_____Pinechas - Luyken

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses review’s the history of Israel before they enter into the promised land. It is a review filled with warnings and prophecy of that to come, and also enlightens us as to why the Israelites were to utterly destroy the inhabitant’s of the land. (This destruction of the people is often used by Bible critics to dispute God’s goodness…but read on and see the entire picture).

First, let’s do a little background. In Genesis Chapter 15, God makes his covenant with Abraham, whereby he promises that his heritage will inherit Canaan (modern-day Israel), and he gives this prophecy:

Genesis 15:13 – “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [15:16] But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full [complete].”

God was telling Abraham that the Israelites would take “refuge” in Egypt for 400 years because the inhabitant’s of Canaan (Amorites) had not reached their full-blown wickedness, and that he was giving them that time to repent (which they did not). After 400 years, God would bring the Israelites in and wipe the Amorites off the face of the earth.
But who were the Amorites?

[Wikipaedia] – “Amorite (Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 MAR.TU, Akkadian Tidnum or Amurrūm, Egyptian Amar, Hebrew אמורי ʼĔmōrī) refers to an ancient Semitic people[1]from ancient Syria who also occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to them, as well as to their principal deity.”

[Wikipaedia] – “In the earliest Sumerian sources, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites (“the Mar.tu land”) is associated not with Mesopotamia but with lands immediately to the West, including what is now modern Syria and Canaan.
So, the Amorite’s were inhabitant’s of ancient Syria who had migrated into Mesopotamia AND Canaan.

They were the peoples called Amalekites, from Amalek. The Amorites were the last of the Rephaim, the offspring of the fallen angels, and were giants.

[Wikipaedia] – “The term Amorites is used in the Bible to refer to certain highland mountaineers who inhabited the land of Canaan, described in Genesis 10:16 as descendants of Canaan, son of Ham. They are described as a powerful people of great stature “like the height of the cedars,” who had occupied the land east and west of the Jordan; their king, Og, being described as the last “of the remnant of the Rephaim” (giants) (Deut. 3:11). “

They worshipped multiple gods (i.e., fallen angel’s who represented themselves to the Amorite’s as “gods”). One of these was Baal-Peor, or “The Lord of the Flies”, a representation of Satan whose worship involved the most vile sexual customs. The worship of Baal-Peor included setting up a Ashera pole, around which the worshipper’s would perform sex acts. You know this pole in modern days as the “pole dancing” in strip clubs, and now popular as a form of working out.

[Jewish Encyclopaedia] – ” It is commonly held that this form of Ba’al-worship especially called for sensual indulgence. The context seems to favor his view, on account of the shameful licentiousness into which many of the Israelites were there enticed. But all Ba’al-worship encouraged this sin. The worship of this idol consisted in exposing that part of the body which all persons usually take the utmost care to conceal. It is related that on one occasion a strange ruler came to the place where Peor was worshiped, to sacrifice to him; but when he heard of this silly practise, he caused his soldiers to attack and kill the worshipers of the god (Sifre, Num. 131; Sanh. 106a). The same sources mention various other facts concerning the cult, all of which give the impression that it still existed at the time of the Tannaim. That the statements of the Rabbis are not wholly imaginative and do not take their coloring from the rites of some heathen or antinomian-Gnostic sects is shown by the fact that the worship of Peor is ridiculed, but nowhere stigmatized as moral depravity, by the Rabbis, which latter might have been expected, had the assertions of the Rabbis been based on the Gnostic cults mentioned.”

The fact that God considered the worship of Baal-Peor an abomination is clear throughout the Bible:

From the Bible Concordance:
Numbers 25:3 And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel. (ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Numbers 25:5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that have joined themselves unto Baal-peor. (ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Deuteronomy 4:3 Your eyes have seen what Jehovah did because of Baal-peor; for all the men that followed Baal-peor, Jehovah thy God hath destroyed them from the midst of thee. (ASV BBE DBY JPS WBS YLT NAS)

Joshua 22:17 Was not the sin of Baal-peor great enough, from which we are not clear even to this day, though punishment came on the people of the Lord, (BBE)

Psalms 106:28 They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, And ate the sacrifices of the dead.(ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS)

Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig-tree at its first season: but they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves unto the shameful thing, and became abominable like that which they loved. (ASV BBE DBY JPS WBS YLT NAS)

So, now we come to Deuteronomy, Chapter 4, in which Moses warns the people of the sin’s they have committed and to refrain from them.

{4:3} Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. {4:4} But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God [are] alive every one of you this day.

In the above verses, Moses is recounting the sin of Israel when the Gideonites followed behind them in the wilderness, enticing the men with their women and causing them to commit sexual whoredom. God so hated that sin that he had Moses kill everyone of the men and the Gideonite women.

{4:9}Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
{4:15} Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day [that] the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: {4:16} Lest ye corrupt [yourselves,] and make you a graven image, the similitude of any
figure, the likeness of male or female, {4:17} The likeness of any beast that [is] on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that
flieth in the air, {4:18} The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that [is] in the waters beneath
the earth: {4:19} And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, [even] all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

It is pretty clear what God was telling the people and why. False idol worship was naturally to follow when making a “graven image” (i.e., a statue of some type of god, really a demon that was worshipped as a god). There is also a clear command NOT to worship or “read” the stars, sun and moon, as astrology and horoscopes do today. The heaven’s were put there for one reason – for us to mark seasons and years. It was one thing to look at the Sun, Moon, an Stars, and think “God has created all of this, how wondrous”, and quite another to look at them and try to forecast the future or what your day / week / month would be like because of them.

{4:23} Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a
graven image, [or] the likeness of any [thing,] which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. {4:24} For the LORD thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God.

Moses is clearly warning the Israelites (and down through the ages, us) to not worship anything but him, the Creator. To do so will surely incur his wrath.

Now, look at the following verses and be astonished at what Moses is doing. He is prophesying that the Israelites WILL (not may) worship false god’s and do evil in God’s sight. He prophesizes that they will utterly perish off the land because of this, and that they will serve “gods” (demons).

{4:25} When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt
[yourselves,] and make a graven image, [or] the likeness of any [thing,] and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger: {4:26} I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong [your] days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. {4:27} And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. {4:28} And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see,
nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. {4:29} But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find [him,] if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. {4:30} When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, [even] in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; {4:31} (For the LORD thy God [is] a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

{4:39} Know therefore this day, and consider [it] in thine heart, that the LORD he [is] God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: [there is] none else.

Clearly, God is declaring that there is no other God but him, so that all other “gods” are, in fact, demon’s impersonating god’s.

To sum up, Moses, just before the Israelites are to enter the promised land, warns the people that they should not follow the inhabitants of the land into idolatry. He then tells them what punishment awaits them WHEN, not IF, they fall into idolatry. We shall see in a future post the reason God destroyed the inhabitant’s of the land of Canaan, and it was not because the Israelite’s were “good”; in fact, they were very bad and sinful.