Why did God have to warn his people about sacrificing their own children? (12:31)--” 31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
ESV - 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
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As implied in the question, it would seem so intuitively obvious that people should not sacrifice their own children that God should not have even had to mention it to Israel. However, God was well aware of the tendency of the Israelites to want to "be like other nations" (as occurred when they asked Samuel to appoint a king over them, rather than being ruled directly by God (1 Samuel 8:4-22)) -- even when that meant adopting practices and beliefs of those pagan nations that God had specifically forbidden, and regardless of how abhorrent those practices (such as the sacrificing of children) might be. Therefore, God gave the specific command against child sacrifice to the Israelites to leave them with no excuse (such as ignorance) for such actions, and to fully justify His punishment of the nation if they would disobey Him and adopt those practices anyway.
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