Date:         Thu, 26 Jan 1995 18:28:12 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Deuteronomy 12
     1.    Introduction
     2.    Explanation
     3.    Questions
  1. Introduction
  This is  an issue of a  continuous explanation of  the Bible-book Dvarim,
  that is Deuteronomy. If something is  unclear in the explanation, ask the
  editor. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version.
  Deuteronomy 12.
  Title: The only sanctuary. The eating of meat
  Short contents:
  Moshe commands to exterminate all idolatry in Kenaan. They have to fit up
  the external religion according to  God's guidelines, at the place, which
  He chooses. Moshe says what they may eat, with whom, and where.  He again
  says that they must keep the true religion, and not follow the idolatry.
  2. Explanation
     1 These are the statutes and  judgments, which ye shall observe to  do
     in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth  thee to possess
     it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
  They shall do  these statutes and judgments,  all the days. Not  only one
  day in the week, but all the days. They must not just serve God when they
  have got old,  but already in  their youth. All  the days of their  life.
  This applies also to us.
     2 Ye shall utterly destroy  all the places, wherein the nations  which
     ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains,  and upon
     the hills, and under every green tree:
  All things, which  remind only a little  of the idolatry of  the heathen,
  have to  disappear totally.  The heathens served  their gods on  the high
  mountains.  For  there, they  were  closer  to  their  gods, they  meant.
  However, Israel  did not need this. Their God  was near. "For what nation
  is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is
  in all things that we call upon him for?" Dvariem / Deuteronomy 4:7. Also
  we must not think that our prayer  will earlier be heard in the  place of
  the meeting  of the  assembly, then else.  Each prayer, prayed  in truth,
  will be heard at God's time.
     3 And ye  shall overthrow their  altars, and break their  pillars, and
     burn their groves with  fire; and ye shall hew down  the graven images
     of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
  The whole heathen idolatry, including  the attributes and the places, had
  to be exterminated.
     4 Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.
  The  LORD is totally  different from all  the idols.  Therefore, also His
  serve must be totally different. Like the  heathens did, you shall not do
  so unto the LORD. There have  to be a clearly visible difference  between
  the heathen idolatry and the service of the LORD. This difference  has to
  be there always. This will prevent mixture.  Also now, a great difference
  has to be and to stay visible between the community of God and the world.
  This  prevents from  a mixture,  which would merge  the community  in the
  world. The  members of the  community may  not do as  the world does.  In
  later  times, the  nation Israel  has not  observed  this rule.  With all
  results  of that.  They mixed  themselves, and  became infected  with the
  idolatry. After  that, God  made rule  the enemies  over them,  but  this
  helped at best for a short time. Next, Israel was carried  away out their
  land, but later, God brought them back into their land, in grace.
     5 But unto the place which  the LORD your God shall choose out  of all
     your tribes to put his name  there, even unto his habitation shall  ye
     seek, and thither thou shalt come:
  The LORD wanted that the people would come to that  place, which He would
  choose.  There had  to  be one  place.  This  promotes the  unity of  the
  religion. When everyone would offer on his own place, this would  lead to
  schism  in the religion. This is not good. The  LORD is One, and also the
  true religion is  one. To that one place, "thither you shall come". Moshe
  also says:  "unto His  habitation shall  you seek".  They must  not  seek
  several  errors, but they have to be studiously, to know what is the will
  of the LORD. With  this, also all the self-willed religion  is forbidden.
  Also  the prophet says this. "Thus saith the  LORD: Stand ye in the ways,
  and see, and  ask for  the old  paths, where  is the good  way, and  walk
  therein, and ye shall find  rest for your souls.  But they said: We  will
  not walk therein,"  Jirmejah / Jeremiah 6:16.  Many erring prophets, also
  in present times, want to make  us believe several new things. Let we not
  listen to that, but walk in the old paths. These old paths, which are the
  good ways of God. So you will find rest for your seeking soul.  "Seek the
  LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore," Thilliem / Psalm 105:4.
     6  And  thither  ye  shall   bring  your  burnt  offerings,  and  your
     sacrifices, and  your tithes,  and heave offerings  of your  hand, and
     your vows,  and your  freewill offerings, and  the firstlings  of your
     herds and of your flocks:
  The  complete religion  must happen  on that  place,  which the  LORD has
     7 And  there ye  shall eat  before the  LORD your  God,  and ye  shall
     rejoice  in all that  ye put your  hand unto, ye  and your households,
     wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.
  Moshe calls this place a place "before the LORD". This means that God was
  present there  in special way. Therefore, surely is  there a reason to be
  glad there. "Serve the LORD with gladness: come  before his presence with
  singing," Thilliem  / Psalm 100:2. It is not  pleasantly before the LORD,
  when the  people come before Him with surly  faces. However, a surly face
  is totally different  from a sad face.  God will comfort the  sad people,
  but He  will remove the  surly and  evil people from  His face.  The LORD
  wants that one is glad about all the work, which He has blessed.
     8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every
     man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
     9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which
     the LORD your God giveth you.
  In the  desert,  they  always  had to  go  on.  There was  still  not  an
  established place for  the religion. Therefore, they  offered everywhere.
  Everyone  offered there, where  he thought it  right. But  this loose and
  free form of religion was allowed  only on the journeys. When they  would
  have come into the rest, then it  was over. Then they had to stay at that
  place, which God would choose. This lesson  is useful also for us. Living
  in a place  where the religion still not is established is different from
  living in a place where it  is established. What in the one  situation is
  allowed, is  not allowed in the other case.  On the one place,  it can be
  that there are  few or no rules.   Then, "every man"  does "whatsoever is
  right in his own eyes." But in the established place, everyone must go to
  the same  place, en  must do  according  to the  will of  the LORD.  This
  promotes the unity of the religion.
     10 But when ye  go over Jordan, and dwell  in the land which the  LORD
     your God giveth you  to inherit, and when he giveth  you rest from all
     your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
  Until now, they  were still wandering, but  they would come in  the land,
  and there, they  would live in safety.  This living in safety,  that will
  happen  when they  obey God. "But  whoso hearkeneth  unto me  shall dwell
  safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil," Mishlee / Proverbs 1:33.
     11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to
     cause his  name to  dwell there;  thither shall  ye bring  all that  I
     command you; your burnt offerings,  and your sacrifices, your  tithes,
     and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye
     vow unto the LORD:
  The LORD Himself will choose a  place for His Name. However, the ark  has
  still wandered around  through the land during  many centuries, until God
  chose a definitive  place. Which place has the  LORD chosen? "Moreover he
  refused the tabernacle of  Joseef, and chose not  the tribe of  Efrajim,"
  Thilliem / Psalm 78:67.  "But chose the tribe of Jehudah,  the mount Zion
  which he loved," Thilliem / Psalm 78:68. The LORD has chosen Jerusalem to
  His place of living. The  people had to go up to  that place, to practice
  the religion there, and to serve God.
     12 And  ye shall rejoice before the LORD  your God, ye, and your sons,
     and your daughters,  and your menservants, and  your maidservants, and
     the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor
     inheritance with you.
  The whole family will go up to that place, which God has chosen. Also the
  menservants and the maidservants will  go with them. Also the Levite will
  go to that place. He has no inheritance, and therefore no income. For the
  Levite has to give  all his time in the service of  the LORD. He lives on
  the gifts of offering.
     13 Take  heed to thyself  that thou offer  not thy burnt  offerings in
     every place that thou seest:
  Here is written: "every place that you  see". For the people are inclined
  to select  the most beautiful  place for  their religion.  They pay  more
  attention to external beauty then to the truth. This is not right.
     14 But  in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes,
     there thou shalt offer  thy burnt offerings, and  there thou shalt  do
     all that I command thee.
  They must not pay attention to the external beauty of the place, but they
  must submit themselves  to the will of God. They must go there, where God
  wants  to live.  The later  king Jarovaam sinned  very much  against this
  rule. "And Jarovaam  said in his heart:  Now shall the kingdom  return to
  the house of Davied. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of
  the  LORD at Jerusalem,  then shall the  heart of this  people turn again
  unto their lord, even unto Rechavaam king of Jehudah, and they shall kill
  me, and go  again to Rechavaam king  of Jehudah. Whereupon the  king took
  counsel, and made  two calves of gold, and said unto them: It is too much
  for  you to go up to Jerusalem:  behold thy gods, o Israel, which brought
  thee up out  of the land of  Egypt," Mlachiem A /  1 Kings 12:26-28.  The
  king Jarovaam is very branded  by this disobedience, because in seventeen
  places in the  Bible, he is  called that king,  "which made Israel  sin".
  This rule  of Moshe applies  also to us.  Also we may  not go to  our own
  place. We  may not do  our own liking.  We have to  go to that  place, of
  which we see that God wants to live there.
     15 Notwithstanding thou  mayest kill and eat  flesh in all thy  gates,
     whatsoever thy  soul lusteth after,  according to the blessing  of the
     LORD  thy God which he hath given thee:  the unclean and the clean may
     eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.
  May they eat flesh only in the place, which  is chosen by God? That would
  be very far away  for some people. No, the people  also may eat flesh  in
  their own place. Not  as an offering, but  "as of the roebuck, and as  of
  the hart". These beasts were never offered. Their flesh was common flesh,
  and could simply be eaten.
     16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as
  Only the blood  could never  be eaten.  The LORD had  already given  this
  commandments to Noah. "Every moving thing  that liveth shall be meat  for
  you;  even as the green herb have  I given you all things. But flesh with
  the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat," Bereshit
  9:3,4. The LORD wanted that they would spare the animal blood. With this,
  the LORD wanted to deter  them from cruelty. For, when they had  to spare
  the blood of an animal, how much the more had they  to spare the blood of
  a  man. God  will punish the  shedding of  innocent human blood,  both to
  people and animals. "And surely your blood of your lives will  I require;
  at the hand of  every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at
  the  hand of every man's  brother will I  require the life  of man. Whoso
  sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of
  God made he  man", Bereshit 9:5,6. To  keep the people far  away from the
  shedding  of human blood, they were even not  allowed to eat the blood of
  animals. This  admonishes us to handle carefully with  the life. A man is
  not an unimportant being, but he is created to God's image.
     17 Thou mayest not  eat within thy gates the tithe of  thy corn, or of
     thy wine,  or of thy  oil, or the  firstlings of  thy herds or  of thy
     flock,  nor  any of  thy  vows which  thou  vowest,  nor thy  freewill
     offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:
     18 But thou must eat  them before the LORD thy God in  the place which
     the LORD thy  God shall choose, thou,  and thy son, and  thy daughter,
     and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within
     thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy  God in all that
     thou puttest thine hands unto.
  Here, Moshe again  repeats this. The service of God is so important, that
  this must be  diligently taught to the  nation. The offerings may  not be
  brought in the own place, but only   "before the LORD thy God". The whole
  family must go up to that place, and  the servants. They shall rejoice in
  all the good things, before the face of God.
     19 Take heed  to thyself that thou  forsake not the Levite  as long as
     thou livest upon the earth.
  The  Levite did not  get a  heritage as land,  but as  the tenths  of the
  proceeds.  Moshe  exhorts the  people  to  give  the  Levites the  needed
  livelihood. The future has learned us how necessary this exhortation was.
  It happened  often that the Levites lacked the  things because the people
  did not  give them the  tenths. Also  in the  time of  Nechemjah. "And  I
  perceived that the portions of the  Levites had not been given them:  for
  the Levites and  the singers, that did  the work, were fled  every one to
  his field," Nchemjah / Nehemiah 13:10. Here, this amazes us all the more,
  because  the people  had just returned  from the  exile. Were  they again
  disobedient  now? In the  time of Chaggai  / Haggai, the  people lived in
  splendid houses, but  the service of God  was neglected. "Is it  time for
  you, o  ye, to dwell  in your cieled  houses, and this  house lie waste?"
  Chaggai /  Haggai 1:4. This was  not good. That  is why Chaggai  / Haggai
  prophesied against  that. God did  not bless  them, because they  did not
  give to God. When they would  give, voluntarily, then God would pour  out
  them a blessing from  heaven. The spur of Moshe  and Chaggai / Haggai  is
  useful also for us. Also we may not make lie waste  the house of God, but
  we  have to give voluntarily. However,  we have to keep  in mind that the
  service of God not exists in giving much. Important is that God is served
  with the whole heart.  Therefore, only the giving is not  enough, but one
  has to give voluntarily, with a whole heart.
     20 When the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised
     thee, and thou shalt  say, I will eat flesh, because  thy soul longeth
     to  eat flesh;  thou mayest  eat  flesh, whatsoever  thy soul  lusteth
  The LORD had promised that their land will become very great, and He also
  will do it.
     21 If  the place which  the LORD thy God  hath chosen to  put his name
     there be too far from  thee, then thou shalt kill  of thy herd and  of
     thy flock, which the LORD hath  given thee, as I have commanded  thee,
     and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.
  When the land  will have become  great, the yourney to  the place of  the
  religion could  be too great.  When they want  to eat flesh,  they may do
  this in their  own place. They must  not eat it like  an offering, but as
  common flesh; as is written in the next verse.
     22 Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat  them:
     the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.
  Here is written that both  the clean and the unclean may  eat it, so this
  flesh is not an offering. It is not holy flesh, but common flesh.
     23 Only  be sure that  thou eat not  the blood: for  the blood is  the
     life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.
     24 Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.
     25 Thou shalt not eat it; that it  may go well with thee, and with thy
     children after thee,  when thou shalt  do that which  is right in  the
     sight of the LORD.
  Moshe repeats the ban to eat the blood, "for the blood is the life". That
  means, the blood is a sign of the life.
     26  Only thy  holy things which  thou hast,  and thy vows,  thou shalt
     take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose:
     27 And thou shalt offer thy burnt  offerings, the flesh and the blood,
     upon  the altar of the  LORD thy God: and the  blood of thy sacrifices
     shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt
     eat the flesh.
  There had to be only one place of the religion. The LORD wants that there
  is unity among the  people. The flesh must  be offered on that  place, if
  the blood will be poured out.
     28 Observe and hear all  these words which I command thee, that it may
     go  well with thee,  and with thy  children after thee  for ever, when
     thou doest that which is good and  right in the sight of the LORD  thy
  Here,  the LORD commands that we observe and  do His words. He promises a
  good pay to  them who do  it. This  is very righteous  of God. They,  who
  transgress the law, miss  their pay. Who are  they, who transgress  God's
  commandments?  These  are  all  the  people.   We  all  transgress  God's
  commandments. We do this  by our deeds, in our speaking  and thinking. It
  is not  necessary that  somebody says  this to  us, because  we are  well
  convinced of  it by ourselves. There is written that we must do, not what
  is  well before the people, but "which  is good and right in the sight of
  the LORD thy God". These eyes see  many more than the eyes of the people.
  God's  eyes go through the whole earth. "For the  eyes of the LORD run to
  and fro throughout the whole earth, to  shew himself strong in the behalf
  of  them  whose  heart is  perfect  toward  him," Divre  Hajamiem  B  / 2
  Chronicles 16:9. Because  we do not what  good is in God's  eyes, we have
  deserved  punishment. Nevertheless,  God gives pay  to some  people. This
  comes forth from nothing else but  His grace. Also Moshe teaches this  to
  us. "And he said:  If now I have found grace in thy sight, o Lord, let my
  Lord, I  pray thee,  go among  us; for it  is a  stiffnecked people;  and
  pardon our  iniquity and  our sin,  and take  us for  thine inheritance,"
  Shmot 34:9.
     29 When the LORD thy God  shall cut off the nations from before  thee,
     whither  thou goest  to possess  them, and  thou succeedest  them, and
     dwellest in their land;
     30 Take heed  to thyself that  thou be not  snared by following  them,
     after that they  be destroyed from before thee; and  that thou enquire
     not after their gods, saying: How did these  nations serve their gods?
     Even so will I do likewise.
  It  is dangerous to meddle with the idolatry.  Before we know it, we will
  be snared therein.  Moshe admonished us  even not to enquire  after their
  idols. We must be satisfied  with the simple, clear Word of  God. We must
  flee from  all the idolatrous  additions, as from  an infectious disease.
  All idols  are snares, in which we will  be caught. However, this applies
  not  only to the  idols as an  image. That these images  are contrary  to
  God's  laws is  more  then clear.  But  the  more subtle  idols are  also
  mentioned  here. Other  things, on  which  we rely  besides God  are also
  idols. We are full of these idols. One relies on his good job.  The other
  has much money; he thinks that nothing can happen to him. The wife relies
  on her husband,  but not on God.  Another relies on the  medical science.
  All these are  idols. According to  Moshe's words, we  will be snared  by
  these. Therefore, it is necessary that  we no longer put our trust on the
  vain things,  but build  only on God.  "The LORD  is my  strength and  my
  shield; my heart  trusted in  him, and  I am helped:  therefore my  heart
  greatly rejoiceth; and  with my song will I praise him," Thilliem / Psalm
     31 Thou shalt not  do so unto the LORD thy  God: for every abomination
     to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even
     their sons and  their daughters they have  burnt in the fire  to their
  They may not do as the heathens  did. There has to be a  clear difference
  between God and the  idols. "For all the gods  of the nations are  idols:
  but the LORD  made the  heavens," Thilliem  / Psalm 96:5.  What have  the
  heathens done? They did "every  abomination to the LORD, which He hates".
  As  disgusting  example,  Moshe  mentions  the  burning  of the  innocent
  children. The idolatry leads to these abominations. The  idolatry dazzles
  the people so much, that they do this. But "you shall not do so".
     32  What thing soever I command you,  observe to do it: thou shalt not
     add thereto, nor diminish from it.
  How  is a man protected  against the idolatry? When he  takes the Word of
  God as  the only foundation,  and when he  not only knows  this, but also
  does it. Here we see how important is a thorough knowledge of God's Word.
  Not only the  knowledge, but also the  doing. Here, Moshe forbids  to add
  something to  the Word. All human writings, no  matter how old, when they
  not totally  agree with the Scriptures,  they add something  to the Word.
  Moshe forbids it.  Also, you may not  take away something from  it. Well,
  many people will  keep the Word with  their mouth. But their  deeds? With
  their deeds, they  take not only  a little away from  the Word, but  they
  tear great pieces of it. This admonishes us to carefully watch ourselves,
  and  to compare our doctrine and our  life with the Word. "To the law and
  to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because
  there is no light in them,"  Jeshajah / Isaiah 8:20. Everybody, who  goes
  through himself concerning this point, will find many idols.  What has he
  to do? He  has to pray God  for grace. "O remember  not against us former
  iniquities:  let thy  tender  mercies  speedily prevent  us:  for we  are
  brought very low.  Help us, o God of our salvation, for  the glory of thy
  name: and deliver  us, and  purge away  our sins, for  thy name's  sake,"
  Thilliem / Psalm 79:8,9.
  3. Questions
  If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider
  to  answer the questions  and do  the tasks.  You can  send these  to the
  editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments.
  1  How many time of our life must we serve God?
  2  Why did the LORD want one place for the religion?
  3  What is the benefit  for us when we ask to the old  paths, to the good
  4  In the  desert, why  was there more  freedom concerning  the offerings
     than in Kenaan?
  5  a. In which way did Jarovaam put Israel to sin?
     b. Is it possible that we are the cause that others sin?
  6  Why was it not allowed to drink the blood of the animals?
  7  a. What was the sin of the people in the time of Chaggai / Haggai?
     b. What do you learn from this for yourself?
  8  Are little sins, which nobody sees, allowed for God?
  9  What is the danger of the examining of the other religions?
  10 How can we be saved from the sins?
  1  Read verse 2 and 3. They have to exterminate all the idolatry, and may
     never join therein.
     a. Have they done this?
     b. Seek in  Jechezkeel 6, Jechezkeel 20, Hosjea 4, Jirmejah / Jeremiah
     3, what the judgement of the Lord to this nation was, because  of this
  2  Read verse  12, where is  commanded to come  in gladness  before God's
     face. Write down the reason of that gladness, from texts in  Melachiem
     A  8, Divre  Hajamiem  B /  2  Chronicles  29, Divre  Hajamiem  B /  2
     Chronicles 30, Nechemjah 8.
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
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            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands