Today’s passage: Deuteronomy 17
- The final two verses from chapter 16 are included in the link due to the continuity of information leading into chapter 17.
- Those who were guilty of idolatry (worship of false gods) were to be executed. The laws God gave concerning idolatry in this passage prevented temptations on either side of the legal process.
- Not wanting to upset relationships or the apparent peacefulness of a community, the Lord required that people inquire diligently if they hear of idolatry. They were not to overlook it or try to ignore it.
- If some (On the other end of the spectrum) were quick to point the finger and even eager to get someone in trouble, it would be their task to cast the first stone in the execution. The weightiness of that responsibility would cause someone to think first before they accuse.
- No one was to be executed without at least two witnesses giving testimony (a trial).
- If anyone felt there was an injustice that needed to be appealed to the courts (priests or judges), they could make an official appeal. But, they had to abide by the decision of the authority. To refuse to abide by the ruling was punishable by death.
- This punishment seems severe from our cultural perspective, but it certainly would have been effective in preventing people from trying to use the courts to twist justice in their own favor repeatedly.
- God wrote laws concerning kings over Israel, knowing what they would do in the future (1 Samuel 8:4-9)!
- Every king over Israel was to write his own copy of the Law under the supervision of the Levitical priests. They were to have and to know and to follow the law.
- The kings were not to have multiple wives or multitudes of wealth, as kings often did.
Questions to consider:
- Why were these laws necessary? What would following them accomplish for Israel? What would violating them accomplish in Israel? How does God’s knowledge Israel would not keep His laws remind us of His eternal plan for the cross of Christ?
- How can you see the wisdom of God in the laws? How can you see His pursuit of the joy, life and health of the people? How can you see Him protecting them from darkness and death?
- How did Israel’s kings do at keeping these laws? How did that continue to impact the nation?