Deuteronomy 17:8
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
"Suppose a case arises in a local court that is too hard for you to decide--for instance, whether someone is guilty of murder or only of manslaughter, or a difficult lawsuit, or a case involving different kinds of assault. Take such legal cases to the place the LORD your God will choose,

English Standard Version
“If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns that is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the LORD your God will choose.

Berean Study Bible
If 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.

New American Standard Bible
"If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

King James Bible
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;

Christian Standard Bible
"If a case is too difficult for you--concerning bloodshed, lawsuits, or assaults--cases disputed at your city gates, then go up to the place the LORD your God chooses.

Good News Translation
"It may be that some cases will be too difficult for the local judges to decide, such as certain cases of property rights or of bodily injury or those cases that involve a distinction between murder and manslaughter. When this happens, go to the one place of worship chosen by the LORD your God,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If a case is too difficult for you--concerning bloodshed, lawsuits, or assaults--cases disputed at your gates, you must go up to the place the LORD your God chooses.

International Standard Version
"If a case is too difficult for you to decide with respect to bloodshed, civil claims, assault and battery, or other matters of dispute within your courts, bring it to the place that the LORD your God will choose.

NET Bible
If a matter is too difficult for you to judge--bloodshed, legal claim, or assault--matters of controversy in your villages--you must leave there and go up to the place the LORD your God chooses.

New Heart English Bible
If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which the LORD your God shall choose;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
There may be a case that is too hard for you to decide. It may involve murder, assault, or a dispute-any case which may be brought to court in your cities. Take this case to the place that the LORD your God will choose.

JPS Tanakh 1917
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose.

New American Standard 1977
“If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If a matter arises that is too difficult for thee in judgment between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates, then thou shalt arise and go up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose,

King James 2000 Bible
If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment, between bloodsheds, between legal rights, and between assaults, being matters of controversy within your gates: then shall you arise, and get you up into the place which the LORD your God shall choose;

American King James Version
If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates: then shall you arise, and get you up into the place which the LORD your God shall choose;

American Standard Version
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose;

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And if a matter shall be too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, and between cause and cause, and between stroke and stroke, and between contradiction and contradiction, matters of judgment in your cities;

Douay-Rheims Bible
If thou perceive that there be among you a hard and doubtful matter in judgment between blood and blood, cause and cause, leprosy and leprosy: and thou see that the words of the judges within thy gates do vary: arise, and go up to the place, which the Lord thy God shall choose.

Darby Bible Translation
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between cause and cause, and between stroke and stroke, matters of controversy within thy gates, then shalt thou arise, and go up to the place which Jehovah thy God will choose.

English Revised Version
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;

Webster's Bible Translation
If there shall arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and go up to the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;

World English Bible
If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose;

Young's Literal Translation
'When anything is too hard for thee for judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke -- matters of strife within thy gates -- then thou hast risen, and gone up unto the place on which Jehovah thy God doth fix,
Study Bible
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.…
Cross References
Exodus 18:15
"Because the people come to me to inquire of God," Moses replied.

Exodus 22:8
If the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges to determine whether he has taken his neighbor's property.

Deuteronomy 12:5
Instead, you must seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to establish as a dwelling for His Name, and there you must go.

Deuteronomy 12:11
then the LORD your God will choose a dwelling for His Name. And there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice offerings you vow to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 25:1
If there is a dispute between men, they are to go to court to be judged, so that the innocent may be acquitted and the guilty condemned.

2 Chronicles 19:10
For every dispute that comes before you from your brothers who dwell in their cities--whether of bloodshed or offenses against the law, commandment, statutes, or judgments--you are to warn them, so that they will not incur guilt before the LORD and wrath will not come upon you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not incur guilt.

Psalm 122:5
For there the thrones of judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David.

Ezekiel 44:24
In any dispute, they shall officiate as judges and judge according to My ordinances. They must observe My laws and statutes regarding all My appointed feasts, and they must keep My Sabbaths holy.

Haggai 2:11
"This is what the LORD of Hosts says: 'Ask the priests for a ruling.

Malachi 2:7
For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the LORD of Hosts."

Treasury of Scripture

If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates: then shall you arise, and get you up into the place which the LORD your God shall choose;

arise

Deuteronomy 1:17
Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

Exodus 18:26
And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

1 Kings 3:16-28
Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him…

between blood

Deuteronomy 19:4,10,11
And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past; …

Exodus 21:12-14,20,22,28
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death…

Exodus 22:2
If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.

get thee up

Deuteronomy 12:5
But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

Deuteronomy 19:17
Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;

Psalm 122:4,5
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD…







Lexicon
If
כִּ֣י (kî)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

a case
דָבָ֜ר (ḏā·ḇār)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1697: A word, a matter, thing, a cause

is too difficult
יִפָּלֵא֩ (yip·pā·lê)
Verb - Nifal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6381: To separate, distinguish, to be, great, difficult, wonderful

for you
מִמְּךָ֨ (mim·mə·ḵā)
Preposition | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4480: A part of, from, out of

to judge,
לַמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט (lam·miš·pāṭ)
Preposition-l, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4941: A verdict, a sentence, formal decree, divine law, penalty, justice, privilege, style

whether
דִּבְרֵ֥י (diḇ·rê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 1697: A word, a matter, thing, a cause

the controversy
רִיבֹ֖ת (rî·ḇōṯ)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 7379: Strife, dispute

within your gates
בִּשְׁעָרֶ֑יךָ (biš·‘ā·re·ḵā)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine plural construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8179: An opening, door, gate

is regarding
בֵּֽין־ (bên-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 996: An interval, space between

bloodshed,
דָּ֨ם ׀ (dām)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1818: Blood, of man, an animal, the juice of the grape, bloodshed

lawsuits,
דִּ֣ין (dîn)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1779: Judgement, strife

or assaults,
נֶ֙גַע֙ (ne·ḡa‘)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5061: Mark -- a blow, a spot

you must go up
וְעָלִ֔יתָ (wə·‘ā·lî·ṯā)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5927: To ascend, in, actively

to
אֶל־ (’el-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 413: Near, with, among, to

the place
הַמָּק֔וֹם (ham·mā·qō·wm)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4725: A standing, a spot, a condition

the LORD
יְהוָ֥ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

your God
אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ (’ĕ·lō·he·ḵā)
Noun - masculine plural construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

will choose.
יִבְחַ֛ר (yiḇ·ḥar)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 977: To try, select
Deuteronomy 17:8-20. THE SUPREMACY IN ISRAEL OF THE WRITTEN LAW OF GOD.

(8) If there arise a matter too hard for thee.--Literally, too wonderful.

Between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke.--The "blood" and the "plea" seem to indicate criminal and civil cases. The word "stroke" is the common word for "plague" in the Pentateuch and elsewhere. It may possibly refer to cases of ceremonial purity or impurity, especially in reference to disease. There is an evident allusion to this law in the history of King Jehoshaphat (2Chronicles 19:8-10). There the words are "between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments." The questions are (1) between two contending parties; (2) between the law as a general rule and its application to particular duties, institutions and requirements. Other passages in the same chapter recall Deuteronomy 16:18-20.

Matters of controversy within thy gates--i.e., in the local courts of their several cities. The "gate" was the place of judgment. In 2Chronicles 19:10, the phrase is more clearly expressed, thus, "what cause soever shall come unto you of your brethren that dwell in their cities."

Into the place which the Lord thy God shall choose.--This implies what was afterwards ordered before Moses' death, that the standard copy of the Law would be kept beside the Ark of the Covenant, in the sacred place (Deuteronomy 31:26).

(9) Thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites--i.e., "the priests that come of the tribe of Levi" (Rashi). Some modern critics say the writer of Deuteronomy knew no distinction between priests and Levites; but see above on Deuteronomy 11:6, and also the notes on Deuteronomy 31:9; Deuteronomy 31:25.

The priests, the Levites, and . . . the judge.--The order agrees exactly with the constitution which Moses left behind him at his death. This has been already indicated in Numbers 27:15-21. Joshua was to "stand before Eleazar." Eleazar was to ask counsel from Jehovah, and at his word Joshua and all the people were to go in and out. The order, when the two are mentioned together in the Book of Joshua, is invariably "Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun," not vice versa. The priests are the custodians of the Law; the judge or chief magistrate is the executor of it. (Comp. Malachi 2:7-8.) The principle is not altered by the substitution of a king for the judge, or by the addition of a prophet.

That shall be in those days.--Rashi and the New Testament are curiously agreed in the application of this part of the commandment. Our Lord, in Matthew 23:2-3, says of the Scribes and Pharisees (the judges of His day) that they "sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do." Rashi says here, "Although he is not like the rest of the judges that were before him, thou must hearken to him. There is no judge for thee except the judge that is in thy days."

(9-11) And they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment . . . According to the sentence of the law . . . thou shalt do.--This passage should be carefully noted. The function of the priest and judge was to show, inform, teach, and tell the applicant the sentence of the law, i.e., of the written law. The four English verbs have only three equivalents in Hebrew, viz., tell, teach and say. It is not sufficiently observed that this defines the relation between the Church and the Bible from the time the Law (which was the germ of the Bible) was delivered to the Church, and that the relation between the Church and the Bible is the same to this day. The only authority wherewith the Church (of Israel, or of Christ) can "bind" or "loose," is the written Law of God. The binding (or forbidding) and loosing (or permitting) of the Rabbis--the authority which our Lord committed to His Church--was only the application of His written word. The Rabbis acknowledge this from one end of the Talmud to the other by the appeal to Scripture which is made in every page, sometimes in almost every line. The application is often strained or fanciful; but that does not alter the principle. The written word is the chain that binds. Nor does the varying relation between the executive and legislative authority alter the principle. Where the law of Jehovah is the law of the land, death may be the penalty of disobedience. Where it is only the law of the Christian community, exclusion may be the extreme penalty that is possible. But still the relation between the written word and the ministers of the Church is the same. The Church is the "witness and keeper of Holy Writ," and can only shew from thence the sentence of judgment. The sentence is an application of the law, not a mere invention of the authorities themselves; and it would be easy to show from history how every misapplication of the Divine code brought with it surely, sooner or later, its own refutation, and the overthrow of the unfaithful government. The prophets not seldom took the place of tribunes of the people in cases of oppression. No one lifted up a more distinct protest from the law itself against the misapplication of the law than the Prophet like unto Moses, who formally acknowledged the authority of them that sat in Moses' seat.[3]

[3] Manifestly, when copies of the Law were scarce, and when a good deal of it, like this Book of Deuteronomy, was general, and even prophetic, a board of authorised interpreters, or appliers, of the law to matters of detail was an absolute necessity. (See Introduction to Deuteronomy for more on this head.)

(12) And the man that will do presumptuously . . . shall die.--This word "presumptuously" occurs for the first time in this place. (See also Deuteronomy 18:22.) It is connected with "pride," and denotes a proud self-assertion against the law. The penalty of death arises necessarily out of the theocracy. If God is the king of the nation, rebellion against His law is treason, and if it be proud and wilful rebellion, the penalty of death is only what we should expect to see inflicted. As soon as the law of Jehovah is in any way separated from the law of the land, this state of things may be altered. It is remarkable that in Ezra's commission from Artaxerxes we find permission to identify the law of Jehovah with the law of the Persian empire to the full extent of this precept, "Whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment" (Ezra 7:25-26.) But such penalties, except in a theocratic government, are obviously out of place in matters connected with religion.

Verses 8-13. - So long as Moses was with the people, they had in him one to whom, in the last resort, cases might be brought for decision which were found too difficult for the ordinary judges (Exodus 18:19-26). But, as he was not to be always with them, it was needful to provide a supreme court, to which such cases might be carried when they could no longer be decided by him; and such a court is here appointed to be held at the sanctuary. Verse 8. - A matter too hard for thee; literally, too marvelous; something extraordinary, and which could not be decided by the ordinary rules of the judicature. Between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke; i.e. in cases where blood had been shed and death had ensued, either accidentally or from murderous intent (cf. Exodus 21:13, etc.; Numbers 35:9, etc.); in cases of disputed rights and claims (cf. 2 Chronicles 19:10); and in cases where corporeal injury had been suffered, whether in strife or from assault (Exodus 21:18, etc.); and, in general, wherever matters of controversy - disputes as to what was lawful and right, might arise in their towns and villages. In all such cases recourse was to be had to the court at the sanctuary - "to the priests the Levites," i.e. the priests who were of the tribe of Levi, and to the judge presiding there - the lay judge associated with the high priest as president (see Oehler, in Herzog's 'Encyclop.,' vol. 5. p. 58). It is not intended by this that an appeal was to lie from the lower court to the higher, or that the parties in a suit might carry it at once to the supreme judge; the meaning rather is that, when the ordinary judges found a case too difficult for them to deal with, they were themselves to transmit it to the supreme court for decision. 17:8-13 Courts of judgment were to be set up in every city. Though their judgment had not the Divine authority of an oracle, it was the judgment of wise, prudent, experienced men, and had the advantage of a Divine promise.
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