Deuteronomy – Chapter 17: Law Courts

We’re chugging along through Deuteronomy.  Today’s chapter, Chapter 17, takes a look at law courts.

“Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.” – Deuteronomy 17:1

God only likes those things that are perfect!  One tiny blemish and you will displease him in your sacrifice.  Your heart may be in it, but if that sheep has a tiny patch of hair missing, don’t you dare sacrifice it for fear of pissing off God.

“If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.” – Deuteronomy 17:4-5

Doing evil in the eyes of the Lord is punishable by stoning to death.  What is evil?  As we’ve seen it could be anything as bad as murder to as slight as sacrificing an animal with a slight defect.  Regardless, the punishment is death.

“On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” – Deuteronomy 17:6

Two witnesses is all it takes for you to be put to death.  Physical evidence required?  Nope.  Just two people who don’t like you, speaking against you, and you can be put to death for doing something you may not have done.

“If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults—take them to the place the Lord your God will choose.  Go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict.” – Deuteronomy 17:8-9

The priests are in charge of judging the most heinous accusations?  Seriously?  I’m sure that will end well.  Priests are perfect right?  It’s not as if we see priests today raping little boys.

“Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God is to be put to death.” – Deuteronomy 17:12

Disagree with the priests?  Death to you!!!  The next several verses discuss choosing a king to reside over each land the Israelites occupy.

“He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” – Deuteronomy 17:17

How dare those sneaky women trick a man!  If a king isn’t able to rule perfectly, it must be the woman’s fault!  More misogyny.

“It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left.” – Deuteronomy 17:19-20

Here is something I agree with and a bit of sense coming from God.  God is correct in declaring that a king should not consider himself better than his fellow people.  The king is one of the people, not above the people.  The same goes for all leaders in today’s world.

That concludes Deuteronomy 17.  It’s a pretty scary world to live in if it only takes the word of two others and no evidence to condemn you to death.  Yikes!  We also learn that women can corrupt their manly kings.  Is a man really a rightful king if he blames his wife for his wrongdoings?  In the bible, yes.  Women are always to blame.  With that I will leave you.  J

Coming Soon:  Deuteronomy – Chapter 18:  Offerings for Priests and Levites

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