Then shalt thou inquire, make search, and ask diligently
That is, of the witnesses, as the Targum of Jonathan; and this is a case that is only taken into consideration and judged of by the great sanhedrim, or that of seventy one, at Jerusalem F15; and the method they took was this, when it fell under their cognizance: the great sanhedrim send and inquire and search till they know clearly that the whole city, or the greater part of it, are thrust away, and are turned to idolatry; after that they send two disciples of the wise men to admonish them and bring them back; if they return and repent, it is well, but if they continue in their folly, the sanhedrim order all Israel to go up against them to war, and they besiege them, and set themselves in battle array against them, until the city be broken up; and when it is broken up, immediately they set up many courts of judicature, and they judge them; and against whomsoever two witnesses come that he served idols, after they have admonished him they separate him; if all the worshippers be the fewest, they stone them, and the rest of the city are delivered; if they are found the greater number, they bring them to the great sanhedrim, and finish their judgment there, and they slay all those that have served with the sword:
and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain;
that such wicked men have risen and have prevailed upon the inhabitants of the city where they live, to leave the worship of the true God, and go into idolatry, when there is full proof of this, and it is past all question that
such abomination is wrought among you;
as idolatry is, which is an abomination to God, and ought to be so to all mankind, and especially to a people that profess his name.
F15 Maimon. Obede Cochabim, c. 4. sect. 3. 6.