- Enticers to idolatry to be stoned, verse 1-11.
- Idolatrous cities to be entirely destroyed, verse 12-18.
A dreamer of dreams - One that pretends God hath revealed himself to him by visions or dreams. Giveth a sign or wonder - That is, shall foretell some strange and wonderful thing.
Thou shalt not hearken to that prophet - Not receive his doctrine, though the sign come to pass. For although when such a sign or wonder foretold did not follow or come to pass, it was a sign of a false prophet, yet when it did come to pass, it was no sufficient sign of a true one, especially, in such a case. There are many things, which may be wrought by evil spirits, God so permitting it for wise and just reasons, not only for the trial of the good, but also for the punishment of ungodly men. Proveth you - That is, trieth your faith and love and obedience. To know - Namely, judicially, or in a publick manner, so as both you and others may know and see it, that so the justice of his judgments upon you may be more evident and glorious.
To thrust - This phrase notes the great force and power of seducers to corrupt men's minds. So shalt thou put the evil away - Thou shalt remove the guilt, by removing the guilty.
The son of thy mother - This is added, to restrain the signification of the word brother, which is often used generally for one near a-kin, and to express the nearness of the relation, the mother's, side being usually the ground of the most fervent affection. Thy daughter - Thy piety must overcome both thy affection, and thy compassion to the weaker sex. The father and mother are here omitted, because they are sufficiently contained in the former examples.
Conceal him - That is, smother his fault, hide or protect his person, but shalt accuse him to the magistrate, and demand justice upon him.
Thou shalt kill him - Not privately, which pretence would have opened the door to innumerable murders, but by procuring his death by the sentence of the magistrate. Thou shalt cast the first stone at him, as the witness was to do.
Children of Belial - It signifies properly persons without yoke, vile and wretched miscreants, lawless and rebellious, that will suffer no restraint, that neither fear God, nor reverence man. From among you - That is, from your church and religion. It notes a separation from them, not in place (as appears by their partnership with their fellow citizens both in the sin and punishment) but in heart, doctrine and worship.
Enquire - This is, meant of the magistrate, to whose office this properly belongs, and of whom he continues to speak in the same manner, thou, Deuteronomy 13:15,16. The Jewish writers say, the defection of a city is to be tried by the great sanhedrim. If it appear, that they are thrust away to idolatry, they send two learned men, to admonish them. If they repent, all is well: is not, all Israel must go up and execute this sentence. Tho' we do not find this law put in execution, in all the history of the Jewish church, yet for neglecting the execution of it on inferior cities, God himself by the army of the Chaldeans, executed it on Jerusalem, the head city, which was utterly destroyed, and lay in ruins for seventy years.
The inhabitants - Namely, all that are guilty, not the innocent part, such as disowned this apostacy, who doubtless by choice, at least upon warning, would come out of so wicked a place. Utterly - The very same punishment which was, inflicted upon the cities of the cursed Canaanites, to whom having made themselves equal in sin, it is but just God should equal them in punishment.
For the Lord - For the satisfaction of God's justice, the maintainance of his honour and authority, and the pacification of his offended majesty. It shall not be built - It shall be an eternal monument of God's justice, and terror to after ages.
Multiply thee - So thou shalt have no loss of thy numbers by cutting off so many people.