Deuteronomy 17:1
Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
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(1) Thou shalt not sacrifice . . .—The law concerning the purity of victims is given in full in Leviticus 22:17-25. It takes its place there among the special laws of holiness. The same principle appears to unite the several topics treated here in Deuteronomy, as the holy days, the administration of justice, the absence of groves and images, with such a precept as this regarding the perfection of sacrifices. The holiness of the God of Israel necessitates them all. Truth, justice, and purity are demanded in all that come nigh Him. The dignity of His Kingdom is also concerned here. (See Introduction.)

Sheep.—The Hebrew word is sêh (on which see Deuteronomy 14:4, note). It may be either a lamb or a kid.

The only time in history when the sacrifice of imperfect creatures is complained of to any great extent is the time of the prophet Malachi (see Malachi 1:7-14). The laxity of the priests in his time called forth the prophecy that “in every place incense should be offered to God’s name and a pure offering.”

Deuteronomy 17:1. Having spoken of the principal services and offerings prescribed in the law for preventing the Israelites from idolatrous practices, Moses interposes a caution against neglect or profaneness in their own worship of the true God; which might be committed by offering any beast to him that had a disease, blemish, or defect in it. See in Leviticus 1:3. Bullock or sheep — Either greater or smaller sacrifices, all being comprehended under the two most eminent kinds. All that God receives he requires to be perfect.

17:1-7 No creature which had any blemish was to be offered in sacrifice to God. We are thus called to remember the perfect, pure, and spotless sacrifice of Christ, and reminded to serve God with the best of our abilities, time, and possession, or our pretended obedience will be hateful to him. So great a punishment as death, so remarkable a death as stoning, must be inflicted on the Jewish idolater. Let all who in our day set up idols in their hearts, remember how God punished this crime in Israel.This verse belongs in subject to the last chapter. It prohibits once more (compare Deuteronomy 15:21) that form of insult to God which consists in offering to Him a blemished sacrifice.

Any evil-favoredness - Render any evil thing. The reference is to the faults or maims enumerated in Leviticus 22:22-24.


De 17:1. Things Sacrificed Must Be Sound.

1. Thou shalt not sacrifice … any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish—Under the name of bullock were comprehended bulls, cows, and calves; under that of sheep, rams, lambs, kids, he- and she-goats. An ox, from mutilation, was inadmissible. The qualifications required in animals destined for sacrifice are described (Ex 12:5; Le 1:3).They are not to offer blemished sacrifices, Deu 17:1. Idolaters are to be put to death, Deu 17:2-7. Doubts in difficult matters to be resolved by priests and judges, Deu 17:8-13. To choose a king of their own brethren, and not a stranger, Deu 17:14,15. The duty of their king, Deu 17:16-20.

Any bullock or sheep, i.e. either greater or smaller sacrifices, all being comprehended under the two most eminent kinds. See Leviticus 22:20,21.

An abomination, i.e. abominable, as Deu 18:12.

Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the Lord thy God any bullock or sheep wherein is blemish,.... No sacrifice of any sort, whether burnt offering, sin offering, or peace offering, was to have any blemish in it; typical of the unblemished and immaculate Lamb of God, who, being without sin, offered himself without spot to God, and so could take away the sins of others by the sacrifice of himself; see Leviticus 22:18,

or any evilfavouredness; any sickness or disease upon it of any sort, which made it ill favoured to the sight, or disagreeable to the smell, or however unacceptable for sacrifice:

for that is an abomination to the Lord thy God; every such blemished and ill favoured sacrifice; see Malachi 1:8.

Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is {a} blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

(a) You shall not serve God for selfish means as the hypocrites do.

Verse 1. - Not only was the setting up of idols an offence to be punished by the judge, but also all profanation of the service of Jehovah, such as the offering in sacrifice of any animal, bullock or sheep, that had any blemish or defect (cf. Leviticus 22:19-24). Evil-favoredness; literally, any evil thing, i.e. any vice or maim (cf. Leviticus 22:22, etc.). Deuteronomy 17:1Not only did the inclination to nature-worship, such as the setting up of the idols of Ashera and Baal, belong to the crimes which merited punishment, but also a manifest transgression of the laws concerning the worship of Jehovah, such as the offering of an ox or sheep that had some fault, which was an abomination in the sight of Jehovah (see at Leviticus 22:20.). "Any evil thing," i.e., any of the faults enumerated in Leviticus 22:22-24.
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