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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 17

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1You must not sacrifice to the LORD your God a bull or sheep that has any defect or serious blemish, for that would be abominable to the LORD your God.

2Should there be found among you, in any of the settlements which the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is wrong in the eyes of the LORD your God, by violating his covenant 3and going to serve other gods, prostrating himself before them or before the sun and moon and all the host of heaven—a thing that I have forbidden—4then, if it is reported to you or you hear of it, make careful enquiry. If the report proves to be true, and it is confirmed that this abominable thing has been done in Israel, 5then bring the man or woman who has done this wicked deed to the gate of the town a 17:5 town: so Gk; Heb. adds the man or the woman. to be stoned to death. 6Sentence of death is to be carried out on the testimony of two or of three witnesses: no one must be put to death on the testimony of a single witness. 7The first stones are to be thrown by the witnesses and then all the people must follow; so you will get rid of the wickedness in your midst.

8When the issue in any lawsuit that is disputed in your b 17:8 in your courts: lit. in your gates. courts is beyond your competence, whether it be a case of accidental or premeditated homicide, civil rights, or personal injury, then resort without delay to the place which the LORD your God will choose. 9Appear before the levitical priests or the judge then in office and seek guidance; they will give you the verdict. 10Act on the pronouncement which they make from the place chosen by the LORD, and see that you carry out all their instructions. 11Act on the instruction they give you, or on the precedent they cite; do not deviate from the decision they hand down to you, either to right or to left. 12Anyone who presumes to reject the decision either of the priest ministering there to the LORD your God, or of the judge, is to be put to death; thus you will purge Israel of wickedness. 13Then all the people when they hear of it will be afraid, and never again show such presumption.

14After you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and have occupied it and settled there, if you then say, ‘Let us appoint a king over us, as all the surrounding nations do,’ 15you must appoint as king the man whom the LORD your God will choose. You must appoint over you a man of your own people; you must not appoint a foreigner, one who is not of your own people. 16He must not acquire numerous horses, or send men to Egypt to obtain more horses, for the LORD said to you: ‘You are never to go back that way.’ 17Your king must not acquire numerous wives and so be led astray, or amass for himself silver and gold in great quantities.

18When he has ascended the throne of the kingdom, he is to make a copy of this law in a book at the dictation of the levitical priests. 19He is to have it by him and read from it all his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and keep all the words of this law and observe these statutes. 20Thus he will avoid alienation from his fellow-countrymen through pride, and not deviate from these commandments to right or to left; then he and his sons will reign long in Israel.

Notes:

a 17:5 town: so Gk; Heb. adds the man or the woman.

b 17:8 in your courts: lit. in your gates.

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