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I7. Listening to Those Who Would Lead Us toward Idolatry.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to listen to those who would lead us toward idolatry.

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

Key Scriptures

Exodus 14:10-14 (Maimonides RN46; Chinuch C500)
As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI and said to Moshe, "Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!" Moshe answered the people, "Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how ADONAI is going to save you. He will do it today - today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again! ADONAI will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!"

Deuteronomy 13:2-4(1-3) (Maimonides RN28; Meir MN22; Chinuch C456)
If a prophet or someone who gets messages while dreaming arises among you and he gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder comes about as he predicted when he said, 'Let's follow other gods, which you have not known; and let us serve them,' you are not to listen to what that prophet or dreamer says. For ADONAI your God is testing you, in order to find out whether you really do love ADONAI your God with all your heart and being.

Deuteronomy 13:7-12(6-11)
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.

Deuteronomy 17:14-16 (Maimonides RN46; Meir MN192; Chinuch C500)
When you have entered the land ADONAI your God is giving you, have taken possession of it and are living there, you may say, 'I want to have a king over me, like all the other nations around me.' In that event, you must appoint as king the one whom ADONAI your God will choose. He must be one of your kinsmen, this king you appoint over you- you are forbidden to appoint a foreigner over you who is not your kinsman. However, he is not to acquire many horses for himself or have the people return to Egypt to obtain more horses, inasmuch as ADONAI told you never to go back that way again.

Deuteronomy 18:9-14
When you enter the land ADONAI your God is giving you, you are not to learn how to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, a diviner, a soothsayer, an enchanter, a sorcerer, a spell-caster, a consulter of ghosts or spirits, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is detestable to ADONAI, and because of these abominations ADONAI your God is driving them out ahead of you. You must be wholehearted with ADONAI your God. For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and diviners; but you, ADONAI your God does not allow you to do this.

Deuteronomy 18:20
But if a prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name which I didn't order him to say, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet must die.

Deuteronomy 28:63-68 (Maimonides RN46; Chinuch C500)
Thus it will come about that just as once ADONAI took joy in seeking to do you good and increase your numbers, so now ADONAI will take joy in causing you to perish and be destroyed, and you will be plucked off the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. ADONAI will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods, made of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. Among these nations you will not find repose, and there will be no rest for the sole of your foot; rather ADONAI will give you there anguish of heart, dimness of eyes and apathy of spirit. Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be afraid night and day and have no assurance that you will stay alive. In the morning you will say, 'Oh, how I wish it were evening!' and in the evening you will say, 'Oh, how I wish it were morning!' - because of the fear overwhelming your heart and the sights your eyes will see. Finally, ADONAI will bring you back in ships to Egypt, the place of which I said to you, 'You will never ever see it again'; and there you will try to sell yourselves as slaves to your enemies, but no one will buy you.

Galatians 1:8-9
But even if we - or, for that matter, an angel from heaven! - were to announce to you some so-called "Good News" contrary to the Good News we did announce to you, let him be under a curse forever! We said it before, and I say it again: if anyone announces "Good News" contrary to what you received, let him be under a curse forever!

Supportive Scriptures

1 Corinthians 10:14
Therefore, my dear friends, run from idolatry!

1 Corinthians 12:1-2
But, brothers, I do not want you to go on being ignorant about the things of the Spirit. You know that when you were pagans, no matter how you felt you were being led, you were being led astray to idols, which can't speak at all.

2 Corinthians 6:16-17
What agreement can there be between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God - as God said, "I will house myself in them ... and I will walk among you. I will be their God, and they will be my people." Therefore ADONAI says, "'Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don't even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you.'

1 John 5:21
Children, guard yourselves against false gods!


The Scriptures are clear that we are not to listen to those who would lead us toward 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. Such idols can be money, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, property, power, security, greed, and others. Consequently, anyone who listens to those who lead toward such things, violates this Mitzvah.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah incorporates two of the classical commentators' mitzvot - to not listen to one who prophesies in the name of an idol, and to not make one's home in the land of Egypt where one can be influenced by Egypt's heresies and idolatrous customs.


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