|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:1-9 Are we shocked at the unnatural cruelty of the ancient idolaters in sacrificing their children? We may justly be so. But are there not very many parents, who, by bad teaching and wicked examples, and by the mysteries of iniquity which they show their children, devote them to the service of Satan, and forward their everlasting ruin, in a manner even more to be lamented? What an account must such parents render to God, and what a meeting will they have with their children at the day of judgment! On the other hand, let children remember that he who cursed father or mother was surely put to death. This law Christ confirmed. Laws which were made before are repeated, and penalties annexed to them. If men will not avoid evil practices, because the law has made these practices sin, and it is right that we go on that principle, surely they should avoid them when the law has made them death, from a principle of self-preservation. In the midst of these laws comes in a general charge, Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy. It is the Lord that sanctifies, and his work will be done, though it be difficult. Yet his grace is so far from doing away our endeavours, that it strongly encourages them. Work out your salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.
Verses 4, 5. - There is to be no connivance with Molech-worship. The penalty is death, and is to be carried out by the proper tribunals, whose business it was to see that the stoning took place. So in Deuteronomy the duty of killing those who entice to idolatry is laid down. "Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shall thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: but thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people" (Deuteronomy 13:8, 9). In the case of Molech-worship God declares that, if the tribunals of the nation fail to adjudge the penalty of death to the offender, he will himself lake the matter into his hands, and cut him off with his family and all that follow him in his sin of unfaithfulness.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man,.... That is, the people of the house of Israel, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; if the friends, relations, and neighbours of such a man, though they know what he is about to do, or has done, yet they shut their eyes wilfully, or look another way; or, however, wink and connive at his wickedness, and will not discover him, and bear witness against him; or if a court of judicature, before whom he comes, does not take the evidence of his crime, nor condemn for it, or are negligent in punishing him as the law directs, a gift having blinded their eyes, or they careless and remiss in their duty:
when he giveth his seed unto Molech; a crime so heinous and abominable:
and kill him not; do not bring witness against him, so as that he may be put to death, or do not upon the evidence given condemn him to death, or do not take care to have sentence executed, by stoning him to death.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. If the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, &c.—that is, connive at their countrymen practising the horrid rites of Molech. Awful was it that any Hebrew parents could so violate their national covenant, and no wonder that God denounced the severest penalties against them and their families.
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