Deuteronomy 13:1-5 . ENTICERS TO IDOLATRY TO BE PUT TO DEATH.
12-18. Certain men, the children of Belial--lawless, designing demagogues ( Judges 19:22 , 1 Samuel 1:16 , 1 Samuel 25:25 ), who abused their influence to withdraw the inhabitants of the city to idol-worship.
14. Then shalt thou inquire--that is, the magistrate, to whom it officially belonged to make the necessary investigation. In the event of the report proving true, the most summary proceedings were to be commenced against the apostate inhabitants. The law in this chapter has been represented as stern and sanguinary, but it was in accordance with the national constitution of Israel. God being their King, idolatry was treason, and a city turned to idols put itself into a state, and incurred the punishment, of rebellion.
16. it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again--Its ruins shall be a permanent monument of the divine justice, and a beacon for the warning and terror of posterity.
17. there shall cleave naught of the cursed thing to thine hand--No spoil shall be taken from a city thus solemnly devoted to destruction. Every living creature must be put to the sword--everything belonging to it reduced to ashes--that nothing but its infamy may remain.