Deuteronomy 13


How do we reconcile God’s words in Deuteronomy 13 with Christ?
On the face of it such a task seems impossible.

In Deuteronomy 13 we are warned about the worship of false Gods. Yet the warning we receive crosses a barrier from warning - to ordering killing. Even if my wife strays from the path of righteousness, tempted to worship ‘other Gods’, I am to stone her to death with my own hands!

How does this make us any better than Muslims? After all, their sacred scriptures are littered with anger and violence aimed at the non-believers. Christ presents us with a totally different mindset to that of Deuteronomy, yet Christ came to fulfil the prophets and the commandments, not abolish them.

How does all this tie in together?



Ive wondered about this kind of thing too, like that OT verse that says you must kill the entire city if you find just one blasphemous person there, even women and children…on the face of it, seems like it would go against Gods law and the commandments, but I believe, if Im not mistaken, this kind of thing only applied to the Jewish people and in the OT, the new covenant changed all this, and did away with all the old laws.


The land represents your heart. People who inhabit the land represent the desires and inclinations of your heart.

We are to kill every thought and desire in our heart which does not give glory and worship to God.

Keep in mind that God said that people who lived outside of the land promised to the Jews could be spared. People who lived in cities outside of Israel whom the Jews went to war with did not need to be completely exterminated. If they asked for peace then the Israelites were to spare their lives. See Dueteronomy 20.

It is the evil thoughts and desires of our heart - represented by Israel - that we are to exterminate completely. Elsewhere in the Bible God commands the Jews rise early and kill the young - this means that we should stop evil thoughts as soon as they come.

This is how we reconcile Jesus with the Old Testament.



So are the demands to kill made in the abstract and metaphorical, not literal?


Both. God the Father ordered Israel to exterminate nations. (Better them than us, ha!) Such orders had proverbial meanings to them, many of which are expounded upon in the New Testament.


I’m still confused lol. Even more so now. The OT paints God as a Raging maniac.


Read the OT for twenty minutes or so, then page over to the Gospels - Your heart will sing. The OT should be understood in relationship to the time period when it was written. :rolleyes:


I wouldn’t be hasty to condemn the creator. The Old Testament is filled with examples of the Pagans being evil. Such examples include sacrificing children to demons, worshiping gods, among other things.

Some passages, in both the Old and New Testaments, explain in detail the reasons behind Israel needing to exterminate the previous inhabitants of the Promised Land. See the Book of Kings.

1 Kings 11:1-9 -> Solomon’s foreign wives turned his heart away from God.

Israel failed to exterminate their enemies. They even went as far as to accept these enemies into their society, going directly against God’s wishes. As God predicted, Israel suffered greatly for it.

In any case, God is more intelligent than we ever will be. He didn’t command Israel to exterminate the previous inhabitants of the Promised Land without good reason. Those who were being exterminated were not good, but evil. Remember that.


Thanks. But how does one equate a misguided wife with evil? Deuteronomy explains the consequences with such ease and lack of nuance.


Great reply.


Dueteronomy literally means “second law”.

The Book of Dueteronomy is a series of three speeches given by Moses on the Plains of Moab just before the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River into the promised land after being led out of Egypt and wandering the desert for 40 years. Moses was to die before they crossed over and these are his three farewell addresses.

The context in which Dueteronomy (and Leviticus) must be read is the Book of Exodus and the Book of Genesis. One cannot read Dueteronomy with understanding unless they have read and understand Exodus and Genesis first.

The Hebrews had been led out of slavery in Egypt where they had forgotten how to worship God. The first generation, people who had seen God’s works first hand, abandoned the covenant after only three days by worshiping a metal statue. The second generation, the people to whom Moses spoke, were taught how to rely on God by being led through the wilderness for 40 years. They were about to enter the land promised to them by God in the covenant with Abraham. Moses was teaching them how to worship God, how to rely on God and how to be different, better than the nations around them and better than the Egyptians who held them in slavery without any hope.

Dueteronomy has to be read in this context - a world gone completely haywire where the people around the Hebrews engaged in homosexual gang rapes, prostituted their daughters, drank human blood and burned their children alive as sacrifice to false gods. God’s laws are the first controls on an out of control situation as he teaches his children not to act like those around them, to utterly abhor such behavior and purge it from their midst.

These are the first steps in God teaching self control to man. It’s not perfect but it is a start. God needed man to establish a foothold somewhere, a “clean piece of land” where men treated each other with respect. Israel was that foothold.



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