Deuteronomy 12:30
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared.—A necessary caution. “The fear” of heathen deities often attached itself to their seats of worship. It was found necessary to caution Israel against the fear of them and the dread of them in much later times. (See Jeremiah 10:2-5.)

Deuteronomy 12:30. By following them — By following the example they left, when their persons are destroyed.

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.This caution is based upon the notion generally entertained in the ancient pagan world, that each country had its own tutelary deities whom it would be perilous to neglect; compare 1 Kings 20:23; 2 Kings 17:26. Israel was to shun such superstitions as unworthy of the elect people of God. 29, 30. Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them … saying, How did these nations serve their gods?—The Israelites, influenced by superstitious fear, too often endeavored to propitiate the deities of Canaan. Their Egyptian education had early impressed that bugbear notion of a set of local deities, who expected their dues of all who came to inhabit the country which they honored with their protection, and severely resented the neglect of payment in all newcomers [Warburton]. Taking into consideration the prevalence of this idea among them, we see that against an Egyptian influence was directed the full force of the wholesome caution with which this chapter closes. Snared; drawn into their sin and ruin.

After that they be destroyed; i.e. by following the example they left, when their persons are destroyed.

That thou inquire not after their gods, through curiosity to know their gods, and the manner of the worship, lest thy vain and foolish mind be seduced by its speciousness or newness.

Take heed to thyself, that thou be not snared by following them,.... Their examples and customs, and so be drawn into the same idolatrous practices; see Psalm 106:35, after that they be destroyed from before thee; for their idolatries and other sins:

and that thou inquire not after their gods; what they were, their names, forms, and figures:

saying, how did these nations serve their gods? what was the manner of worship they gave them? what rites, customs, and ceremonies did they use in their adoration of them?

even so will I do likewise; or however, if this was not determined on when the inquiries were made, there was danger that this would be the result of them, and therefore the caution is given.

Take heed to thyself that thou be not {p} 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.

(p) By following their superstitions and idolatries, and thinking to serve me by it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Deuteronomy 12:30The closing admonition is a further expansion of Deuteronomy 12:25 (see at Deuteronomy 11:21). - In Deuteronomy 12:29-31, the exhortation goes back to the beginning again, viz., to a warning against the Canaanitish idolatry (cf. Deuteronomy 12:2.). When the Lord had cut off the nations of Canaan from before the Israelites, they were to take heed that they did not get into the snare behind them, i.e., into the sin of idolatry, which had plunged the Canaanites into destruction (cf. Deuteronomy 7:16, Deuteronomy 7:25). The clause "after they be destroyed from before thee" is not mere tautology, but serves to depict the danger of the snare most vividly before their eyes. The second clause, "that thou inquire not after them" (their gods), etc., explains more fully to the Israelites the danger which threatened them. This danger was so far a pressing one, that the whole of the heathen world was animated with the conviction, that to neglect the gods of a land would be sure to bring misfortune (cf. 2 Kings 17:26).
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