Then shall you bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, to your gates, even that man or that woman, and shall stone them with stones, till they die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 13:1 ff. Here special reference is made to the legal forms to be adopted, Deuteronomy 17:5-7. The sentence was to be carried into effect at "the gates" (compare Genesis 19:1 note) of the town in which the crime was committed; because, as "all the people" were to take a part, an open space would be requisite for the execution. Note the typical and prophetical aspect of the injunction; compare Acts 7:58; Hebrews 13:12.
2-7. If there be found among you … man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness—The grand object contemplated in choosing Israel was to preserve the knowledge and worship of the one true God; and hence idolatry of any kind, whether of the heavenly bodies or in some grosser form, is called "a transgression of His covenant." No rank or sex could palliate this crime. Every reported case, even a flying rumor of the perpetration of so heinous an offense, was to be judicially examined; and if proved by the testimony of competent witnesses, the offender was to be taken without the gates and stoned to death, the witnesses casting the first stone at him. The object of this special arrangement was partly to deter the witnesses from making a rash accusation by the prominent part they had to act as executioners, and partly to give a public assurance that the crime had met its due punishment.
unto thy gates; the Targum of Jonathan says, unto the gates of your sanhedrim, or court of judicature; but Jarchi observes, that this is a mistake of the paraphrase, for he says, we are taught by tradition that "thy gate" is the gate in which he has served or committed idolatry; and so says Maimonides (d), they do not stone a man but at the gate where he served or worshipped; but if the greatest part of the city are Heathens, they stone him at the door of the sanhedrim; and this is received from tradition, that "to thy gates" is the gate at which he served, and not where his judgment is finished:
even that man or that woman; this is repeated, and the woman as well as the man is expressed, to show that no compassion is to be had on her as is usual, nor to be spared on account of the weakness and tenderness of her sex, but she as well as the man must be brought forth and executed according to her sentence, without any mercy shown; and this is observed to show the resentment of the divine Majesty, and his indignation at this sin:
and shalt stone them with stones until they die; of the manner of stoning men and women; see Gill on Acts 7:58.Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. thou shalt bring forth … unto thy gates] Cp. Deuteronomy 22:24 : the usual place for stoning was without the gate, so that the city might not be polluted (cp. Leviticus 24:14, Numbers 15:36); where also Stephen was stoned, Acts 7:58, under this law. On stoning see on Deuteronomy 13:10 (11).
even the man or the woman] Omit with LXX.Verse 5. - Unto thy gates; judicial proceedings were conducted at the gates of the city, and in some place outside the walls the sentence was executed on the condemned criminal (Nehemiah 8:1, 3; Job 29:7; Deuteronomy 22:24; Acts 7:58; Hebrews 13:12), just as, during the journey through the wilderness, it had been outside the camp that transgressors were punished (Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:36). Ecclesiastes 12:11; Daniel 11:25; cf. Isaiah 51:16. Asherah, the symbol of Astarte (see at Exodus 34:13), cannot mean either a green tree or a grove (as Movers, Relig. der Phnizier, p. 572, supposes), for the simple reason that in other passages we find the words עשׂה, make (1 Kings 14:15; 1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chronicles 33:3), or הצּיב, set up (2 Kings 17:10), העמיד, stand up (2 Chronicles 33:19), and בּנה, build (1 Kings 14:23), used to denote the erection of an asherah, not one of which is at all suitable to a tree or grove. But what is quite decisive is the fact that in 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10; Jeremiah 17:2, the asherah is spoken of as being set up under, or by the side of, the green tree. This idol generally consisted of a wooden column; and a favourite place for setting it up was by the side of the altars of Baal.
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