Do not refrain from incriminating an idolater

The Literal Commandment

"If your brother, your mother's son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. (Deuteronomy 13:6-8)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not conceal a person who attempts to entice us into idolatry.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

We are commanded not to spare a person who attempts to entice us into idol worship. This is because such a pursuit is fruitless and only serves to turn us towards falsehood and away from the G-d who is the Truth.

Idols are nothing. Scripture describes idols in this way:

Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good." (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

 

If anyone would turn to idolatry (or attempt to entice others into idolatry) then they are denying the truth of G-d's Word and Who He declares Himself to be.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not sparing anyone who attempted to entice others into idolatry.

He will continue to fulfill the commandment upon His return for we see in Revelation 21:8 that idolaters are consigned to the lake of fire:

"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally understood as "do not refrain from incriminating an idolater" because the commandment instructs us not to "conceal" the enticer. Concealment can include both physical concealment as well as concealing our testimony of the enticer's actions. If we do not conceal that person then the lawful consequence of their enticement is death:

But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you. (Deuteronomy 13:9-11)

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not conceal a person who attempts to entice others into idolatry.

We can however attempt to turn them from their sin and if they do not repent then we should remove them from fellowship. Although for a different reason, Paul exhorts the congregation in Corinth to expel those who are in willful sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). We would do well to follow that example.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 41
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 13:9
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 13
  • Verse 9
  • English But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
  • Hebrew י כִּי הָרֹג תַּהַרְגֶנּוּ, יָדְךָ תִּהְיֶה-בּוֹ בָרִאשׁוֹנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ; וְיַד כָּל-הָעָם, בָּאַחֲרֹנָה.
  • Greek (13:10) ἀναγγέλλων ἀναγγελεῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ, αἱ χεῖρές σου ἔσονται ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν ἐν πρώτοις ἀποκτεῖναι αὐτόν, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ ἐπ᾿ ἐσχάτῳ,
  • Parashah 47- Re'eh
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 461
  • Sef. Hach. Command That a person enticed to idol-worship should not refrain from speaking out against the enticer
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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