“If there is found among you a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord …” (v2). Ancient Israel was not like a modern nation; it was a religious community of related tribes, governed by God through priests (v9) until they chose a king. The whole community was part of God’s covenant with His people, and therefore an idol-worshipper was treated as a covenant-breaker who would spread chaos and confusion to the whole nation (v2-5).
“You shall never return that way again” (v16). The Scriptures take sin and idolatry seriously because God doesn’t want us to return to slavery; our new life is too precious to lose.