Deuteronomy 13:9
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.
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(9) Thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death.—A law tending to prevent false accusation. Where the witness is obliged to carry out himself, or to aid in carrying out, the sentence he demands, secret accusation is impossible; and it is far less easy to pervert the law in order to prosecute a private quarrel.

Deuteronomy 13:9-11. Thou shalt surely kill him — Not privately, a permission to do which, under pretence of the party’s being guilty of the crime in question, would have opened the door to innumerable murders; but by procuring his death through the sentence of the magistrate. Thy hand shall be first upon him — As the witness of his crime; for he was to be stoned to death, and the accuser was to throw the first stone, together with the witnesses, Deuteronomy 17:7. This law, at first sight, may appear too great a trial to humanity; but it is indeed no more than requiring a compliance with that plain principle of religion and morality, to sacrifice all private considerations to the glory of God and good of mankind. All Israel shall hear and fear — The law, though severe, yet was just and necessary, and calculated to preserve the body of the people from the contagion of idolatry.

13:6-11 It is the policy of Satan to try to lead us to evil by those whom we love, whom we least suspect of any ill design, and whom we are desirous to please, and apt to conform to. The enticement here is supposed to come from a brother or child, who are near by nature; from a wife or friend, who are near by choice, and are to us as our souls. But it is our duty to prefer God and religion, before the nearest and dearest friends we have in the world. We must not, to please our friends, break God's law. Thou shalt not consent to him, nor go with him, not for company, or curiosity, not to gain his affections. It is a general rule, If sinners entice thee, consent thou not, Pr 1:10. And we must not hinder the course of God's justice.If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 9. thou shalt surely kill him—not hastily, or in a private manner, but after trial and conviction; and his relative, as informer, was to cast the first stone (see on [126]De 17:2; [127]Ac 7:58). It is manifest that what was done in secret could not be legally proved by a single informer; and hence Jewish writers say that spies were set in some private part of the house, to hear the conversation and watch the conduct of a person suspected of idolatrous tendencies. Thou shalt surely kill him; not privately, which pretence would have opened the door to innumerable murders, but by procuring his death by the sentence of the magistrate; and thou shalt cast the first stone at him, as the witness was to do. See Deu 17:7 Acts 7:58.

But thou shalt surely kill him,.... Not privately and secretly, when and where he entices, nor the enticed himself by his own authority, but after being examined, judged, and condemned by the civil magistrate; and none might judge a false prophet but the sanhedrim at Jerusalem, the sanhedrim of seventy one (m); see Luke 13:33, but the difficulty is how such an one could be convicted, since the affair was transacted secretly, Deuteronomy 13:6 and there were none present to be witnesses, none but the enticer and the enticed; so that either the enticer must be brought to a confession of his guilt, or the testimony of the enticed alone must be taken. The Jewish doctors say (n), that they laid in wait for the enticer, which they never did for any other person, and the method they took was this; the enticed brought two persons, and put them behind a hedge, so that they might see the enticer, and hear his words, and he not see them; and he said to the enticer, say what thou hast said to me privately; which said, the enticed answered to him, how shall we leave our God which is in heaven, and go and serve wood and stone? if he returned (from his evil) hereby, or was silent, he was free; but if he said unto him, so we are obliged, and thus it is comely for us; they that stood afar off, behind the hedge (or in a dark room), brought him to the sanhedrim, and stoned him, that is, after examination, trial, judgment, and condemnation:

thine hand shall be first upon him, to put him to death; he was to throw the first stone at him, partly to show his indignation against the sin he had enticed him to, and that it had not at all affected him so as to incline him unto it; and partly to show that he had bore a true testimony, of which a suspicion might have been created in the minds of some, had he been backward to the execution of him:

and afterwards the hand of all the people; who then could proceed with more certainty and satisfaction: this shows that the person enticed had not a right to kill the enticer, without a judicial process, and the order of the civil magistrate.

(m) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 7. (n) Ibid. c. 7. sect. 10. Maimon. Obede Cochabim, c. 5. sect. 3.

But thou shalt surely kill him; {g} thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

(g) As the witness is charged.

Deuteronomy 13:9To 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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