place set in the chosen land. To limit it to one earthly city, however much it came to be revered, is to miss what lies at the heart of the idea, that Yahweh would be there because He chose to be so, and though history might to some extent affect the place, there would always be a place where He chose to be where men could seek Him. And it would never be at one of the places that men or gods had chosen. It would be the place of His covenant. The future was secure as long as the covenant was maintained. For although all was under His sovereign control, it was required that the people respond to His covenant with them, and to each thing that He had chosen, in obedience, at the place which He chose.

It is interesting that He speaks constantly of ‘the place’ and not of ‘the sanctuary’ or of ‘the dwellingplace’ (Tabernacle). While the ‘dwellingplace’ (Tabernacle) would be the focal point to which they would look and where the priesthood would operate, it was ‘the place’ where it was, its wider site, which was most familiar to the people, the site where they stood when they worshipped. This section of Deuteronomy is very much centred on worship, and being suitable for it. The point was that there would be only one sacred ‘place’ for them to come to. It was the one and only place ‘chosen out of all their tribes’. Compare for the latter phrase Deuteronomy 18:5 where we have ‘has chosen him out of all your tribes’ where the reference was to the one and only Priest (Deuteronomy 18:5). This too then is one, the one and only place. It was there that they must stand to have open dealings with God. They all knew what would be at that place, for the Tabernacle as Yahweh’s dwellingplace had been in their midst for almost forty years. At present it moved from place to place on a short term basis, and yet it was always at the place that God had chosen, for His pillar of cloud indicated where it was to be. One day, however, there would be one sacred place where it would be sited more permanently, and that would then be where they were to come. God would have settled among them ‘permanently’, although not tied to one place, only to ‘the place that He shall choose’ at any time.

Moses was not here speaking to the theologians, or the priests, or even the Levites, he was speaking to the ordinary people. He was not so much giving revelatory teaching (although he was doing that) as much as wanting them to understand and respond to the One Who had chosen them. He was reaching out to their hearts. So the theological words were put to one side and he wanted them to face up to the plain and simple reality. Many would after all rarely enter ‘the sanctuary’ itself. Others would bear that responsibility for them. But all would come to ‘the place’ where it was at some time or another. Had he said sanctuary or Tabernacle they would have been filled with awe but they would not have seen it as personal. Only the chosen could enter the inner sanctuary, and space in the courtyard was limited. But here the offer was of ‘the place’, and that was open to all, men, women and children. Later writers would not have put that on Moses’ lips. Rather the opposite. They had tunnel vision. It was only a Moses, confident in what the people knew, who could speak like this.

It may also be, as some have suggested, that ‘the place’ (maqom) was spoken of in order to connect it with ‘the land’ in which they would dwell, which was the wider ‘place’ (Genesis 13:14). Yahweh had constantly sought out a place (maqom) for them (Deuteronomy 1:33), and He had brought them to this place (Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 9:7; Deuteronomy 11:5), and every ‘place’ that the soul of their foot trod on in the land would be theirs (Deuteronomy 11:24). They would have their place, chosen for them by Him (Exodus 23:20), so also would He choose, within their place, a place for Himself. All was chosen by Him. They were there at His behest. He was there by His own will as Lord over all. Moses also almost certainly had in mind (see above) that when Abraham himself came to Canaan he set up an altar in ‘the place of Shechem’ (Deuteronomy 12:6), and returned to ‘the place of the altar which he had made there at the first’ in Bethel (Deuteronomy 13:4). It was in ‘the place of which Yahweh had told him’ that he prepared to offer Isaac (Genesis 22:3), a ‘place’ which became known as Yahweh yireh, ‘in the Mount of Yahweh it will be provided’ (Genesis 22:14 - any connection with Jerusalem is totally speculative). And Jacob could say, ‘Yahweh is in this place, and I knew it not -- how awesome is this place’ (Genesis 28:16-17) of Bethel, the place where Yahweh revealed Himself to him. Compare also Genesis 35:7; Genesis 35:14. The word ‘place’ thus had a firm and sacred connection with the original entry into the land, the sacred sites of the patriarchs and with treasured experiences of Yahweh. The court of the tabernacle was also a holy ‘place’ (Leviticus 6:16; Leviticus 6:25 and often).

And to that sacred ‘place’ that He had chosen they were to come, and there they were to offer their whole burnt offerings, their sacrifices, their tithes, the heave-offering from their hand, their vows, their freewill offerings, and the firstlings of their herd and of their flock. And there they were to feast before Yahweh and rejoice in all that they put their hand to which Yahweh had blessed, and this included their households with them. And there they would eat before Him.

Note here how the emphasis is on what the people bring. The priests would have their part in it (not emphasised in Deuteronomy) but it was basically the gifts of the people that Yahweh was interested in, and their participation in them before Him.

Eating before Yahweh was an important aspect of worship in which all could participate, and that would not be in the Tabernacle, not even in its courtyard, except for the favoured few (compare Exodus 24:11). It would be at ‘the place’ surrounding the tabernacle, a large area around the Tabernacle. That would be ‘the place’ to which they would come. Provision was there to be made for this feasting out of the overabundance of tithes, that which was specifically set apart to Yahweh, which would be available as a result of the coming prosperity of the land. They would eat of Yahweh’s fare, of the tithes, food set apart as His, which was previously mainly for the consumption of the priests and Levites. As well as the tithes the priests would also eat of the heave offerings and the people of their peace offerings. Both would eat of the firstlings (see Deuteronomy 12:17). All was Yahweh’s. (Nothing of the whole burnt offerings was eaten).

As we have seen ‘the place’ is in contrast to the many ‘places’ which were Canaanite sanctuaries. It does not necessarily indicate that in future there will only ever be one permanent place on one single site which could not be changed, which excluded all others (e.g. Shiloh or Jerusalem). The Hebrew definite article is not always too specific. It regularly simply means ‘the one I am talking about’. Thus He might decide to choose one place after another in which to record His name. This is certainly the suggestion in Exodus 20:24, ‘in every place where I record my name I will come to you and I will bless you’. Yahweh did not see Himself as bound to one permanent place for ever. But He would only be there at one place at a time, and it was always to be at the place that He chose (in Ezekiel 40 it was on a high mountain well away from Jerusalem). No place should be set up that He had not chosen. Note also 1 Kings 8:16, ‘Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.’ Yahweh was emphasising that He had not had in mind the choosing of one city in which to establish a permanent sanctuary. His only permanent choice was of the Davidic house from which Christ would come. Indeed when such a seemingly permanent sanctuary was built at Jerusalem He would have to destroy it again and again until He had finished with it for ever, just as He had had to destroy the seemingly permanent sanctuary at Shiloh when it had become corrupted.

Some have therefore considered that Yahweh was to choose a place in each of the twelve tribes. But there is no real evidence for this later, and it is contrary to His clear purpose. When two further places over and above the one place were chosen by Jeroboam he was for ever condemned for it (1 Kings 12:28-33). He was condemned by the ‘man of God’ because of the altar he had set up, not specifically because of the images (1 Kings 13:4).

All this would make sense to them because they would recognise that Moses was emphasising the centrality of the one Central Sanctuary, the Tabernacle (dwellingplace) of Yahweh, which must be established in ‘the place’ which He chose, whether the one place or many places in succession, but none at the same time. And they would personally come to that ‘place’, even though not all would enter the courtyard of the Tabernacle. It was not for them to choose where to worship Him, in the way that the Canaanites did, so that they proliferated worship sites and made Him a local god. It was a matter for Him solely to decide. He would determine the site where the tabernacle would be established at any time, which would then become sacred while it was there and honoured by Him (as Sinai became sacred once He chose to reveal Himself there). By this His oneness and His sovereignty were stressed, and His welcome to ‘the place’ where it was.

Thus where the Tabernacle, with the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh, was set up was always to be the decision of Yahweh (determined initially by where the pillar of cloud and fire stopped, and later possibly by Urim and Thummim). Once in the land and at rest the place was to be semi-permanent. Initially it was probably near Shechem (Deuteronomy 27:1-8), as with Abraham on his first entry into the land. ‘Into the land of Canaan they came, and Abram passed through the land to the "place" of Shechem’ where he built an altar (Genesis 12:6). So all Israel on its arrival in the land would pass through the land to the place of Shechem (chapter 27). But it soon became Shiloh where it remained for over a hundred years (Joshua 18:1; Joshua 18:8-10; Joshua 19:51; Joshua 21:2; Joshua 22:9; Joshua 22:12; Judges 18:31; 1 Samuel 1:3; 1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 1:24; 1 Samuel 2:14; 1 Samuel 3:21; 1 Samuel 4:3-4; 1 Samuel 4:12; Psalms 78:60; Jeremiah 7:12; Jeremiah 7:14; Jeremiah 26:6; Jeremiah 26:9). That is how later writers saw it. Psalms 78:60 speaks of ‘the Tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent that He placed among men’, while Jeremiah 7:12 speaks of it in the words of Yahweh as ‘My place which was in Shiloh where I set My name at the first’. So it was in Shiloh that Yahweh set His name, and had Israel remained faithful perhaps it would have stayed there ‘for ever’. After the destruction of Shiloh when Yahweh forsook it (Psalms 78:60) it would much later become Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:13), but only in the time of Solomon, and only because Yahweh had forsaken Shiloh. While David placed the Ark in a tent in Jerusalem, the place for the Tabernacle at that time was seemingly Hebron and then Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:3 - see introduction for further details of this). And in the ideal period it would be on a high mountain away from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48), in an unidentified holy place. It was to be at the place that He chose.

Note also in this verse the easy way in which Moses mentions a whole host of ordinances through which they may express their worship which he expects the people to recognise immediately, demonstrating that he expects them to already have a knowledge of the contents of the Law. He is not here bringing a new Law before them but expounding an old one. These ordinances are sevenfold and as such therefore represented in themselves all offerings. The first two are offerings and sacrifices, covering offerings and sacrifices generally; the second two, tithes (Numbers 18:24-28; Leviticus 27:30-33) and heave (or ‘contribution’) offerings (Exodus 29:27-28; Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:32; Numbers 18:8; Numbers 18:19), which represent what is set aside for Yahweh, mainly for the sustenance of the priests and Levites, but which once they are abundant they will share with the people in sacred meals (see later where the tithes, although still set aside for Yahweh, are also usable for general worship at the sanctuary and for the poor); the third two are peace offerings, both votive and freewill (Leviticus 7:16; Leviticus 22:21; Leviticus 23:38; Numbers 15:3; Numbers 29:39), of which part would go to the priests and the remainder would be eaten by the offerer and his household and friends; the final one is the firstlings of their domestic animals which were especially devoted to Yahweh as a result of the deliverance at the Passover. They were holy to Yahweh and were at the disposal of the priests (Exodus 13:2; Exodus 13:12; Numbers 18:15; Numbers 18:17).

Note On The Use of The Term ‘The Place’ (maqom).

For using this term Moses had a number of reasons;

1) It was in contrast to ‘the places’ where the gods were worshipped (Deuteronomy 12:2-3). In our view this was probably a technical term for such places (prior to the term ‘high place’) applied also to the ‘place’ of Yahweh. See 2.

2) It was a reminder of, and connection with, the sacred ‘places’ at which the Patriarchs had worshipped. They had moved from place to place, but at each place they had a ‘place’ (maqom) for Yahweh where they built an altar to Him or worshipped Him. See Genesis 12:6; Genesis 13:4; Genesis 22:3; Genesis 22:14; Genesis 28:16-17; Genesis 32:2; Genesis 32:30; Genesis 35:7; Genesis 35:13-15; Exodus 3:5). Israel were now following in their footsteps.

3). It can be compared with Exodus 15:17, where the songwriter says, “You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, the place, O Yahweh which You have made for You to dwell in, the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.” Here Sanctuary (miqdash) and Place (macon) are in parallel, although it should be noted that the latter term is a different one from maqom, although similar, and is only ever used of God’s ‘place’ where He dwells (Psalms 33:14; Psalms 89:14 etc.) apart from in Psalms 104:5 where it refers to the foundations of the earth. An interesting example of its use is Ezra 2:68 ‘they came to the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem, offered willingly for the house of God to set it up in its place (macon)’. Here the site of the house of God is its ‘place’ (macon), which may assist in understanding the use of ‘place’ (maqom) here in Deuteronomy as the site in which the Sanctuary was set up.

4) We can hardly doubt that Moses in his mystical encounters with Yahweh (Exodus 33:11) would bring up the question as to whether when they were in the land he should arrange for the building of a temple to Yahweh (it would be more than incredible if the idea had not dawned on him). That would have been gently rebuffed by Yahweh (see 2 Samuel 7:6-7). All He wanted was a simple place where He could dwell among His people, one that was not so imposing that it made Him seem afar off, while being such that it protected His holiness. One that reminded them that He was not permanently connected with the earth. These ideas may well have implanted itself in Moses’ mind.

5) It connected Yahweh’s ‘place’ with the places which the Israelites themselves would step on and conquer, in His land (Deuteronomy 1:33; Deuteronomy 11:24). His place was in the centre of their place.

6) It probably spoke of a larger area than just the Tabernacle and its courtyard. It spoke of the whole ‘place’ where the multitude of Israelites would amass around the Tabernacle, including among them at times all their households and many resident aliens. The Israelites were already aware of this difference within the camp. The space around the Tabernacle in which they gathered whenever the call went out differed from the court of the Tabernacle, and as a whole they were more familiar with it. It was guarded by the Levites. While not having the holiness of the Sanctuary it was still holy. Thus a space always had to be reserved around the Ark when it moved (Joshua 3:4).

7) The word maqom could also be used within the Sanctuary itself where reference is constantly made to ‘a holy place’.

8) Isaiah spoke of ‘the place (maqom) of the name of Yahweh of Hosts’ to which gifts would be brought for Yahweh. By that time it had become Mount Zion (Isaiah 18:7).

9). But the glory of the use here of ‘place’ is that it does not limit it to any specific earthly site, except at a particular time when he chose to be there. We too come to the ‘place’ that He has chosen as we approach His heavenly throne, and the Tabernacle in the heavens (Hebrews 8:2). Jesus entered, not a holy place on earth, but the holy place in heaven (Deuteronomy 9:24) to appear before the face of God for us.

Alternatively, if we do not see ‘the place’ as indicating a special place, but rather as deliberately vague terminology, we would argue that it was used so as to take the emphasis away from the place itself and put it on His choice and the One Who chose it, honouring not the place but Yahweh.

Deuteronomy 12:8-9

You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatever is right in his own eyes, for you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which Yahweh your God gives you,’

Having described what they are to do in the future he now confirms that it must be in accordance with all the instruction that has previously been given them. Deuteronomy constantly emphasises such previous instruction. Moses accepted that at the present time the ordinances were not being fulfilled exactly as required. The contrast with this verse is the setting up of the Central Sanctuary and its worship as prescribed. ‘Every man doing what is right in his own eyes’ signifies men making their own personal judgments, not necessarily just a free for all. We must not assume that all of the people of God chose to sin when they ‘did what was right in their own eyes’. It simply means that each did what he thought was right, that the Law was not strictly followed. In the difficult conditions of the wilderness, and even here in the plains of Moab, breaches of the strict requirements would be necessary due to unavoidable circumstances, judgments would have to be made on them, and these were seemingly acceptable where carried out from a sincere heart. God was not unreasonable. Being on the march sometimes interfered with their ability to fulfil the Law exactly. For example there would be difficulty in offering the daily offerings, lighting and trimming the lamps and so on. But it was not to be so once the Tabernacle was in a settled place. Then they were to be careful to fulfil all His instruction.

There may, however, also be a reference to various forms of disobedience, with Moses being aware of how often they broke Yahweh’s statutes and ordinances. For that is certainly one inference of the phrase in Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25; compare Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2. And he has previously referred to ‘all that you put your hand to’ (Deuteronomy 12:7). For a period this was being tolerated. But the expectancy was that when they entered into the rest and inheritance which Yahweh was to give them such spasmodic disobedience would definitely cease. Then they must more perfectly come under His rule.

How like many of us they were. We too think that we can stretch God’s commandments to suit ourselves, and for a time we too get away with it. But we should beware. We should remember those who died in the wilderness did so because they were disobedient. We too may ‘die in the wilderness’.


Verses 10-12

When They Dwell In The Land Of Their Inheritance They Must Worship At the Place Which Yahweh Their God Chooses (Deuteronomy 12:10-12).

Deuteronomy 12:10-11

But when you go over the Jordan, and dwell in the land which Yahweh your God causes you to inherit, and he gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then it shall come about that to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, to there shall you bring all that I command you: your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave-offering (or ‘contribution offering’) of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to Yahweh.’

But once they have crossed over Jordan into the land, and they are finally settled, and have rest from all their enemies round about (seen as fulfilled in Joshua 23:1, still many years hence), so that they dwell in safety, and a safe place has been set up for the Tabernacle, a permanent place in the place where Yahweh their God has chosen to cause His name to dwell there (Jeremiah 7:12; 2 Samuel 7:13; compare Psalms 74:7), then they shall come with their offerings and gifts and tithes and make their vows. Then the statutes and ordinances must be followed precisely. And then their lives must be in tune with His requirements.

This certainly does not mean that during this intermediate period no one brought offerings and gifts to the Tabernacle. The point is rather that not all would be able to, as they would be involved in fighting or defending the places that they had won. It was only when full safety and rest had been achieved that they would therefore be finally fully bound by all the covenant requirements.

Note that strictly speaking it was not the setting up of the Tabernacle in its ‘place’ that was to be delayed until then, but the carrying out of the full ritual and ordinances, especially as they related to the people. Yahweh set His ‘place’ in the land from the very beginning, even though it moved around. But once they were settled in the land and at peace they would be free to worship Him fully in accordance with His requirements.

Deuteronomy 12:12

And you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, forasmuch as he has no portion nor inheritance with you.’

And having come into rest it was at this place that all Israel were to rejoice before Yahweh. They would have received the rest and security that He had promised them and their fathers (compare Deuteronomy 12:9). The promises would finally have been fulfilled. All would take part in the rejoicing. The idea of ‘rejoicing’ in this way included the partaking of ritual meals in fellowship before Yahweh. At Sinai that had been for the favoured, here it was for all (Exodus 24:11). This included their menservants and their maidservants, and the Levites who sojourned among them and were spread out over the whole of Israel. This description ‘within your gates’, (that is living among them) is never used specifically of ‘the levitical priests’ (the priests the Levites), only of ‘the Levites’. (See Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 14:27; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14; Deuteronomy 18:6; Deuteronomy 26:12). While they mainly dwelt in their own cities, some moved about in the cities and towns of Israel, and some bought residences there.

The Levites were seemingly guides as to the Law (Deuteronomy 33:10; 2 Chronicles 17:8-9; 2 Chronicles 30:22; 2 Chronicles 35:3) and presumably supervisors of the tithes, for dealing with one tenth of all produce and births of domestic animals would require close assistance and supervision, and the Levites had been given responsibility to account for one tenth of that tenth to the priests (Numbers 18:26-28). This confirms that they were appointed to look after the collection of the tithes, for they could not do this if they did not supervise them. They had no inheritance (no specific allocation of land to each individual) in the land, because Yahweh (Joshua 13:33) and the tithes (Numbers 18:26) and the priesthood (Joshua 18:7) and the offerings by fire (’ishshah, or possibly ‘gifts’, compare Ugaritic ’usn) were their inheritance (Joshua 13:14). They were therefore looked to with great reverence by the godly, and even by such as Micah (Judges 17:13 - but it should be noted that Micah had been ready to appoint his son as a priest. What he did finally do did not mean that Levites were authorised to be priests, simply that he saw them as a large step up from his son because of their special status).

“You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God.” Compare Deuteronomy 12:7. This phrase is applied in Leviticus 23:40 to the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, and was to be the distinctive feature of all the sacrificial meals held by the people at the sanctuary, as is repeatedly affirmed (Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14; Deuteronomy 26:11; Deuteronomy 27:7). Coming to Yahweh, once their sins were forgiven, was normally a matter for rejoicing, for then they celebrated all that Yahweh had given them in their harvests, and they would have special rejoicing because they had rest and security in their land. This aspect of rejoicing is one of the special emphases of Deuteronomy, coming from the fact that it is not a solemn announcing of the Law but a speech to the people describing among other things their worship. As with the use of ‘the place’, so with the response of joyful worship, the idea is concentrated on the response of the ordinary people (‘you and your households - verse 7) in overall worship rather than representing the limitation to sanctuary and ordinances. While the latter were certainly assumed, He did not want the people to see their involvement as just to be in a ritual which could become empty. All were to be involved in joyous worship, and joyous eating before Yahweh in the very place chosen by Yahweh, and this included men and women, menservants and maidservants, and resident aliens, and was to be in ‘the place’ in which the sanctuary was set up.

How great then should be our rejoicing who come to a better Tabernacle, the heavenly Tabernacle, through our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-12; Hebrews 10:19-25), to gather with Him at the throne of God, the throne of grace.

The picture here in Deuteronomy goes beyond what turned out to be the actuality. It is a picture of the final goal achieved, it is of the kingly rule of God established and total blessing. It is looking to the time when all are at rest, all are secure, and all look to the One Who dwells among them in His chosen place. In the final analysis it could only be achieved in eternity. For similar idyllic pictures see Isaiah 4:5-6; Isaiah 11:1-9; Ezekiel 37:23-28).

It found partial fulfilment after the initial conquest, it found partial fulfilment in the time of David, it has found partial fulfilment in a spiritual sense in the true church of Christ under His rule, but its final fulfilment awaits the everlasting kingdom.


Verse 13-14

Restrictions on Offering Whole Burnt Offerings (Deuteronomy 12:13-14).

At this point the narrative changes to ‘thou, thee’. What is required is required of the nation as a whole and of each individual.

Deuteronomy 12:13-14

Take heed to yourself (thyself) that you do not offer your whole burnt offerings in every place that you see, but in the place which Yahweh shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your whole burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.’

Again the emphasis comes that they may not make their offerings ‘in every place that you shall see’. It was not for them to choose where they could approach Yahweh and make their offerings to Him. It was to be done in the place that He chose. The ritual was restricted to the place of Yahweh’s choosing. For the ritual was important and therefore all whole burnt offerings, that most central of offerings which summed up all others, were to be offered only at the Central Sanctuary, and nowhere else. They were to ‘take heed’ that this was so. They would all be responsible for any failures. ‘In every place that you see’ might primarily indicate Canaanite sanctuaries. Under no circumstances were whole burnt offerings to be offered there. But it also indicates the fact that Israel could not use their own judgment in deciding on places in which to offer whole burnt offerings, but must only do so at the place that Yahweh Himself decided on. The whole burnt offering was the prime offering. It was totally offered to Yahweh in dedication and worship, and to make atonement, and included the daily offering. It could therefore only be offered at His ‘place’ where His dwellingplace was by His own choice.

“And there you shall do all that I command you.” But at the place which was His choice they must ensure the carrying out of all that He commanded. Those commands had been given in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, and they would be on tablets stored in the Sanctuary. It was important that they were carried out. They were what He commands them. But Moses does not go into any details about them in Deuteronomy.

“The place which Yahweh shall choose in one of your tribes.” This might, if it stood alone, be stretched to translate as ‘in each one of your tribes’, but the history of the Central Sanctuary and the total lack of mention of such sanctuaries and the other use of ‘out of all your tribes’ (Deuteronomy 12:5, compare Deuteronomy 18:5) is against it. The idea would seem to be of the one place and thus to be set in one of the tribal sections. The choosing might have been done by the Urim and Thummim.

Nothing is more important for all men than that they approach God through the true way. There are many false ways but only one true one. That is what is emphasised here. Today that is through Jesus Christ. As Peter said, ‘There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). Today He is the place which God has chosen and it is only through Him that we can offer acceptable worship.


Verse 15-16

The Slaughter of Animals Other Than As Sacrifices (Deuteronomy 12:15-16).

But once Israel were established throughout the land and the sanctuary was at some considerable distance from many of the people (as it never was in the wilderness) some provision had to be made for the slaughter of animals for food other than by bringing them to the door of the tabernacle (Leviticus 17:1-9). This is now provided for here.

Deuteronomy 12:15

Notwithstanding, you (thou) may kill and eat flesh within all your gates, after all the desire of your soul, according to the blessing of Yahweh your God which he has given you. The unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle, and as of the hart.’

While all ‘offerings and sacrifices’ must be offered at the one sanctuary, clean sacrificial-type animals not slain as offerings and sacrifices, but slaughtered for food, would, once they entered the land (and some were already in their portion of the land), not require to be brought to the Central Sanctuary, as had previously been the case (Leviticus 17:3-9). It was, of course, always recognised that game animals like the gazelle and the hart could be slain and eaten anywhere, as long as the blood was poured away. While being clean beasts they were not sacrificial beasts. But now in the same way all clean animals could be treated in the same way, even sacrificial-type animals, if they were not being offered as an offering or sacrifice. Within their towns as they needed them, they could kill and eat flesh with Yahweh’s given blessing. And both those in a state of ritual cleanness, and those not so, could then eat of them for they had not been offered in the sanctuary. Ritual cleanness mainly affected things connected with the sanctuary.

There is a reminder here for us that there are parts of our lives which, while of concern to God, are not strictly to do with His service. They are more to do with our physical sustenance. Jesus taught us that we were to learn to trust God for these without constantly having to ask Him for them. Our prayers should be concentrated on worthier objects (Matthew 6:7-13; Matthew 6:31-32). It is babes in Christ who are always asking for things for themselves. The mature Christian leaves his needs with God and concentrates his prayers on extending the kingly rule of God as Jesus taught.

Deuteronomy 12:16

Only you (ye) shall not eat the blood. You (thou) shall pour it out on the earth as water.’

The only exception to this permission to eat the flesh of animals was that they were not to eat the blood. That represented the animal’s life and belonged solely to Yahweh, the Giver of life. Through this prohibition His continual sovereignty over all things was revealed (as it was with the tree of knowing good and evil). This exception of the blood is recognised throughout Scripture (see especially Leviticus 17:10-14) and covers all slain animals that were eaten. Not eating the blood acknowledged Yahweh’s sovereignty, and that all life belonged to Him. The pouring out of the blood was also probably to be seen as an act of worship. See on Deuteronomy 12:24.


Verses 17-19

The Law of Tithes, Firstlings, Votive and Freewill Offerings, and Heave-offerings (Deuteronomy 12:17-19).

But this exception of being allowed to eat in their own cities in the case of animals was not to apply to tithes, firstlings, peace offerings or heave-offerings (contribution offerings). These all had to be brought to the sanctuary to be offered before Yahweh, because they were distinctively His. They were set apart for Him. The first thing to recognise here is that Moses expects his listeners to know precisely what these ordinances refer to and to accept it without quibble. No explanations are yet given. And this is in fact because all had earlier been revealed through him as things that were to be offered to Yahweh and belonged to Him (in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). They were holy to Him. Thus they may only be used in accordance with His dispensing. They were as follows:

1). Tithes. These represented one tenth of all produce, both animal and vegetable, including here especially the grain, oil and vintage. This one tenth had to be separated off and dedicated to Yahweh. It was seen as holy to Him and therefore at His disposal. It was His. The principle was clear. However, the practise now became far more complicated, for now Yahweh sought to dispose of the tithe. Previously it had been the inheritance of the Levites. Now tithes were to be in such abundance that He would allocate them to provide for ritual meals for worshippers at the Sanctuary, by providing for the Levites everywhere, and by providing for the poor of the land.

The principle of tithing had already been declared in Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21-24. There the principle was that one tenth of all produce, both animal and vegetable, was Yahweh’s and holy to Him. That was the basic principle. But Numbers 18:21-24 adds that it was to go to the Levites. Thus while they were in the wilderness it was all passed over to the Levites for their use, it was their inheritance (Numbers 18:21), and they were responsible to ensure that the priests received one tenth of what they received, a tithe of the tithe (Numbers 18:23-31). This was reasonable. Grain, vegetable produce and vintage productivity would be limited in the wilderness and there were many Levites, and at this stage they had no levitical cities with their productive land. The tithe therefore had as far as possible to be sufficient, along with the manna, to satisfy their ample numbers, and the priests’ households had to be catered for as well. There would be little or no surplus of the one tenth of grain, vegetables and vintage. All would be needed for their use.

Thus when Moses spoke of tithes here he knew that the principle was ingrained within them that the tithe was the inheritance of the Levites. And for much of the time in the wilderness vegetable and grain tithes would be small, and sometimes non-existent. Indeed all Israel regularly depended on the manna, both people and Levites. Thus the Levites’ tenth of these would all usually be required for their consumption.

But the introduction in Moses’ speech of the fact that part of these tithes which had been sanctified to Yahweh could now be partaken of by those who offered them, as though it were regular practise, suggests that even in the wilderness the quantity of the tithes had proved too much for the Levites so that they had regularly arranged for the offerers to join them in their ritual meals before Yahweh at the different feasts. This excess would probably mainly have been of the one tenth of the animals, which would have been continually bearing, and this had seemingly become the custom. For there was no restriction placed on what the Levites did with their tithes at the sanctuary. In conditions like the wilderness, where all shared the hardships, camaraderie would be at its highest. Sharing their good things during feasts would be seen as a part of life. But because the tithes were sacred to Yahweh that could only be at the Sanctuary, and only the Levites could partake of tithes away from the Sanctuary, (apart from the three year tithe to be described later).

However, attention now turned to when they entered the land. Once there the produce would increase hugely and as Yahweh blessed them so the tenth portion would also expand hugely, especially the vegetable and grain tithes. There would be far more than the Levites, who would also possess, as a group, places in many cities (levitical cities), and the land around them with what they could produce, could possibly require. So the practise of sharing, which had grown up, was now approved of, with the condition that it all be eaten at the sanctuary because it was Yahweh’s. The principle was not to change. The tenth portion was still Yahweh’s and holy to Him, and one tenth of that had to go to the priests. But now part of the tithe could also be partaken of by the offerer and his household in a ritual meal at the sanctuary before Yahweh as an act of worship (Deuteronomy 14:22-27), as something being received from Yahweh. Yahweh was to be seen as dispensing His gracious gifts to them at His holy place out of what they had given Him.

There would still necessarily be large amounts over, which, it would be understood, were then to go to the Levites, whose interests had to be protected (they were not to be forsaken). The amount of produce in Israel would in good years be huge, and just one tenth would be huge. And it is probable that all these arrangements for the tenth would be watched over by the Levites, for they had the responsibility of ensuring that the priests received their tenth of the tenth. The tithe of the whole year was far more than could be eaten at ritual meals even of the most generous proportions, thus the Levites would still be well provided for, and it should be noted that the Levites, as Yahweh’s inheritance, could partake of their tithe anywhere (Numbers 18:31), ‘you shall eat it in every place’.

The management and checking of the tithes, and the giving of advice in respect to them, together with the apportioning of a tenth to the priests, would be a huge task. Many of the people would be innumerate, and not well acquainted with the Law, and would find that they needed help and guidance. The oversight of this was clearly the responsibility of the Levites.

It is noteworthy that of the tithes only the vegetable and grain tithes are mentioned here. This is probably because the meat element of the ritual meals would be provided for out of the firstlings, the votive offerings and the freewill offerings. The general tithe of domestic animals born would thus not be required. But it still belonged to Yahweh. If this be the case that would therefore all go to the Levites’ households, with the priests’ households receiving their portion. It may be that many of the animals would be kept alive to provide animals to graze on the joint land owned by the Levites/priests around their cities, and to provide them with milk, etc. Leviticus 13:32, which speaks of ‘whatever passes under the rod’, may be seen as confirming that these tithes were supervised, presumably by the Levites.

However, a new principle is also later described in Deuteronomy 14:28-29; Deuteronomy 26:12-14 for every third year. In that year the whole tithe, (still sanctified to Yahweh), will be given by the people to the Levites and stored in the people’s cities to be used to assist the poor and needy, the resident alien, and the Levites themselves. Indeed the offerers were to take pride in the fact before Yahweh that they had handed it over as commanded (Deuteronomy 26:13). This would be stored and dispensed over the three years that followed, presumably by the Levites. (Someone would need to be responsible for this huge and important task throughout the country). The inclusion of the Levites here as also possible recipients, in spite of their receiving their parts of the regular tithes in the other two years, would cater for bad periods when there had been shortages. Unlike the offerers they were not to be excluded in the third year.

(This storing in their cities may simply refer to the whole of the tithe which was not partaken of in the ritual meals, otherwise there would be no ritual meals that year, thus by it making provision for the poor. But more probably it means that in that year the people were to provide for their ritual meals out of their own share of their produce as an act of kindness to the poor and needy. We can take it that this third year tithe did not have to be brought to the sanctuary first, for it was to be available in its original form, not turned into silver - contrast Deuteronomy 14:25).

So the law of tithing, the setting apart of one tenth to Yahweh, has now expanded so that the tithe was used as follows:

a). A proportion of the tithe could be consumed by the people at sacred feasts at the Dwellingplace of Yahweh.

b). Every third year the tithe would be set apart for the Levites, the orphans, the widows and the resident aliens.

c). The remainder of the tithes would go to the Levites.

d). One tenth of all tithes was to go to the priests.

2) Firstlings. All the firstborn (those male animals which first opened the womb) were Yahweh’s because He had delivered them from Egypt, and must thus be dedicated to Yahweh (Exodus 13:1; Exodus 13:11-13; Exodus 22:29-30; Exodus 34:19; Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:16-17) and as such they were for the priests to dispose of, sharing them with their families, once they had been slaughtered and the necessary parts sacrificed on the altar (Numbers 18:15-18). And all firstlings of the flocks and herds which were firstfruits were to be for the Levites and priests (the new crop of each season). It seems here also that such was the abundance of these that the custom had grown up that the offerer and his household could also partake of parts of them in ritual meals at the Sanctuary (Deuteronomy 15:19-22). Otherwise Aaron and his sons and the Levites would not have known what to do with the abundance. Unlike some offerings no restriction is ever laid on the firstlings as forbidding them to be eaten by any who are clean.

3) Votive offerings and freewill offerings. These were peace (wellbeing) offerings, the former offered in respect of vows, the latter simply a freewill offering to Yahweh. They were to be slaughtered in the court of the Sanctuary, the blood applied to the altar, a part offered on the altar (including the fat and vital parts), portions given to the priests, and the remainder to be eaten by the offerer and his household and friends (compare Leviticus 7:11-21).

4) The heave offering of their hand (‘the offering that is lifted up in the hand’). For this compare Deuteronomy 18:4; Deuteronomy 26:2; Exodus 29:27-28; Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:32; Leviticus 10:14-15; Numbers 5:9; Numbers 6:20; Numbers 15:19-21; Numbers 18:8-29; Numbers 31:29; Numbers 31:41. The heave offering (or ‘contribution’ offering) was a part of an offering which was set apart for the priests. It was possibly presented before Yahweh by being lifted up before Him and was for the consumption of the priests and their families in a clean place. The heave/contribution offering of a peace offering comprised the thigh, which went to the officiating priest (Leviticus 7:30-34). (The priests also received the shoulder as a ‘wave offering’). A further heave/contribution offering was of unleavened cakes mingled with oil and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil of fine flour soaked. This was taken from among the offerings of the same which were made with the peace offerings, and was again for the priests (Leviticus 7:14). Once they were in the land a heave/contribution offering was also to be made of the first of the dough (Numbers 15:19-21). A heave/contribution offering could further be made for the priests of a proportion of spoils gained in battle (Numbers 31:29; Numbers 31:41). These heave offerings (or ‘contributions’) were specifically for the priests.

Deuteronomy 12:17-18

You (thou) may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, or of your new wine, or of your oil, or the firstlings of your herd or of your flock, nor any of your vows which you vow, nor your freewill-offerings, nor the heave-offering of your hand, but you shall eat them before Yahweh your God in the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your man-servant, and your maid-servant, and the Levite who is within your gates, and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God in all that you put your hand to.’

All these offerings were holy to Yahweh. They belonged to Him. Thus they could only be eaten at the appointed place, the site in which the Tabernacle was situated in the presence of Yahweh (‘before Yahweh’). These words were spoken to all Israel. It is not saying that all Israel could eat all that is mentioned. ‘All Israel’ included overall the priests and the Levites. The point here is thus not to say that all could eat of any of these offerings, but that whoever had the right to eat of them should only do so at the place that Yahweh had chosen to set His name and dwelling there and in His presence. They were not to be eaten in their own cities and towns (‘within their gates’). The details of these offerings are given above. All are to participate in one or the other, including servants and bondspeople, and Levites. Care was to be taken to ensure that the Levites did not go short. This command was to the people as a whole. The Levite was permitted to eat the tithe anywhere.

The point for us from all this is that we too should have certain things that we do which are sacred to Yahweh and which we must seek His presence about. The first is our prayer life, for thereby we make our offering of praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15). The next is the giving of our lives as we present our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice to be transformed to do His will (Romans 12:1-2). The next is our Christian giving, our ‘tithes’, for by how we give we demonstrate how much we love God (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 12:31-48). And so we could go on. In all these we must come to God’s presence and seek His will concerning them.

Deuteronomy 12:19

Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.’

But the warning comes that the Levites were to be the constant concern of the people. They were to ensure that, as Yahweh’s servants, they never went short. They were often in different parts of the land as they carried out their responsibilities, and while tithes and firstlings may have been abundant, they may not have been easily available to individual Levites in the particular place where they were. Thus the people must ensure that their needs were provided for wherever they were, for they were holy to Yahweh. Hospitality was an important part of Israelite life, especially in welcoming Levites who were Yahweh’s servants, which was why the sin committed against the Levite in Judges 19 was so great. To allow a Levite to go short of food would be to dishonour God Whose servant he was. It would be a slur on His name. Even a cup of cold water given to a Levite out of love for Yahweh would no doubt have its reward.

For the Christian there should be equal concern for those who have been called to serve God in ministry, whether at home or abroad. We must take heed to ourselves that we do not forsake them as long as we live, but are faithful in our genuine and true support so that they do not go short.


Verses 20-26

As Long As The Blood Is Not Eaten They May Eat of their Herds and Their Flocks Without Going To The Sanctuary If They Live Too Far Away (Deuteronomy 12:20-26).

Deuteronomy 12:20

When Yahweh your God shall enlarge your border, as he has promised you, and you shall say, “I will eat flesh,” because your soul desires to eat flesh, you may eat flesh, after all the desire of your soul.’

Compare Deuteronomy 12:15, which is now expanded on. Once they were in the land and sometimes far from the Sanctuary, because Yahweh had enlarged their borders (given them land over a wide area and spread them widely) in accordance with His promise, then whenever Israelites desired to eat meat they did not have to worry about taking it to the tabernacle, if it was too far from them, but could eat as much as they desired of what belonged to them where they were. This would, however, only be a commonplace situation for the wealthy. The average persons would want to preserve their herds and flocks to provide milk and wool and would only kill them on special occasions (e.g. the fatted calf, especially fed well for the purpose).

Deuteronomy 12:21

If the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to put his name there, be too far from you, then you shall kill of your herd and of your flock, which Yahweh has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates, after all the desire of your soul.’

If they were near the site of the Sanctuary, ‘the place which Yahweh your God has chosen to put His name there’, then they should bring their sheep, goats and cattle as offerings to the Sanctuary, but if they were too far from it for it to be feasible they could slay them within their towns to their heart’s desire. This new condition applied because once in the land things had to be seen from a new perspective. Whether ‘within your gates’ was to be applied strictly is not said, but note Leviticus 17:5-7. The idea may be in order to prevent such surreptitious sacrifices to false divinities.

Deuteronomy 12:22

Even as the gazelle and as the hart is eaten, so you shall eat of it. The unclean and the clean may eat of it alike.’

They would be able to treat them as though they were clean game animals like the hart and the gazelle, killing them and eating them. And it would not matter whether the eaters were ritually clean or unclean, for they would not be eating sacrificial meat, which only the clean were permitted to eat. Probable examples of this are 1 Samuel 14:33-34; 1 Kings 1:9.

Deuteronomy 12:23

Only be sure that you do not eat the blood: for the blood is the life; and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.’

But under no circumstances was the blood to be eaten, for the blood is the life and it was forbidden to eat the life of an animal along with its flesh. Some other peoples ate the blood of animals seeking to gain some of their life force and ferocity, but Israel were not permitted to do so. Men were not to seek to turn themselves into animals, for men were made in the image of God. Furthermore all life, even animal life, belongs to God, therefore even when permitted to slay an animal for food, the life must be given back to Him. So did they constantly learn the lesson of the sovereignty of God and under Him the sacredness of life.

Deuteronomy 12:24

You shall not eat it. You shall pour it out on the earth as water.’

The blood must rather be poured out on the ground like water. This would be an act of worship and gratitude. It avoided the danger of them pouring it on some pagan altar, or of storing it or using it for some illicit purpose (e.g. to drink secretly or to sell or give to foreigners who may desire it). If the blood was not offered directly to Yahweh at His altar, it must be poured into the ground that He had made where He would receive it. When Abel’s blood had been spilt on that ground He had heard its cry (Genesis 4:10). So would Yahweh be aware of this blood being received by the ground. The ground was His. The blood was thus being given back to Him. For ‘as water’ compare 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Samuel 23:16 where such were offerings to Yahweh.

Deuteronomy 12:25

You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, when you will do that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh.’

By not eating the blood they would be doing right in the sight of Yahweh, and thus it would go well with them for doing right in His eyes, and the same applied to their children. This was a permanent requirement. If we would have things go well with us, we too must be equally obedient to Him in what He requires of us.


Verses 26-28

But All Holy Things (Things Dedicated to Yahweh) Must Be Taken To The Sanctuary (Deuteronomy 12:26-27).

But this does not apply to ‘your holy things’. In mind here are all the things which Yahweh has required from them. Specific appointed offerings, sacrifices offered in accordance with requirements, tithes, firstlings and so on. These may only be offered at the sanctuary.

Deuteronomy 12:26

Only your holy things which you have, and your vows, you shall take, and go to the place which Yahweh shall choose,’

The holy things are those which God has appointed to be set apart for Himself. They also include votive offerings, which by their very nature have become separated to God. These they must take and go with them to the place which Yahweh chooses, the sacred place where He is pleased to dwell, and which He has appointed (except when He directs otherwise). Everything is under His direction.

Deuteronomy 12:27

And you shall offer your whole burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of Yahweh your God, and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of Yahweh your God, and you shall eat the flesh.’

Here whole burnt offerings are distinguished from sacrifices. The whole of the whole burnt offerings must be offered on the altar, in one way or another, both flesh and blood. But of the sacrifices the blood must be poured on the altar, but the flesh could be eaten, some only by the priest, other by both the priest and the offerer, depending on the nature of the sacrifices, and in accordance with the requirements laid down. This was a summarised generalisation. There were also some sacrifices which had to be completely burnt. See for all this Leviticus 1-7.

Once again we are reminded that there are certain things that must come first in our lives. There are too many Christians who are happy to seek full physical satisfaction, because ‘their souls desire to eat flesh’, but come short in wholehearted dedication and commitment to God of their time, their money and their lives. If we do not honour God in the holy things, that is, in our spiritual lives, or if we do not offer Him the whole burnt offering of ourselves, we need to question whether we are really His at all.

Deuteronomy 12:28

Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you for ever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Yahweh your God.’

Compare Deuteronomy 12:25. Moses again reiterates that they must observe and hear all the words that He commands them, as their future blessing and wellbeing, and that of their children, will depend on it. In one way or another this is constantly repeated (for ‘observe’ and ‘hear’ see Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 15:5; Deuteronomy 18:14; but the general idea is multiplied e.g. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 5:1; and often). They must be in no doubt about the fact that all the blessings that they will receive are gifts from Yahweh, and are therefore dependent on obedience to the covenant in all its aspects (which included making themselves aware of what was required, which is where the Levites could help).


Verse 29-30

They Are To Beware Of The Gods Of the Nations And Not Be Entrapped By Them (Deuteronomy 12:29-30).

Deuteronomy 12:29-30

When Yahweh your God shall cut off the nations from before you, in the place where you go in to dispossess them, and you dispossess them, and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you be not ensnared to follow them, after that they are destroyed from before you, and that you enquire not after their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.” ’

The initial thoughts of the chapter are now taken up again. When they enter into the land and cut off the nations that are in it and dispossess them, they must remember that it is Yahweh their God Who has done it. They must therefore beware of being ensnared by the gods of those nations. They must not seek to those gods. They must not enquire about them. They must be loyal to Yahweh and reject His enemies. One of the important emphases in all treaties was the requirement of loyalty to the Suzerain and rejection of his enemies.

In those days it was common belief that different lands had different gods, so that if you wanted to prosper in a land you must show concern for the local gods. But God here points out that the gods in mind are not the gods of the land but the gods of ‘the nations’. The land is His land. Thus such ideas are not to be entertained for a moment. They must seek only to Yahweh about Yahweh’s land and are to reject and ignore the gods of the nations who at present dwell in it. This is another claim by Yahweh to sovereignty in everything.

This is the negative of which the place chosen by Yahweh in which He would set His name was the positive. They must not be diverted from Him in any way. They must positively love Him with all their being, and they must abjure anything that would interfere with that love.

Deuteronomy 12:31

You shall not do so to Yahweh your God, for every abomination to Yahweh, which he hates, have they done to their gods, for even their sons and their daughters do they burn in the fire to their gods.’

This is especially so because of the behaviour of these nations with regard to their gods. They have committed every abomination which Yahweh hates. These included perverted sex, and especially that they burned their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. This last mainly referred to the worship of the Ammonite god Molech which was clearly also worshipped in parts of Canaan (Jeremiah 32:35). But Jeremiah also connects this practise with the worship of Baal (Jeremiah 19:5), and ‘their gods’ would seem to suggest that it was connected with more than one god. Child sacrifice was probably not widely practised in Canaan, but it was certainly practised. It is also attested from documents discovered in Syria. It was, however, here simply seen as the worst of a number of abominations (‘every abomination’) that disfigured Canaanite religion. This was why it was justifiable for Yahweh to have them destroyed or driven out. They were constantly defiling the land.

Deuteronomy 12:32

Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do. You shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.’

Note the change to ‘ye’ which connects this verse more with the following chapter (which is a mixture of both), although it does also clearly connect with what precedes. It is a transitional verse.

Compare here Deuteronomy 4:2. Finally Moses again asserts the importance of observing all that he commands them. They were not to add to it or diminish it. They were to accept it and obey it exactly as it came to them, for it was a part of the covenant of Yahweh. Such clauses against altering the covenant were a common feature of treaties, but here there is a deeper significance in that he refers to words that have come from God. Moses will now in chapter 13 deal with different persons who might seek to lead them astray from that word into idolatry.

There are important things that result from these words. Firstly they indicate that Moses expected there to be a clear body of truth preserved which could be referred to, otherwise his point was meaningless. Secondly it counts strongly against this being written by an honest man other than Moses. To write in this way pretending to be Moses and putting divine sanction on the words would be duplicity of an extreme kind, not pious faith. Can we really believe that a book of the moral quality of Deuteronomy arose from such duplicity?

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/deuteronomy-12.html. 2013.

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