Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 13

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


This Chapter is a continuation of the same subject as the former. Particular and special precepts are contained in it to arm against the motives to idolatry; the persons tempting to it are to be stoned, and even the cities where this sin is committed, are to be razed to the earth.

Deuteronomy 13:1

To those who know not the deceitfulness of the human heart, or the melancholy state of blindness and ignorance to which we are fallen, the precept in this verse may appear strange. But Reader! danger of deception concerning true and false prophets was not peculiar to the Israelites. Observe what Paul saith of the last times concerning apostacy, and then pause over the subject, and pray for grace to resist every temptation of this kind. See 1 Timothy 4:1 .

Verses 2-3

But is it not yet more strange, that the LORD should permit the prediction of false teachers to come to pass? The answer is at hand. GOD hath given the reason: It is to prove the believer. And what is the believers security but the SPIRIT's work in the heart? if, my brother, you are taught of GOD the HOLY GHOST who and what JESUS is, there will never be any danger of going after other gods. That precious promise which GOD held forth for his glory in the last days is then fulfilled in your experience, and you need not ask your neighbor to teach you to know the LORD. Sweet and blessed testimony this of GOD the HOLY GHOST, and abundantly needful now more than ever, in the present period of the church. Jeremiah 31:31-34 . Compared with Hebrews 8:8-11 .

Verse 4

Precious thought to cleave unto the LORD. Reader! pause over it and examine whether this be your case. Deuteronomy 10:20 .

Verse 5

Here is a line drawn to testify our faithfulness to GOD. To wink at the daring attempt of anyone that strives to seduce us from our attachment to JESUS is the greatest of crimes, and is in fact taking part with it. What a beautiful picture hath the HOLY GHOST given us of the zeal of Phinehas on a similar occasion, and what a blessed commendation follows it: Numbers 25:13; Numbers 25:13 . But Reader, when you have looked at the zeal of Phinehas, call to mind what is said of Him whom Phinehas typified. Isaiah 59:17-18 ; John 2:17 .

Verses 6-10

I include these verses within one general observation, to preserve the thread of the narration unbroken. I beg the Reader to observe with me, the striking expression made use of in this precept; after, all the tender relations and charities of life are enumerated, the man of GOD, adds, the friend, which is as a man's own soul; intimating what our dear LORD taught, that even our own flesh, the eye, or the right hand; the one must be plucked out and the other cut off, if either come in competition with our attachment to our covenant GOD in CHRIST. For who is so near or so dear as he that is a Brother born for adversity, or the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother? Reader! is JESUS indeed thus precious to you? If so, no secret or open temptations will be sufficient to rob you of your happiness, or your GOD of his glory. See those Scriptures, Pro_17:17; Pro_18:24 ; Matthew 5:29-30 ; 1 Corinthians 10:13 .

Verse 11

How often this promise is fulfilled and fulfilling in the sad examples around, who shall number?

Verses 12-18

The sacred writer rises by a gradation from the sin of individuals to that of a whole city, and here in this instance, like as in the case of Sodom, GOD is so jealous of his honor, that rather than his glory shall be tarnished, all shall be swept away with the besom of destruction. Reader, pause over this solemn account, call to remembrance your own apostacy, unbelief, denials of GOD and the like, and then look up to JESUS, as the only means whereby thou art preserved to this day, amidst all the idols which you have set up at various times in the heart. Oh, how precious is it to behold that LAMB of GOD, which hath taken away the sins of his people. John 1:29 .

Verse 18


MY soul! behold to what temptations thou art exposed, not only from false prophets and false teachers, but also from false friends and relations. How hath the GOD of this word blinded the minds of men and brought them over to his interests! How doth that prince of the power of the air, as he is called by the apostle, still work in the children of disobedience! And how doth he govern them, direct them, and influence them, by his secret insinuations, to dishonour GOD themselves, and prompt others by their counsel and example! Are not evil spirits and evil men of every description and character his ministers? And what are all those acts of men which we behold going on in life, in drunken clubs, riotous pastimes, revels, banquetings, interpreters of dreams, fortune-telling, and the like, but so many sabbaths of his, and festivals to draw souls aside from the LORD GOD of their fathers. "My Soul! come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor be not thou united." But dearest LORD! arm me with thy grace, and the power of thy HOLY SPIRIT, that I may flee from idolatry, and be found among the number of the faithful, in cleaving to thee, O LORD, with full purpose of heart.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/deuteronomy-13.html. 1828.
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