Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 17

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: Principles for Godly Living (c 5-28)
Message: Laws for Ruling the Nation (v 1-20)

Deuteronomy 17 Commentary

(17:1) Offering God Our Best - The fact that this command was included probably indicates that some Israelites were trying to get away with sacrificing imperfect or deformed animals to God. Then, as now, it is both a challenge and a sacrifice to offer God our best, including the first part of what we earn. Shortchanging God is always tempting because we have so many wants and needs competing for our money. But the way we use our money and other resources reveals our true priorities, which reveal the conditions of our hearts. Giving God our leftovers shows that he is not first in our lives. If you want an accurate measurement of where God stands in your priority list, you need to look no further than your bank statement. It will clearly show your priorities. Are you giving God the honor of having first claim on your money, time, and talents?

(17:6-7) Two or Three Witnesses - A person was not put to death on the testimony of only one witness. On the witness of two or three, a person could be condemned and then sentenced to death by stoning. The condemned person would be taken outside the city gates, and the witnesses would be the first to throw heavy stones down on him or her. Bystanders would then pelt the dying person with stones. This system would "put the evil away" by putting idolaters to death. At the same time, it would protect the rights of accused persons in two ways. First, by requiring several witnesses, it would prevent any angry individual from "bearing false witness." Second, by requiring the accusers to throw the first stones, it would make them think twice about accusing unjustly because they would be personally responsible for finishing what they had started.

(17:14-20) God is Our King - God was not encouraging Israel to appoint a king to rule their nation. He was actually against the idea because he was their King and wanted the people to obey and follow him. But God knew that the people would one day demand a king for selfish reasons-they would want to be like the nations around them (1 Samuel 8). If they insisted on having a king, he wanted to make sure they chose the right person. That is why he included these instructions for the people's benefit as they chose their king and for the king himself as he sought to lead the nation according to God's laws.

(17-16-17)  Israel's kings did not heed this warning, and their behavior led to their downfall. Solomon had everything going for him, but when he became rich, he built up a large army and married many wives. Then his heart turned from God (1 Kings 11). Out of Solomon's sin came Israel's disobedience, division, and captivity 17-18-20 The king was to be a man of God's Word. He was to (1) make for himself a copy of the law, (2) keep it with him all the time, (3) read from it every day, and (4) obey it completely. Through this process he would learn respect for God, keep himself from thinking he was more important than others, and avoid neglecting God in times of prosperity. We can't know what God wants except through his Word, and his Word won't affect our lives unless we read and think about it regularly. With the abundant availability of the Bible today, we can easily gain access to the ultimate source of wisdom. It would be foolish of us to miss our opportunity to learn from it.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Closed Doors

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 17 and we see Moses continues to give Principles to teach this new generation of Israel. In this second giving of the Law Moses has taught a Review of the 10 commandments, Second, to Love God and obey His commandments. The third principal of the Laws for Proper Worship and the fourth principle we reviewing currently, The Laws for ruling the nation. Yesterday we learned Biblical Leadership and today Guidelines for the King. God did not want Israel to have a king because He was their King. Stubborn though, Israel wanted a human king just as the other nations so with their constant begging God gave them what they wanted even though it was not His will for them. In upcoming days you will see the error of their ways. In making application we see that if we persistently ask God for things that are not his will He will give you over to your request to teach you the error of your way and showing you who God truly is. It reminds me of when I was a young boy wanting to eat a banana split at dairy queen after a ball game. I asked and asked my parents over and over each time we went to receive one but they knew it was too much and would make me sick. After much persistence they bought me one and sure enough I threw it up. The moral of the story is to not try to open doors that God closes. Many reading this note will be seeking God's Will and God will shut doors that we want opened and if we are not carful we miss the true will of God for our lives. God knows what is needed for us and will keep us from things that get us off tract just as that banana split was for me as a child. We must trust God when He closes a door to not pry it open lest we see the error of our ways. How about you? Do you see this principal in your life? Let us learn from our text today and not try to pry open doors God closes.


Deuteronomy 17

Deuteronomy 17

 1Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

 2If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,

 3And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

 4And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

 5Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

 6At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

 7The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

 8If 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;

 9And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment:

 10And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:

 11According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.

 12And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

 13And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.

 14When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

 15Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

 16But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

 17Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

 18And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

 20That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.