Deuteronomy 17

1 You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox, or a sheep, in which is a defect, or anything evil; for that is an abomination to the LORD your God. 2 If there is found amongst you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or woman who does that which is evil in the LORD your God’s sight, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the stars of the sky, which I have not commanded; 4 and you are told, and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire diligently. Behold, if it is true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out that man or that woman, who has done this evil thing, to your gates, even that same man or woman; and you shall stone them to death with stones. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death. At the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall remove the evil from amongst you. 8 If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgement, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses. 9 You shall come to the priests who are Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days. You shall inquire, and they shall give you the verdict. 10 You shall do according to the decisions of the verdict which they shall give you from that place which the LORD chooses. You shall observe to do according to all that they shall teach you: 11 according to the decisions of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgement which they shall tell you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or to the judge, even that man shall die. You shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. 14 When you have come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and possess it, and dwell in it, and say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me”; 15 you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom the LORD your God chooses. You shall set as king over you one from amongst your brothers. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because the LORD has said to you, “You shall not go back that way again.” 17 He shall not multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away. He shall not greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write himself a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. 19 It shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the middle of Israel.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

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