Deuteronomy 13:16 MEANING

Deuteronomy 13:16
(16) And shalt burn with fire the city.--So Gibeah was treated (Judges xx 40).

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).

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!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.

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