DEUTERONOMY 17
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1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto Yahweh thy Elohim any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evil favouredness: for that is an abomination unto Yahweh thy elohim.

2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of Yahweh thy Elohim, in transgressing his covenant,

3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

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

Enquired diligently - a duty to root out error and those who harbour it.

'So thou shalt put the evil away from among you' v7.

5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even 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 witness he shall not be put to death.



7 The hands of the witnesses[edim] shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people [kol haAm]. So thou shalt put the evil [harah] away from among you.

There is no doubt about the seriousness of Yahweh's commandments.

When He requires a whole, sound sacrifice, He will not accept anything less. This policy is clearly established at the beginning of the chapter before us. To give Yahweh a perverted sacrifice is "abominable" in His sight. Idolatry (vv. 2-7) is such an offering. And further, "idolatry" is the worship of anything in the place of the Deity. It does not only relate to idols of wood and stone, but even self-aggrandisement, and self-adulation can be a form of idolatry. GEM



8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment [mishpat], between blood and blood [dahm and dahm], between plea and plea [din and din], and between stroke and stroke [nega and nega], being matters of controversy within thy gates [she'arim]: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which Yahweh thy elohim shall choose;

9 And thou shalt come unto the priests [kohanim] the Levites [Levi'im], and unto the judge [Shofet] that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment [devar hamishpat (word of judgment)]:

The Levites

They were "the priests, the Levites", as the Law repeatedly called them, and as such frequently acted as His representatives in Israel in the discharge of duties which, though they were properly the responsibility of the High Priest, were too numerous and too extensive for him to be able to attend to them all. They were the custodians of the written Law (v18; 19 : 17), and the spiritual instructors of the people (Lev. l0 : I I ; Deut. 24 : 8), 

"for the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 2 : 7)ยท

Law and Grace Ch 11


The priest then stood for God as well as man, for Yahweh as weIl as Israel. Aaron, being the epitome of the Priestly People, was thus a paraIlel type to the Sanctuary in which he ministered. Both it and he were dwelling places for God; the Urim and Thummim meant that "his word" was the authentic counsel of God (Num, 27: 21); that he was God's spokesman, God, Himself, as it were, speaking to those who sought judgment.

Gazing therefore upon Aaron as he ministered thus in his official capacity, the discerning Israelite saw himself (since Aaron was his ideal self) as one intended to be in fact what Aaron was in symbol, "God manifest in the flesh".

The thought was truly staggering, almost fantastic. But it was in perfect conformity with the divine intention in the creation of man: this was the purpose of human life for all men, Gentiles as much as Israelites (Gen. 1 : 26). The type in this case merely taught, like so many others, that Israel, as God's firstborn, was offered the privilege first of realizing the destiny of man and of nations in terms of concrete holiness of life.

Law and Grace Ch 5



10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which Yahweh shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:

11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: 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 do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before Yahweh thy elohim, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

14 When thou art come unto the land which Yahweh thy elohim giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that

are about me;

15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom Yahweh thy elohim shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.



16 But he shall not multiply horses [susim] to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt [Mitzrayim], to the end that he should multiply horses [sus]: forasmuch as Yahweh hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.


When the vision of the good land... was obscured by nostalgic memories of the land he had left with its material plenty and attractiveness (Num. I I : 5), he was to realize that he could not revert to them without reverting at the same time to the bondage which went with them. To seek to go back was indeed to do despite to the redemptive work of God.

"Ye shall henceforth return no more that way" : such was the fundamental law.

Law and Grace Ch 3



17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.



18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom [kisei mamlakhto], that he shall write him a copy of this law [mishneh hatorah hazot (copy of this torah)] in a book [sefer] out of that which is before the priests the Levites [kohanim, the Levi'im]:


Significantly, the appointed king was to be God-based, by which he must write his own copy of the Law.

He could not borrow his father's, nor rely upon the scribes to perform this duty for him. The action of writing was to co-ordinate reading with thinking. We can often read automatically and our minds be on some other subject; but writing requires the complete concentration of the mind. Only by such, was the king able to have a heart like unto Yahweh.

It seems that this law was ignored by many of Judah's kings, and certainly by all of Israel's, but not by such as David, who found Yahweh's Law his daily meditation.

One reader comments: One often wonders if all the kings took this to heart. I suspect we know the answer. As you stated, when one writes out the Word, generally one has to understand what they are writing. And that understanding should only deepen with the passage of time - with a daily application of that Word.

While there is no doubt that writing the Word should have more impact than just reading the Word, I have to admit that "simply" reading the Word every day, without fail, no matter what time of the day or night, will allow that reader to develop a better understanding of the Word. Even when one gets older. No matter how much one knows, a daily dose of the Word is the best medicine possible, and should never be neglected. - GEM

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