Deut 12:1-26:19

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Home > The Old Testament > Deuteronomy > Chapters 12-26
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This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →

  • Deut 14:2: Peculiar. The adjective translated as "peculiar" in verse 2 is the Hebrew cagulla. It does not mean "odd" or "different." (In the 1828 Webster's, "peculiar" didn't have that modern meaning at all. It was defined as "belonging to a person and to him only," which is much closer to the meaning of the Hebrew word.) In modern English, translations that have been used include "special," "treasured," "select" and "choice." Since this word comes from a root word that refers to possessing, some translators interpret this part of the verse to say that the Lord "hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession" (American Standard Version) or something similar. In other words, this verse describes not what the people referred to are like but what their relationship is to the Lord. (Cf. 1 Pet 2:9.)
Importance of this passage. This passage, stating that the wicked will eventually be cut off from among the righteous, is one of the most important verses that we commonly overlook. The importance of this passage is shown by how often it is quoted in very important locations, including:
  • 3 Ne 20:23; 21:11; and 21:20. The resurrected Lord, when speaking in person to the Nephites about the last days, quoted this passage not once, but three times.
  • JSH 1:40. Joseph Smith recounted that Moroni quoted this passage to him on the occasion of Moroni's initial visit in 1823 when issuing the call for Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon.
  • Matthew 24:55 JST. This passage appears in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Olivet Discourse of Mt 24-25. The Olivet Discourse is a prominent speech in its own right in the New Testament, and the JST of Matthew 24 is one of only two portions of the JST to be canonized or to be widely available to the Church during the century between publication of the first American printing of the Pearl of Great Price in 1878 and publication of the LDS edition of the King James Bible in 1979.
The fact that this passage is quoted so often on important occasions and in prominent locations in the scriptures suggests that this passage is in its own right very important. The passages above come from all of the standard works: the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. It is also quoted or referenced in: Acts 3:22-23; 1 Ne 22:19-20; D&C 64:35; and D&C 101:90.
Also, throughout the books of Moses, the penalty for many violations of God's laws was to be cut off from among the people. (Gen 17:14; Exo 12:15, 19; Exo 30:33, 38; Exo 31:14; Lev 7:20-21, 25, 27; Lev 17:3-4, 8-10, 13-14; Lev 19:8; Lev 20:2-6, 17; Lev 22:3; Lev 23:29; Num 9:13; Num 15:30-31; Num 19:13, 20).
Penalties imposed by being cut off. The penalties are suffered upon being cut off from among the Lord's people include:
  • Being cut off from the presence of the Lord. In the Lord's covenant with Nephi, the covenant curse is not that the wicked will be cut off from the people of the Lord, but that they will be cut off from the presence of the Lord. (1 Ne 2:21; also see the discussion of this important passage). These two concepts are closely related. If the Lord dwells among his people Zion, then to be cut off from the Lord's people is, in practical effect, to be cut off from the Lord's presence. And being cut off from the presence of the Lord permanently is hell or condemnation. See, for example, Alma 42:7-15 (the plan of redemption is to bring people back into God's presence before being assigned to a permanent condition).
  • Being cut off from the protection of a Davidic king.
  • Deut 23:2: Bastard for ten generations. This verse states that "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord." Some have used this verse to suggest that Phares, the son of Judah and Tamar (Gen 38:12-30) could not have had a descendant assume the throne of Israel any sooner than his tenth generation descendant David (1-Phares, 2-Esrom, 3-Aram, 4-Aminadab, 5- Naasson, 6-Salmon, 7-Boaz, 8-Obed, 9-Jesse 10-David) (Matthew 1:3-6; Luke 3:31-33).

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  • Deut 15:15: Before God.See this post at the BCC blog for discussion of this verse vis-a-vis Ex 21:5-6 regarding the missing "before God" phrase here as possibly a result of the prohibition on cultic ritual practice during the reforms of Josiah.


Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

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