And you shall do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall show you; and you shall observe to do according to all that they inform you:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 17:10-12. Thou shalt do according to the sentence — He speaks, 1st, To the inferior magistrates, who, in the suits here referred to between man and man, were to give sentence in their lower courts, according to the decision of the great council, or of the supreme judge, and were to take care that that sentence should be carried into execution; and, 2d, To private persons, who, in such cases, are required to acquiesce in the judgment of those whom God had made the supreme interpreters of his law, and to conform themselves to the sentence passed. The man that will do presumptuously — If an inferior judge should presume to contradict the sentence of the higher court, given according to God’s law, and would not execute the orders of it; or if a private person should refuse to conform himself to their sentence, that contumacy was to be punished with death, though the matter were ever so small in which the opposition was made. For unless the parties concerned had been strongly bound to obey the definitive sentence of the judge, priest, or great council, in such matters, there would have been no end of strife. And thou shalt put away the evil —
The evil thing, that scandal, that pernicious example.Exodus 18:23-27).
The Supreme court Deuteronomy 17:9 is referred to in very general terms as sitting at the sanctuary Deuteronomy 17:8. "The judge" would no doubt usually be a layman, and thus the court would contain both an ecclesiastical and a civil element. Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 19:4-11 organized his judicial system very closely upon the lines here laid down.
8-13. If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment—In all civil or criminal cases, where there was any doubt or difficulty in giving a decision, the local magistrates were to submit them by reference to the tribunal of the Sanhedrim—the supreme council, which was composed partly of civil and partly of ecclesiastical persons. "The priests and Levites," should rather be "the priests—the Levites"; that is, the Levitical priests, including the high priest, who were members of the legislative assembly; and who, as forming one body, are called "the judge." Their sittings were held in the neighborhood of the sanctuary because in great emergencies the high priest had to consult God by Urim (Nu 27:21). From their judgment there was no appeal; and if a person were so perverse and refractory as to refuse obedience to their sentences, his conduct, as inconsistent with the maintenance of order and good government, was then to be regarded and punished as a capital crime.Thou shalt, i.e. thou shalt pass sentence; for he speaks to the inferior magistrates, as was before noted, who were to give sentence, and came hither to be advised about it.
Thou shalt observe to do. It is very observable that this place doth not speak of all controversies of faith, as if they were to believe every thing which they should teach; but only of some particular matters of practice and strife between man and man, to which it is plainly limited, Deu 17:8. And they are not here commanded to believe, but only to
do, which is thrice repeated.
and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee; not only observe and take notice of what they say, but put it in practice, and not in some things and some circumstances only, but in all and everything they should give them information about relating to the case in question.And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall show thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. tenor] Heb. mouth; see on Deuteronomy 1:26; Deuteronomy 1:43, Deuteronomy 9:23.
observe to do] See on Deuteronomy 5:1.Verses 10-12. - This sentence, being founded on the Law, the suitors were to accept and implicitly obey. If any through pride or arrogance should refuse to accept the interpretation of the Law given by the priests, or to submit to the sentence pronounced by the judge, he was to be regarded as a rebel against God, and to be put to death, that others might be deterred from the like presumption (Deuteronomy 13:11). The sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall show thee; rather, which they shall declare to thee from that place which the Lord shall choose. According to the sentence of the law; literally, according to the mouth of the Law; i.e. according as the Law prescribes, according to the purport of the statute. Numbers 35:30); and the hand of the witnesses was to be against him first to put him to death, i.e., to throw the first stones at him, and all the people were to follow. With regard to the different kinds of idolatry in Deuteronomy 17:3, see Deuteronomy 4:19. (On Deuteronomy 17:4, see Deuteronomy 13:15.) "Bring him out to thy gates," i.e., to one of the gates of the town in which the crime was committed. By the gates we are to understand the open space near the gates, where the judicial proceedings took place (cf. Nehemiah 8:1, Nehemiah 8:3; Job. Deu 29:7), the sentence itself being executed outside the town (cf. Deuteronomy 22:24; Acts 7:58; Hebrews 13:12), just as it had been outside the camp during the journey through the wilderness (Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:36), to indicate the exclusion of the criminal from the congregation, and from fellowship with God. The infliction of punishment in Deuteronomy 17:5. is like that prescribed in Deuteronomy 13:10-11, for those who tempted others to idolatry; with this exception, that the testimony of more than one witness was required before the sentence could be executed, and the witnesses were to be the first to lift up their hands against the criminal to stone him, that they might thereby give a practical proof of the truth of their statement, and their own firm conviction that the condemned was deserving of death, - "a rule which would naturally lead to the supposition that no man would come forward as a witness without the fullest certainty or the greatest depravity" (Schnell, das isr. Recht).
(Note: "He assigned this part to the witnesses, chiefly because there are so many whose tongue is so slippery, not to say good for nothing, that they would boldly strangle a man with their words, when they would not dare to touch him with one of their fingers. It was the best remedy, therefore, that could be tried for restraining such levity, to refuse to admit the testimony of any man who was not ready to execute judgment with his own hand" (Calvin).)
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