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I4. Enticing Others to Idolatry.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to entice others to idolatry.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 23:13 (Maimonides RN15; Meir MN14; Chinuch C87)
Pay attention to everything I have said to you; do not invoke the names of other gods or even let them be heard crossing your lips.

Deuteronomy 13:7-16(6-15) (Maimonides RN15, RN16; Meir MN23; Chinuch C462)
If your brother the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or your wife whom you love, or your friend who means as much to you as yourself, secretly tries to entice you to go and serve other gods, which you haven't known, neither you nor your ancestors - gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near or far away from you, anywhere in the world - you are not to consent, and you are not to listen to him; and you must not pity him or spare him; and you may not conceal him. Rather, you must kill him! Your own hand must be the first one on him in putting him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people. You are to stone him to death; because he has tried to draw you away from ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. Then all Isra'el will hear about it and be afraid, so that they will stop doing such wickedness as this among themselves. If you hear it told that in one of your cities which ADONAI your God is giving you to live in, certain scoundrels have sprung up among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city by saying, 'Let's go and serve other gods, which you haven't known,' then you are to investigate the matter, inquiring and searching diligently. If the rumor is true, if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done among you, you must put the inhabitants of that city to death with the sword, destroying it completely with the sword, everything in it, including its livestock.

1 Corinthians 12:2
You know that when you were pagans, no matter how you felt you were being led, you were being led astray to idols, which cant speak at all.'

Revelation 2:14
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people who hold to the teaching of Bil'am, who taught Balak to set a trap for the people of Isra'el, so that they would eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and commit sexual sin.


The Scriptures are clear that we are not to entice anyone into idolatry. Although they refer to physical idols and false gods, Matthew 6:24 and Colossians 3:5 consider anything to be a "god" or an idol that competes with the one true God by becoming man's master or that we put ahead of the one true God in any other way. Such idols can be money, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, property, power, security, greed, and others. Consequently, anyone who entices others to pursue such things is guilty of violating the Scriptures that underlie this Mitzvah.

Classical Commentators

Maimonides, Meir, and HaChinuch published similar mitzvot on the subject of this Mitzvah. Maimonides' RN15, Meir's MN14, and HaChinuch's C87 declare that we must not call any person to idolatry, and Maimonides' RN16, Meir's MN23, and HaChinuch's C462 state that we must not persuade an Israelite to engage in idolatry. Maimonides supports the Scripture's prescribed death penalty for leading an Israelite into idolatry, and states that the victim - the one who was persuaded - should be the one to put the enticer to death. Capital punishment by the governing authorities is not authorized in the New Covenant but, where there is unrepentance, excommunication and expulsion from the community of believers is authorized (see Proverbs 22:10, Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 5:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, and Titus 3:10-11).


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