Deuteronomy 12:21
If the place which the LORD your God has chosen to put his name there be too far from you, then you shall kill of your herd and of your flock, which the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you, and you shall eat in your gates whatever your soul lusts after.
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12:5-32 The command to bring ALL the sacrifices to the door of the tabernacle, was now explained with reference to the promised land. As to moral service, then, as now, men might pray and worship every where, as they did in their synagogues. The place which God would choose, is said to be the place where he would put his name. It was to be his habitation, where, as King of Israel, he would be found by all who reverently sought him. Now, under the gospel, we have no temple or altar that sanctifies the gift but Christ only: and as to the places of worship, the prophets foretold that in every place the spiritual incense should be offered, Mal 1:11. Our Saviour declared, that those are accepted as true worshippers, who worship God in sincerity and truth, without regard either to this mountain or Jerusalem, Joh 4:21. And a devout Israelite might honour God, keep up communion with him, and obtain mercy from him, though he had no opportunity of bringing a sacrifice to his altar. Work for God should be done with holy joy and cheerfulness. Even children and servants must rejoice before God; the services of religion are to be a pleasure, and not a task or drudgery. It is the duty of people to be kind to their ministers, who teach them well, and set them good examples. As long as we live, we need their assistance, till we come to that world where ordinances will not be needed. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are commanded to do all to the glory of God. And we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the Father through him. They must not even inquire into the modes and forms of idolatrous worship. What good would it do them to know those depths of Satan? And our inward satisfaction will be more and more, as we abound in love and good works, which spring from faith and the in-dwelling Spirit of Christ.If the place ... - Rather, "Because, or since, the place will be too far from thee." The permission given in Deuteronomy 12:15-16 is repeated, and the reason of it assigned. De 12:16-25. Blood Prohibited.

16. ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water—The prohibition against eating or drinking blood as an unnatural custom accompanied the announcement of the divine grant of animal flesh for food (Ge 9:4), and the prohibition was repeatedly renewed by Moses with reference to the great objects of the law (Le 17:12), the prevention of idolatry, and the consecration of the sacrificial blood to God. In regard, however, to the blood of animals slain for food, it might be shed without ceremony and poured on the ground as a common thing like water—only for the sake of decency, as well as for preventing all risk of idolatry, it was to be covered over with earth (Le 17:13), in opposition to the practice of heathen sportsmen, who left it exposed as an offering to the god of the chase.

Be too far from thee; in which case, being obliged to carry their sacrifice to the place of worship, that the blood might be there poured forth, &c., they might think themselves obliged, for the same reason, to carry their other cattle thither to be killed. They are therefore released from all such obligations, and left at liberty to kill them at home, whether they lived nearer to that place, or further from it; only the latter is here mentioned, as being the matter of the scruple, and as containing the former in it.

As I have commanded thee; in such manner as the blood may be poured forth, as above, Deu 12:16, and below, Deu 12:24. If the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to put his name be too far from thee,.... Or rather "for" (h), or "seeing" the place will be too far from thee; for it is allowed before that they might kill and eat flesh for common food in their gates, Deuteronomy 12:15.

then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock; of thy oxen and of thy sheep, creatures used in sacrifice; but this was no bar to the use of them for common food also:

which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee; Deuteronomy 12:15.

and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after; flesh of any sort, lawful to be eaten.

(h) "cum", Pagninus, Montanus.

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.
Verses 21-23. - If the place.., be too far from thee; this supplies the reason for the alteration of the law in Leviticus 17:3. Only be sure; literally, only be strong; i.e. be firm and resolute, steadfastly resisting the temptation to eat it. The blood is the life (cf. Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 11:1; Leviticus 17:11). The word used is nephesh (נֶפֶשׁ). By this word the Hebrews designated the animal life-principle in men and in beasts; and as without this the body was a mere inert mass, the word came to be used for "life" generally. Of this life the blood was believed to be the seat, and was regarded as the symbol, so that to shed blood was tantamount to the taking away of life. As the blood, moreover, was the life, in it was supposed to lie the propitiatory power - the power, when shed, of atoning for sin, as the giving of life for life. The prohibition of eating it doubtless had respect to this. It was not merely to prevent ferocity in men towards the lower animals (as Rosenmüller suggests) that the eating of blood was interdicted, but specially because there was in this a sort of profanation, a putting to a common use of what appertained to a sacred rite. But if these instructions were really to be observed by the people in Canaan, it was necessary that the law which had been given with reference to the journey through the wilderness, viz., that no animal should be slain anywhere else than at the tabernacle in the same manner as a slain-offering (Leviticus 17:3-6), should be abolished. This is done in Deuteronomy 12:15, where Moses, in direct connection with what goes before, allows the people, as an exception (רק, only) to the rules laid down in Deuteronomy 12:4-14, to kill and eat flesh for their own food according to all their soul's desire. Flesh that was slaughtered for food could be eaten by both clean and unclean, such for example as the roebuck and the hart, animals which could not be offered in sacrifice, and in which, therefore, the distinction between clean and unclean on the part of the eaters did not come into consideration at all.
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