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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 12

A.M. 2553. B.C. 1451.

A command to destroy all relics of idolatry, Deuteronomy 12:1-3 . To worship God in his own place, and according to his own appointment, Deuteronomy 12:4-14 . A permission to eat flesh, but not blood, Deuteronomy 12:15 , Deuteronomy 12:16 . Directions to eat the tithe in the holy place, and to take care of the Levite, Deuteronomy 12:17-19 . A further permission to eat flesh, but not blood, Deuteronomy 12:20-25 . A direction to eat holy things in the holy place, Deuteronomy 12:26-28 . Further cautions against idolatry, Deuteronomy 12:29-32 .

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 12:1. These are the statutes Moses, being still deeply impressed with a sense of the great danger his nation would be in of falling into idolatrous practices, after their settlement in the promised land, in the neighbourhood of so many superstitious nations, begins here a new exhortation to them, reminding them of the laws provided against it, as the indispensable conditions of their happy and peaceful enjoyment of that fruitful country.

Verse 2

Deuteronomy 12:2. Ye shall destroy all the places Temples, chapels, altars, groves, as appears from other scriptures. Green tree As the Gentiles consecrated divers trees to their false gods, so they worshipped these under them. Pillars Upon which their images were set. Names That is, all the memorials of them, and the very names given to the places from the idols. Not do so That is, not worship him in several places, mountains, and groves.

Verse 5

Deuteronomy 12:5. To put his name there That is, to set up his worship there, and which he shall call by his name, as his house, or his dwelling-place; namely, where the ark should be, the tabernacle, or temple: which was first Shiloh, and then Jerusalem. There is not one precept in all the law of Moses so largely inculcated as this, to bring all their sacrifices to that one altar. And how significant was this appointment! They must keep to one place, in token of their belief, that there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man. It not only served to keep up the notion of the unity of the Godhead, but the one only way of approach to God, and communion with him in and by his Son.

Verse 6

Deuteronomy 12:6. Thither bring your burnt-offerings Which were wisely appropriated to that one place, for the security of the true religion, and for the prevention of idolatry and superstition, which might otherwise more easily have crept in; and to signify that their sacrifices were not accepted for their own worth, but by God’s gracious appointment, and for the sake of God’s altar, by which they were sanctified, and for the sake of Christ, whom the altar manifestly represented. Your heave-offerings That is, your first-fruits of corn, and wine, and oil, and other fruits. And these are called the heave-offerings of their hand, because the offerer was first to take these into his hands, and to heave them before the Lord, and then to give them to the priest. Your free-will-offerings Even your voluntary oblations, which were not due by my prescription, but only by your own choice: you may choose what kind of offerings you please to offer, but not the place where you shall offer them.

Verse 7

Deuteronomy 12:7. There Not in the tabernacle or temple, where only the priests might eat the most holy things, (Numbers 18:10,) but in the court of the tabernacle, or in some place adjacent to the sanctuary. Ye shall eat Your part of the things mentioned Deuteronomy 12:6; before the Lord In the place of his peculiar presence, where his sanctuary shall be. And ye shall rejoice For God is to be served with delight and gladness, and his worship ought to be a source of consolation to us, and it will be such if we worship him in spirit and truth. In all that you put your hand unto In all your possessions and labours whatsoever, which shall otherwise be accursed to you.

Verse 8

Deuteronomy 12:8. That we do here Where the inconvenience of the place, and the uncertainty of their abode, would not permit exact order in sacrifices, and feasts, and ceremonies, which therefore God was then pleased to dispense with; but, saith he, he will not do so there. Right in his own eyes Not that universal liberty was given to all persons to worship how they listed: but in many things their unsettled condition gave opportunity to do so.

Verse 11

Deuteronomy 12:11. His name His majesty and glory, his worship and service, his special and gracious presence. Your choice vows Hebrew, the choice of your vows; that is, your select or chosen vows; so called, because things offered for vows were to be perfect, whereas defective creatures were accepted in free-will-offerings. Your daughters Hence it appears, that though the males only were obliged to appear before God in their solemn feasts, yet the women also were permitted to come.

Verse 13

Deuteronomy 12:13. Thy burnt-offerings Nor the other things mentioned above, this one and most eminent kind being put for all the rest.

Verse 17

Deuteronomy 12:17. Within thy gates That is, in your private habitations, here opposed to the place of God’s worship.

Verses 20-21

Deuteronomy 12:20-21. Enlarge thy border Which will make it impossible to bring all the cattle thou usest to the tabernacle. If the place be too far Being obliged to carry their sacrifices to the place of worship, they might think themselves obliged to carry their other cattle thither to be killed. They are therefore released from all such obligations, and left at liberty to kill them at home whether they lived nearer that place, or farther from it; only the latter is here mentioned, as being the matter of the scruple. As I have commanded In such a manner as the blood may be poured forth.

Verse 22

Deuteronomy 12:22. As the roe-buck As common or unhallowed food. They might eat of such cattle as were appointed for sacrifices, no less than of those not so appointed. The unclean Because there was no holiness in such meat for which the unclean might be excluded from it.

Verse 27

Deuteronomy 12:27. Thou shalt eat the flesh Excepting what shall be burned to God’s honour, and given to the priest, according to his appointment.

Verse 30

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

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/deuteronomy-12.html. 1857.