Deuteronomy Chapter 17 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)
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1 The things sacrificed must bee sound. 2 Idolaters must bee slaine. 8 Hard controuersies are to bee determined by the Priests and Iudges. 12 The contemner of that Determination must die. 14 The election, 16 and duetie of a King.
8 ¶ If there arise a matter too hard for thee in iudgement, betweene blood and blood, betweene plea and plea, and betweene stroke and stroke, being matters of controuersie within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee vp into the place, which the Lord thy God shall choose;
11 According to the sentence of the Law which they shall teach thee, and according to the Iudgement which they shall tell thee thou shalt doe: thou shalt not decline from the Sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
12 And the man that will doe presumptuously, and will not hearken vnto the Priest (that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God) or vnto the Iudge, euen that man shall die, and thou shalt put away the euill from Israel.12
14 ¶ When thou art come vnto the land which the Lord thy God giueth thee, and shalt possesse it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a King ouer mee, like as all the nations that are about me:
15 Thou shalt in any wise set him King ouer thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose. One from among thy brethren shalt thou set King ouer thee: thou mayest not set a stranger ouer thee, which is not thy brother.
16 But he shall not multiply horses to himselfe, nor cause the people to returne to Egypt, to the ende that hee should multiply horses: for as much as the Lord hath said vnto you, Yee shall hencefoorth returne no more that way.
20 That his heart bee not lifted vp aboue his brethren, and that hee turne not aside from the Commandement, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that hee may prolong his dayes in his kingdome, hee, and his children in the midst of Israel.
View Wesley's Notes for Deuteronomy Chapter 17
17:1 Bullock or sheep - Either greater or smaller sacrifices, all being comprehended under the two most eminent kinds.
17:2 ln transressing his covenant - That is, in idolatry, as it is explained #De 17:3|, which is called a transgression of God's covenant made with Israel, both because it is a breach of their faith given to God and of that law which they covenanted to keep; and because it is a dissolution of that matrimonial covenant with God, a renouncing of God and his worship, and a chusing other Gods.
17:3 The host of heaven - Those glorious creatures, which are to be admired as the wonderful works of God, but not to be set up in God's stead. By condemning the most specious of all idolaters, he intimates, how absurd a thing it is to worship stocks and stones, the works of men's hands. I have not commanded - That is, I have forbidden. Such negative expressions are emphatical.
17:6 Witnesses - Namely, credible and competent witnesses. The Jews rejected the testimonies of children, women, servants, familiar friends or enemies, persons of dissolute lives or evil fame.
17:7 First upon him - God thus ordered it, for the caution of witnesses, that, if they had thro' malice or wrath accused him falsely, they might now be afraid to imbrue their hands in innocent blood; and for the security and satisfaction of the people in the execution of this punishment.
17:8 For thee - He speaks to the inferior magistrates, who were erected in several cities. If thou hast not skill to determine, between blood and blood - That is, in capital causes. Between plea and plea - In civil causes, about words or estates. Between stroke and stroke - In criminal causes, concerning blows, or wounds inflicted by one man upon another. Matters of controversy - That is, such things being doubtful, and the magistrates divided in their opinions about it. Chuse - Namely to set up his tabernacle, or temple there; because there was the abode, both of their sanhedrim, which was constituted of priests and civil magistrates, and of the high - priests, who were to consult God by Urim, in matters which could not be decided otherwise.
17:9 Unto the priests - That is, unto the great council, which consisted chiefly of the priests and Levites, as being the best expositors of the laws of God, by which all those controversies were to be decided. And the high - priest was commonly one of that number, understood here under the priests, whereof be was the chief. The judge - Probably the high - priest, to whom it belonged to determine, some at least, of those controversies, and to expound the law of God. And he may be distinctly named, tho' he be one of the priests, because of his eminency, and to shew that amongst the priests, he especially was to be consulted in such cases. The sentence of judgment - Heb. The word, or matter of judgement, that is, the true state of the cause, and what judgment or sentence ought to be given in it.
17:10 Thou - Thou shalt pass sentence: he speaks to the inferior magistrates; who were to give sentence, and came hither to be advised about it.
17:11 Thou shalt do - In particular suits between man and man, altho' the judge be hereby confined to his rule in giving the sentence, yet it seems but fit and reasonable that people should be bound simply to acquiesce in the sentence of their last and highest judge, or else there would have been no end of strife.
17:12 Do presumptuously - That will proudly and obstinately oppose the sentence given against him. The evil - The evil thing, that scandal, that pernicious example.
17:13 When thou shalt - He only foresees and foretells what they would do, but doth not approve of it. Yea when they did this thing for this very reason, he declares his utter dislike of it, #1Sam 8:7|.
17:15 Thy God shall chuse - Approve of, or appoint. So it was in Saul and David. God reserved to himself the nomination both of the family, and of the person. Thy brethren - Of the same nation and religion; because such a person was most likely to maintain true religion, and to rule with righteousness, gentleness, and kindness to his subjects; and that he might be a fit type of Christ their supreme king, who was to be one of their brethren.
17:16 He shall not multiply horses - Tho' he might have horses for his own use, yet he was not to have many horses for his officers and guard, much less for war, lest he should trust in them. The multiplying horses is also forbidden, lest it should raise too great a correspondence with Egypt which furnished Canaan with them. The Lord hath said - The Lord hath now said to me, and I by his command declare it to you. Ye shall no more return that way - Into Egypt, lest ye be again infected with her idolatries.
17:17 Turn away - From God and his law.
17:18 He shall write - With his own hand, as the Jews say. Out of that - Out of the original, which was carefully kept by the priests in the sanctuary, that it might be a perfect copy, and that it might have the greater influence upon him, coming to him as from the hand and presence of God.
17:19 All the days of his life - 'Tis not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, yea, use them daily. Our souls must have constant meals of that manna, which if well digested, will afford them true nourishment and strength.
17:20 If his heart be not lifted up - He intimates, that the scriptures diligently read, are a powerful means to keep him humble, because they shew him in that, tho' a king, he is subject to an higher monarch, to whom he must give an account of all his administrations, and receive from him his sentence agreeable to their quality, which is sufficient to abate the pride of the haughtiest person in the world.
* Courtesy of Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
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