Deuteronomy 13:16
And you shall gather all the spoil of it into the middle of the street thereof, and shall burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD your God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) And shalt burn with fire the city.—So Gibeah was treated (Judges xx 40).

Deuteronomy 13:16-17. For the Lord — For the satisfaction of God’s justice, the maintenance of his honour and authority, and the pacification of his offended majesty. It shall not be built — It shall be an eternal monument of God’s justice and terror to after ages. Multiply thee — So thou shalt have no loss of thy numbers by cutting off so many people.13:12-18 Here is the case of a city revolting from the God of Israel, and serving other gods. The crime is supposed to be committed by one of the cities of Israel. Even when they were ordered to preserve their religion by force, yet they were not allowed to bring others to it by fire and sword. Spiritual judgments under the Christian dispensation are more terrible than the execution of criminals; we have not less cause than the Israelites had, to fear the Divine wrath. Let us then fear the spiritual idolatry of covetousness, and the love of worldly pleasure; and be careful not to countenance them in our families, by our example or by the education of our children. May the Lord write his law and truth in our hearts, there set up his throne, and shed abroad his love!Every whit, for the Lord thy God - Some prefer: "as a whole offering to the Lord thy God." 16. it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again—Its ruins shall be a permanent monument of the divine justice, and a beacon for the warning and terror of posterity. For the Lord thy God, i.e. for the satisfaction of God’s justice, the maintenance of his honour and authority and laws, and the pacification of his offended majesty.

It shall be an heap for ever; it shall be an eternal monument of God’s justice, and terror to after-ages, who may be tempted to like practices. And thou shall gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof,.... All the wealth and substance of the inhabitants, their household goods, shop goods, merchandise, utensils in trade and business, and everything that can be named. The Jews say (p), if there is no street, they make one (or a marketplace); if that is without it, they bring them into the midst of it:

and shall burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit; be it what it may, or let it be whose property it will; and all this shall be done for the Lord thy God; as by his appointment and command, and in obedience to him, so for his honour and glory, and the vindication of his righteous law:

and it shall be an heap for ever, it shall not be built again; but lie a waste as Jericho, though not an entire waste; for according to the Jewish writers, though it might not be built as it was before, it might be made into gardens and orchards (q).

(p) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 6. (q) lbid. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

And {i} thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

(i) Signifying that no idolatry is so detestable, nor more grievously to be punished, than of those who once professed God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 16. - All the spoil thereof every whir, for the Lord thy God; rather, all the spoil [booty] thereof as a whole offering unto Jehovah thy God; it was to be wholly devoted to God, and as such to be consumed by fire. "It was a destruction, and not properly an offering. Hence the author selects neither עֹולָה nor חַטָּאת, but כָּליִל, whole, whole offering (Deuteronomy 33. '10; Leviticus 6:15 [22]), which word, in the law concerning offering, is no technical designation of any particular kind of offering. The rendering omnino is untenable" (Knobel). The city was to be made a ruin, never to be rebuilt; and thus was to be treated the same as a heathen, idolatrous city might be (cf. Numbers 21:3).



To such persuasion Israel was not to yield, nor were they to spare the tempters. The accumulation of synonyms (pity, spare, conceal) serves to make the passage more emphatic. כּסּה, to cover, i.e., to keep secret, conceal. They were to put him to death without pity, viz., to stone him (cf. Leviticus 20:2). That the execution even in this case was to be carried out by the regular authorities, is evident from the words, "thy hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and the hand of all the people afterwards," which presuppose the judicial procedure prescribed in Deuteronomy 17:7, that the witnesses were to cast the first stones at the person condemned.
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