Deuteronomy 12:1
These are the statutes and judgments, which you shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of your fathers gives you to possess it, all the days that you live on the earth.
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(1) These are the statutes and judgments.—The word Mitzvah—commandment, or duty—is not used here. Particular institutions and requirements are now before us.

Deuteronomy 12:1. These are the statutes — Moses, being still deeply impressed with a sense of the great danger his nation would be in of falling into idolatrous practices, after their settlement in the promised land, in the neighbourhood of so many superstitious nations, begins here a new exhortation to them, reminding them of the laws provided against it, as the indispensable conditions of their happy and peaceful enjoyment of that fruitful country.12:1-4 Moses comes to the statutes he had to give in charge to Israel; and begins with such as relate to the worship of God. The Israelites are charged not to bring the rites and usages of idolaters into the worship of God; not under colour of making it better. We cannot serve God and mammon; nor worship the true God and idols; nor depend upon Christ Jesus and upon superstitious or self-righteous confidences.Moses now passes on to apply Deuteronomy 12-26 the leading principles of the Decalogue to the ecclesiastical, civil, and social life of the people. Particulars will be noticed which are unique to the Law as given in Deuteronomy; and even in laws repeated from the earlier books various new circumstances and details are introduced. This is only natural. The Sinaitic legislation was nearly 40 years old and had been given under conditions of time, place, and circumstance different and distant from those now present. Yet the Sinaitic system, far from being set aside or in any way abrogated, is on the contrary throughout presupposed and assumed. Its existence and authority are taken as the starting-point for what is here prescribed, and an accurate acquaintance with it on the part of the people is taken for granted. CHAPTER 12

De 12:1-15. Monuments of Idolatry to Be Destroyed.

1. These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe—Having in the preceding chapter inculcated upon the Israelites the general obligation to fear and love God, Moses here enters into a detail of some special duties they were to practise on their obtaining possession of the promised land.They are commanded to destroy all the places of idolatry, Deu 12:1-3; and must worship God in his own place, and after his will, Deu 12:4-15. The eating of blood prohibited, Deu 12:16. Where and how they should eat the tithe, Deu 12:17,18. The Levite not to be forsaken, Deu 12:19. They may eat flesh clean or unclean any where, Deu 12:20-22; but not the blood, Deu 12:23-25. Holy things to be eaten at the altar of the Lord, Deu 12:26-28. They are forbidden to inquire after the heathen worship, Deu 12:29,30; or to worship the true God as they, Deu 12:31; but to keep to the law in their worship, Deu 12:32.

No text from Poole on this verse.

These are the statutes and judgments which ye shall observe to do,.... Which are recorded in this and the following chapters; here a new discourse begins, and which perhaps was delivered at another time, and respects things that were to be observed:

in the land which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it; the land of Canaan, often described by this circumlocution, to put them in mind that it was promised to their fathers by their covenant God, was his gift to them, and which they would quickly be in the possession of; and therefore when in it should be careful to observe the statutes and judgments of God constantly:

even all the days that ye live upon the earth; or land, the land of Canaan; for though there were some laws binding upon them, live where they would, there were others peculiar to the land of Canaan, which they were to observe as long as they and their posterity lived there; see 1 Kings 8:40.

These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God {a} of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.

(a) By which they are admonished to seek no other God.

1. These are the statutes and the judgements] As in Deuteronomy 6:1 but minus the Commandment or Charge (Miṣwah) because this, the introductory enforcement of the religious principles on which the laws are based, is now finished.

observe to do] See on Deuteronomy 4:6, Deuteronomy 5:1.

God of thy fathers] See on Deuteronomy 6:3.

all the days, etc.] Cp. Deuteronomy 4:9-10, Deuteronomy 31:13.Ver 1. - These are the statutes and judgments (cf. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:1). Moses, as the servant of God, had taught Israel statutes and rights, as God had commanded him (Deuteronomy 4:5); and now he recapitulates the principal of these for their guidance in the way of obedience. These they were to observe all the days of their life upon the land that was to be given them; the land was the Lord's, and there, as long as they possessed it, the Law of the Lord was to be paramount. Concluding summary. "I set before you this day the blessing and the curse." The blessing, if (אשׁר, ὅτε, as in Leviticus 4:22) ye hearken to the commandments of your God; the curse, if ye do not give heed to them, but turn aside from the way pointed out to you, to go after other gods. To this there are added instructions in Deuteronomy 11:29 and Deuteronomy 11:30, that when they took possession of the land they should give the blessing upon Mount Gerizim and the curse upon Mount Ebal, i.e., should give utterance to them there, and as it were transfer them to the land to be apportioned to its inhabitants according to their attitude towards the Lord their God. (For further comment, see at Deuteronomy 27:14.) The two mountains mentioned were selected for this act, no doubt because they were opposite to one another, and stood, each about 2500 feet high, in the very centre of the land not only from west to east, but also from north to south. Ebal stands upon the north side, Gerizim upon the south; between the two is Sichem, the present Nabulus, in a tolerably elevated valley, fertile, attractive, and watered by many springs, which runs from the south-east to the north-west from the foot of Gerizim to that of Ebal, and is about 1600 feet in breadth. The blessing was to be uttered upon Gerizim, and the curse upon Ebal; though not, as the earlier commentators supposed, because the peculiarities of these mountains, viz., the fertility of Gerizim and the barrenness of Ebal, appeared to accord with this arrangement: for when seen from the valley between, "the sides of both these mountains are equally naked and sterile;" and "the only exception in favour of the former is a small ravine coming down, opposite the west end of the town, which is indeed full of foundations and trees" (Rob. Pal. iii. 96, 97). The reason for selecting Gerizim for the blessings was probably, as Schultz supposes, the fact that it was situated on the south, towards the region of the light. "Light and blessing are essentially one. From the light-giving face of God there come blessing and life (Psalm 16:11)." - In Deuteronomy 11:30 the situation of these mountains is more clearly defined: they were "on the other side of the Jordan," i.e., in the land to the west of the Jordan, "behind the way of the sunset," i.e., on the other side of the road of the west, which runs through the land on the west of the Jordan, just as another such road runs through the land on the east (Knobel). The reference is to the main road which ran from Upper Asia through Canaan to Egypt, as was shown by the journeys of Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 33:17-18). Even at the present day the main road leads from Beisan to Jerusalem round the east side of Ebal into the valley of Sichem, and then again eastwards from Gerizim through the Mukra valley on towards the south (cf. Rib. iii. 94; Ritter, Erdkunde, xvi. pp. 658-9). "In the land of the Canaanite who dwells in the Arabah." By the Arabah, Knobel understands the plain of Nabulus, which is not much less than four hours' journey long, and on an average from a half to three-quarters broad, "the largest of all upon the elevated tract of land between the western plain and the valley of the Jordan" (Rob. iii. p. 101). This is decidedly wrong, however, as it is opposed to the fixed use of the word, and irreconcilable with the character of this plain, which, Robinson says, "is cultivated throughout and covered with the rich green of millet intermingled with the yellow of the ripe corn, which the country people were just reaping" (Pal. iii. 93). The Arabah is the western portion of the Ghor (see at Deuteronomy 1:1), and is mentioned here as that portion of the land on the west of the Jordan which lay stretched out before the eyes of the Israelites who were encamped in the steppes of Moab. "Over against Gilgal," i.e., not the southern Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, which received its name for the first time in Joshua 4:20 and Joshua 5:9; but probably the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6., and very frequently in the history of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, which is only about twelve and a half miles from Gerizim in a southern direction, and has been preserved in the large village of Jiljilia to the south-west of Sinjil, and which stands in such an elevated position, "close to the western brow of the high mountain tract," that you "have here a very extensive prospect over the great lower plain, and also over the sea, whilst the mountains of Gilead are seen in the east" (Rob. Pal. iii. 81). Judging from this description of the situation, Mount Gerizim must be visible from this Gilgal, so that Gerizim and Ebal might very well be described as over against Gilgal.

(Note: There is much less ground for the opinion of Winer, Knobel, and Schultz, that Gilgal is the Jiljule mentioned by Robinson (Pal. iii. 47; and Bibl. Researches, p. 138), which evidently corresponds to the Galgula placed by Eusebius and Jerome six Roman miles from Antipatris, and is situated to the south-east of Kefr Saba (Antipatris), on the road from Egypt to Damascus. For this place is not only farther from Gerizim and Ebal, viz., about seventeen miles, but from its position in the lowland by the sea-shore it presents no salient point for determining the situation of the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. Still less can we agree with Knobel, who speaks of the village of Kilkilia, to the north-east of Kefr Saba, as the name itself has nothing in common with Gilgal.)

The last definition, "beside the terebinths of Moreh," is intended no doubt to call to mind the consecration of that locality even from the times of the patriarchs (Schultz: see at Genesis 12:6, and Genesis 35:4).

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