New Defender's Study Bible Notes
12:2 the high mountains. The Canaanites–as well as other nations worshipping “the host of heaven”–believed they could best contact their “gods” (actually the evil spiritual beings that had followed Satan in his age-long war against the true God of creation) in “high places.” In flatlands, artificial high places were constructed (ziggurats, pyramids, etc.) to achieve this purpose. Such practices were forbidden the people of God.
12:5 thither thou shalt come. The idolatrous nations worshipped the many gods and goddesses who personified to them the various forces and systems of nature, thus controlling the weather, the beasts, the rivers, etc. Consequently they established numerous places of worship, which commonly were sites of orgiastic rites and sadistic sacrifices. The chosen nation was, therefore, not to establish numerous worship sites, but only one central location, where all the people could come at set times to honor the one true God.
12:8 right in his own eyes. This behavior became the chief characteristic of the people during their later periods of apostasy (Judges 17:6; 21:25). It also has come to characterize the majority of people in professedly Christian nations today.
12:14 the LORD shall choose. Note also Deuteronomy 12:5,11. The Lord’s temporary choice for His tabernacle was at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1), then at Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:17), eventually in the body of each believer (I Corinthians 6:19).
12:23 blood is the life. Note Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11. Blood offerings and even drinking of blood were common among the pagan religions, but God considered the blood sacred, as containing the “life” of the flesh, and also as anticipating the blood of Christ, which would be shed for the eternal life of all who would partake spiritually of its regenerating power (John 6:53-56).
12:24 upon the earth. Compare Leviticus 17:13, which says that the blood should also be covered with dust. Some of the blood was first to be sprinkled on the altar (Leviticus 3:2) before being poured upon the ground.
12:32 nor diminish from it. See also Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Matthew 5:18; Revelation 22:18,19. The Word of God is eternally settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89), and it is dangerous presumption for men and women to try to dilute or augment it.
13:3 Thou shalt not hearken. Even if a “prophet” or magician is allowed by God to make a true prediction or perform a genuine miracle, that is not sufficient proof of his authenticity as a man of God. He must also be using his ability to glorify the true God and confirm His word, not to undermine His authority and lead people into a false religion. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). This warning is as relevant today as it was in ancient Israel, especially in view of the wide resurgence of occultism, pantheism, and all kinds of paranormal phenomena–all opposing true Biblical Christianity.