Deuteronomy 16:21

Forbidden Forms of Worship

21 "You shall not plant any tree as 1an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God that you shall make.

Deuteronomy 16:21 Meaning and Commentary

Deuteronomy 16:21

Thou shall not plant thee a grove of any trees
Of any sort of trees, as oaks or any other; not but that it was lawful to plant trees and groves of them, but not for a religious or idolatrous use: particularly

near unto the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee;
as the Heathens did near their altars, lest it should be thought to be done for a like superstitious and idolatrous use; which evil the Jews sometimes fell into in the times of wicked reigns, and which their good and pious kings removed and destroyed; see ( 2 Kings 18:4 ) ( 21:3 ) ( 2 Kings 23:4 2 Kings 23:7 2 Kings 23:14 2 Kings 23:15 ) and Hecataeus F2, an Heathen historian, relates of the city of Jerusalem, that there were there no image, nor plantation, nor grove, nor any such thing.


F2 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 4. p. 408.

Deuteronomy 16:21 In-Context

19 You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.
20 Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
21 "You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God that you shall make.
22 And you shall not set up a pillar, which the LORD your God hates.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Exodus 34:13; Judges 6:25; 1 Kings 14:15; 1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Chronicles 33:3
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.