Deuteronomy - Chapter 12
In Chapter 12 of the Book of Deuteronomy, you can read about the regulations for the worship of the Lord. This chapter begins a series of detailed laws that would govern the life of Israel in the Promised Land. It emphasizes the elimination of idolatrous practices, focusing on the centrality and exclusivity of worship at the place that God will choose. It highlights the importance of joyful fellowship in God's presence, including everyone from the Levite to the alien. This chapter prompts us to examine the purity and sincerity of our worship.
Places of Pagan Cult
1 "These [are] the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth.
2 "You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.
3 "And you shall destroy their altars, break their [sacred] pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.
Place of Worship - Only One
4 "You shall not worship the LORD your God [with] such [things.]
5 "But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
6 "There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
7 "And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
8 "You shall not at all do as we are doing here today -- every man doing whatever [is] right in his own eyes --
9 "for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.
10 "But [when] you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety,
11 "then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.
12 "And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who [is] within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
13 "Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
14 "but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
Consecrated and Ordinary Dishes
15 " However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.
16 "Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water.
17 "You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand.
18 "But you must eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who [is] within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all to which you put your hands.
19 "Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.
20 " When the LORDl our God enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, 'Let me eat meat,' because you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat as your heart desires.
21 "If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires.
22 "Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them.
23 "Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood [is] the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.
24 "You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water.
25 "You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do [what is] right in the sight of the LORD.
26 "Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the LORD chooses.
27 "And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the meat.
28 "Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do [what is] good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
Pagan Divine service
29 " When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,
30 "take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.'
31 "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
32 "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.