- A command, to destroy all relicks of idolatry, verse 1-3.
- To worship God in his own place, and according to his own appointment, verse 4-14.
- A permission to eat flesh, but not blood, verse 15, 16.
- Directions to eat the tithe in the holy place, and to take care of the Levite, verse 17-19.
- A farther permission to eat flesh, but not blood, verse 20-25.
- A direction to eat holy things in the holy place, verse 26-28.
- Farther cautions against idolatry, verse 20-32.
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.
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 is, that 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.
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 chuse what kind of offering you please to offer, but not the place where you shall offer them.
There - Not in the most holy place, wherein only the priests might eat, but in places allowed to the people for this, end in the holy city. Ye shall eat - Your part of the things mentioned, Deuteronomy 12:6. Before the Lord - In the place of God's presence, where God's sanctuary shall be.
Here - Where the inconveniency of the place, and the uncertainty of our 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.
His name - His majesty and glory, his worship and service, his, special and gracious presence. Your choice vows - Heb. 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.
Thy burnt-offerings - Nor the other things mentioned above, this one and most eminent kind being put for all the rest.
Within thy gates - That is, in your private habitations, here opposed to the place of God's worship.
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.
As the roe-buck - As common or unhallowed food, tho' they be of the same kind with the sacrifices which are offered to God. The unclean - Because there was, no holiness in such meat for which the unclean might be excluded from it.
The flesh - Excepting what shall be burned to God's, honour, and given to the priest according to his appointment.
By following them - By following the example they left, when their persons are destroyed.