Deuteronomy 16:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God,

New Living Translation
"You must never set up a wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build for the LORD your God.

English Standard Version
“You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God that you shall make.

New American Standard Bible
"You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself.

King James Bible
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Do not set up an Asherah of any kind of wood next to the altar you will build for the LORD your God,

International Standard Version
"You are not to set up a sacred pole beside the altar of the LORD your God that you will build.

NET Bible
You must not plant any kind of tree as a sacred Asherah pole near the altar of the LORD your God which you build for yourself.

New Heart English Bible
You shall not plant for yourselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourselves.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When you build the altar for the LORD your God, never plant beside it any tree dedicated to the goddess Asherah.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

New American Standard 1977
“You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

King James 2000 Bible
You shall not make a post idol of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make you.

American King James Version
You shall not plant you a grove of any trees near to the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make you.

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Jehovah thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt plant no grove, nor any tree near the altar of the Lord thy God:

Darby Bible Translation
Thou shalt not plant thyself an Asherah of any wood near unto the altar of Jehovah thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

English Revised Version
Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

Webster's Bible Translation
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near to the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make for thee.

World English Bible
You shall not plant for yourselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Yahweh your God, which you shall make for yourselves.

Young's Literal Translation
'Thou dost not plant for thee a shrine of any trees near the altar of Jehovah thy God, which thou makest for thyself,
Study Bible
Forbidden Forms of Worship
20"Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you. 21"You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself. 22"You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the LORD your God hates.…
Cross References
Exodus 34:13
"But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim

Leviticus 26:1
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 7:5
"But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

2 Kings 17:16
They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.

2 Kings 21:3
For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.

2 Kings 21:7
Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the LORD said to David and to his son Solomon, "In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.

2 Chronicles 33:3
For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he also erected altars for the Baals and made Asherim, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
Treasury of Scripture

You shall not plant you a grove of any trees near to the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make you.

Exodus 34:13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down …

Judges 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and …

1 Kings 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, …

1 Kings 16:33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God …

2 Kings 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made …

2 Kings 21:3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had …

2 Chronicles 33:3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had …

(21) Thou shalt not plant thee a grove.--Heb., ashrah, sometimes used of images, but here evidently of the grove itself. The worship of Jehovah allowed of no secret rites; and nothing that could lead to the abominations of heathen idolatry could be permitted near Jehovah's altar.

Verses 21, 22. - In all states, the highest crime of which the judge has to take note is that of treason against the supreme Rower; and, under the theocracy, the act most distinctly treasonable was idolatry. In proceeding, therefore, to give some practical admonitions as to the things to be observed in the administration of justice, Moses begins by denouncing and forbidding this most flagrant form of iniquity. Verse 21. - Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees; thou shalt not plant, i.e. place or set up, an asherah of any wood. The asherah was an idol of wood in the form of a pillar, usually placed by the side of the altars of Baal. It was the symbol of Astarte, the great Canaanitish goddess, the companion and revealer of Baal. The two are usually associated in the Old Testament (cf. Judges 2:13; Judges 6:28; 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 23:4). The rendering "grove" has been taken from the LXX. and the Vulgate; but that it is an error is evident from 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10; and Jeremiah 17:2; where the asherah is said to be under a green tree; and from the use of such words as make, set up, cause to stand, build, to denote the action of producing an asherah (cf. 1 Kings 14:15; 1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Kings 17:10; 2 Chronicles 33:19; 1 Kings 14:23), none of which are appropriate to the planting of a grove. Here, indeed, the word "plant" is used, but this is only because, as the asherah was sunk in the earth that it might stand firm, it might be figuratively said to be planted, just as nails driven in are said to be planted (Ecclesiastes 12:11, where the same verb is used; comp. also Isaiah 51:16; Amos 9:15; Daniel 11:25). Thou shall not plant thee a grove of any trees,.... Of any sort of trees, as oaks or any other; not but that it was lawful to plant trees and groves of them, but not for a religious or idolatrous use: particularly

near unto the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee; as the Heathens did near their altars, lest it should be thought to be done for a like superstitious and idolatrous use; which evil the Jews sometimes fell into in the times of wicked reigns, and which their good and pious kings removed and destroyed; see 2 Kings 18:4 and Hecataeus (b), an Heathen historian, relates of the city of Jerusalem, that there were there no image, nor plantation, nor grove, nor any such thing.

(b) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 4. p. 408. 21. Thou shalt not plant thee a grove—A grove has in Scripture a variety of significations—a group of overshadowing trees, or a grove adorned with altars dedicated to a particular deity, or a wooden image in a grove (Jud 6:25; 2Ki 23:4-6). They might be placed near the earthen and temporary altars erected in the wilderness, but they could not exist either at the tabernacle or temples. They were places, which, with their usual accompaniments, presented strong allurements to idolatry; and therefore the Israelites were prohibited from planting them.16:18-22 Care is taken for the due administration of justice. All personal regards must be laid aside, so that right is done to all, and wrong to none. Care is taken to prevent following the idolatrous customs of the heathen. Nothing belies God more, or tends more to corrupt the minds of men, than representing and worshipping, by an image, that God, who is an almighty and eternal Spirit, present every where. Alas! even in gospel days, and under a better dispensation, established upon better promises, there is a tendency to set up idols, under one form or another, in the human heart.
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