Deuteronomy – Chapter 13: Worshiping Other Gods

Looking at the title of Deuteronomy 13 already makes this an interesting chapter.  I’m sure the god of the bible is okay with humans choosing to worship other gods, right?  After all, the god of the bible has yet to show himself to the people.

“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Deuteronomy 13:1-4

So God’s goal is to trick people so he can punish them?  WTF?  If a prophet comes along and prophesizes something that comes true, why wouldn’t the people follow?  This is more evidence than God himself has shown the people.

“That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery.” – Deuteronomy 13:5

If we assume for a second God is real, the punishment of death for a false prophet seems harsh.  Wouldn’t it be a better choice to ignore the false prophet?  This is also similar to the hardening of the Egyptians heart.  In the first four verses, God makes it clear that he is the one who sent the false prophet.  If the false prophet is caused by God, it follows that God should be put to death.  Hey, something in the Bible I agree with!!!

“If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.” – Deuteronomy 13:6-11

Kill your family!  Kill them!  By stone!  Your hand must be the first to throw the stone!!!  What moral have we learned here?  If your family disagrees with an invisible god, you are to kill them.  Critical thinking and the requirement of evidence deserve death by stoning.  Disgusting.  The next few verses focus on a town that worships idols.  The punishment is even odder than being put to death.

“You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands.” – Deuteronomy 13:15-17

Killing the people is consistent with the previous verses, but what the hell did the livestock and inanimate objects do such that they are to be destroyed and burned?  Just a tad bit of overkill.

“Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors—because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.” – Deuteronomy 13:17-18

Yes, God will love and protect you if you kill those other people.  Death, destruction, and murder equate to love in the eyes of God.

So what did we learn in Deuteronomy 13?  We definitely learned that God is NOT okay with the worshiping of other idols.  God even tricks the people by sending out false prophets to test them.  Dick move God.  Dick move.  God does love you, however, but only if you murder the people God has tricked into worshiping false idols.  The bible a book of morals?  Hardly.

Coming Soon:  Deuteronomy – Chapter 14:  Clean and Unclean Food

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