Deuteronomy
Chapter 17

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1 Thou shalt not sacrifice vnto the Lord thy God any bullocke, or sheepe wherein is blemish, or any euilfauourednes: for that is an abomination vnto the Lord thy God.

2 If there bee found among you within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giueth thee, man or woman that hath wrought wickednes in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his couenant,

3 And hath gone and serued other gods, and worshipped them, either the Sunne, or Moone, or any of the hoste of heauen, which I haue not commanded,

4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and behold, it be true, and the thing certaine, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man, or that woman (which haue committed that wicked thing) vnto thy gates, euen that man, or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones till they die.

6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death, be put to death: but at the mouth of one witnesse he shall not bee put to death.

7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first vpon him, to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people: so thou shalt put the euil away from among you.

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;

9 And thou shalt come vnto the Priests the Leuites, & vnto the Iudge that shal be in those dayes, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of Iudgement.

10 And thou shalt doe according to the sentence which they of that place (which the Lord shall choose) shall shew thee, and thou shalt obserue to do according to all that they enforme thee:

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.

13 And all the people shal heare, and feare, and doe no more presumptuously.

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.

17 Neither shall he multiply wiues to himselfe, that his heart turne not away: neither shall hee greatly multiply to himselfe siluer and gold.

18 And it shall be when he sitteth vpon the Throne of his kingdome, that he shall write him a copy of this Law in a booke, out of that which is before the Priests the Leuites.

19 And it shall be with him, and hee shall reade therein all the dayes of his life, that hee may learne to feare the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law, and these Statutes, to do them:

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.

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Commentary for Deuteronomy 17

All sacrifices to be perfect, Idolaters must be slain. (1-7) Difficult controversies. (8-13) The choice of a king, His duties. (14-20)1-7 No creature which had any blemish was to be offered in sacrifice to God. We are thus called to remember the perfect, pure, and spotless sacrifice of Christ, and reminded to serve God with the best of our abilities, time, and possession, or our pretended obedience will be hateful to him. So great a punishment as death, so remarkable a death as stoning, must be inflicted on the Jewish idolater. Let all who in our day set up idols in their hearts, remember how God punished this crime in Israel.

8-13 Courts of judgment were to be set up in every city. Though their judgment had not the Divine authority of an oracle, it was the judgment of wise, prudent, experienced men, and had the advantage of a Divine promise.

14-20 God himself was in a particular manner Israel's King; and if they set another over them, it was necessary that he should choose the person. Accordingly, when the people desired a king, they applied to Samuel, a prophet of the Lord. In all cases, God's choice, if we can but know it, should direct, determine, and overrule ours. Laws are given for the prince that should be elected. He must carefully avoid every thing that would turn him from God and religion. Riches, honours, and pleasures, are three great hinderances of godliness, (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life,) especially to those in high stations; against these the king is here warned. The king must carefully study the law of God, and make that his rule; and having a copy of the Scriptures of his own writing, must read therein all the days of his life. It is not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, use them daily, as long as we live. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bibles, but will have constant occasion for them, till they come to that world where knowledge and love will be made perfect. The king's writing and reading were as nothing, if he did not practise what he wrote and read. And those who fear God and keep his commandments, will fare the better for it even in this world.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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