Deuteronomy 17
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Detestable Sacrifices

1You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep with any defect or serious flaw, for that is detestable to the LORD your God.

Purge the Idolater

2If a man or woman among you in one of the towns that the LORD your God gives you is found doing evil in the sight of the LORD your God by transgressing His covenant 3and going to worship other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven—which I have forbidden— 4and if it is reported and you hear about it, you must investigate it thoroughly.

If the report is true and such an abomination has happened in Israel, 5you must bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and stone that person to death. 6On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but he shall not be executed on the testimony of a lone witness. 7The hands of the witnesses shall be the first in putting him to death, and after that, the hands of all the people. You must purgea the evil from among you.

Courts of Law

8If a case is too difficult for you to judge, whether the controversy within your gates is regarding bloodshed, lawsuits, or assaults, you must go up to the place the LORD your God will choose. 9You are to go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who presides at that time. Inquire of them, and they will give you a verdict in the case.

10You must abide by the verdict they give you at the place the LORD will choose. Be careful to do everything they instruct you, 11according to the terms of law they give and the verdict they proclaim. Do not turn aside to the right or to the left from the decision they declare to you.

12But the man who acts presumptuously, refusing to listen either to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, or to the judge, must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel. 13Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will no longer behave arrogantly.

Guidelines for a King

14When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15you are to appoint over yourselves the king whom the LORD your God shall choose. Appoint a king from among your brothers; you are not to set over yourselves a foreigner who is not one of your brothers.

16But the king must not acquire many horses for himself or send the people back to Egypt to acquire more horses, for the LORD has told you, ‘You are never to go back that way again.’ 17He must not take many wives for himself, lest his heart go astray. He must not accumulate for himself great amounts of silver and gold.

18When he is seated on his royal throne, he must write for himself a copy of this instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by carefully observing all the words of this instruction and these statutes. 20Then his heart will not be exalted above his countrymen, and he will not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or to the left, in order that he and his sons may reign many years over his kingdom in Israel.

Footnotes:

7 a LXX drive out; also in verse 12

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Deuteronomy 16
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