Deuteronomy 12:3

3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.

Read Deuteronomy 12:3 Using Other Translations

And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place.
Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Completely erase the names of their gods!

What does Deuteronomy 12:3 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Deuteronomy 12:3

And you shall overthrow their altars
Which were of stone, as Jarchi observes; whereas the altar ordered to be made by the Lord, before the altar of burnt offering in the tabernacle was made, was of earth, ( Exodus 20:24 ) these were to be demolished, lest the Israelites should be tempted to make use of them; and besides, the Lord would not have any remains of idolatry in the land where his tabernacle and worship were, as being abominable to him:

and break down their pillars;
or statues erected to the honour of their idols; according to Jarchi it was a single stone hewed out at first for the basis of a statue F25; perhaps such as were called Baetulia, in imitation of the stone Jacob set up for a pillar at Bethel, ( Genesis 28:18 Genesis 28:19 )

and burn their groves with fire;
which were planted about their temples, and under which also their idols were placed, and where they privately committed the most abominable lewdness under the notion of religion. The Targum of Jonathan renders the word "abominations", meaning idols; and so Jarchi interprets it by a tree that is worshipped; (See Gill on Deuteronomy 7:5)

and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods;
which were made of wood:

and destroy the names of them out of the place;
by never making any mention of them in common discourse, and by changing the names of places called from them; and especially by destroying all the relics of them, and whatever appertained to them, which might lead to the mention of them; see ( Hosea 2:17 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F25 Misn. Avodah Zarah, c. 3. sect. 7.
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