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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 17

 

 

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 17:1 Thou 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.

Ver. 1. Thou shalt not sacrifice.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 22:20"}


Verse 2

Deuteronomy 17:2 If 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,

Ver. 2. That hath wrought wickedness.] Idolatry is wickedness with a witness. Such was the venom of the Israelitish idolatry, that the brazen serpent stung worse than the fiery. Oh that the Lord, as he hath "revealed" that wicked one, so that he would at length "consume him with the spirit of his mouth," [2 Thessalonians 2:8] and dung his vineyard with the dead carcass of that wild boar of the forest! He can as easily blast an oak as trample a mushroom. Fiat, fiat.


Verse 4

Deuteronomy 17:4 And 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:

Ver. 4. And it be told thee.] {See Trapp on "Deuteronomy 13:12"}

And inquired diligently.] Men must be "swift to hear, slow to speak," that is, to censure, or pass sentence. Amongst the Athenians an indictment of any crime was but αιτια: the evidence and conviction made it ελεγχος: the sentence αδικημα. Athanasius passeth for a sacrilegious person, a profane wretch, a bloody persecutor, a blasphemer of God, &c., and was so condemned before he was heard by fourscore bishops in that Pseudosynodus Sardicensis. Sunt quidem in Ecclesia Catholica plurimi mali; sed ex haereticis, nullus est bonus, says Bellarmine: There be many bad men Papists, but not one good to be found among Protestants. The Catholics follow the Bible, saith Hill (a) in his "Quartern of Reasons," but the Protestants force the Bible to follow them; yea, their condemnation is so expressly set down in their own Bibles, saith another Popeling, and is so clear to all the world, that nothing more needs hereto, than that they know to read, and have their eyes in their heads at the opening of their Bible. (b) By the shooting of which bolt, you may easily guess at the archer.


Verse 5

Deuteronomy 17:5 Then 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.

Ver. 7. Thou shalt put the evil.] Both person and thing. [1 Corinthians 5:13]


Verse 6

Deuteronomy 17:6 At 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.

Ver. 8. Too hard for thee in judgment,] i.e., For thee, O judge, who art thereupon to consult with the priests, and by them to be informed of the true sense and meaning of God’s law. For apices iuris non sunt ius. And the Rabbins have a saying, Nulla est obiectio in Lege, quae non habet solutionem in latere. Now the priest’s lips should preserve knowledge, and the law should be sought at his mouth; the high priest also, in some cases, was to inquire, and answer after the judgment of Urim, before the Lord. [Numbers 27:21] This the Pope cannot do, and therefore cannot claim the final determination of all causes and controversies, though his parasites tell him,

Oraclis vocis mundi moderaris habenas:

Et meritb in terris diceris esse Deus. ”


Verse 7

Deuteronomy 17:7 The 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.

Ver. 9. And unto the judge,] i.e., The council of judges, the Synedrion, [2 Chronicles 19:8] consisting partly of priests and partly of civil magistrates. Amongst the Turks at this day their judges are ever ecclesiastical persons; whereby both orders joined, give reputation one to another and maintenance; for these places of judicature are the only preferment of the priesthood. (a)


Verse 8

Deuteronomy 17:8 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;

Ver. 10. According to all that they inform thee,] viz., Agreeable to the sentence of the law. [Deuteronomy 17:11] The Jews from this text foolishly seek footing for their traditions, which they so much magnify. [Matthew 15:1-2]


Verse 14

Deuteronomy 17:14 When 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;

Ver. 14. And shalt say, I will set a king.] A king then they might choose, so they did it orderly. Zuinglius in ea fuit sententia, regna omnia esse electiva, nulla propre successiva et haereditaria. In quo non negamus eum errasse in facto, ut loquuntur. (a)


Verse 15

Deuteronomy 17:15 Thou 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.

Ver. 15. Whom the Lord shall choose.] As he did Saul, but especially David and his progeny, types of Christ. [Psalms 2:6]


Verse 16

Deuteronomy 17:16 But 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.

Ver. 16. He shall not multiply horses.] Lest he be held as our Henry III was, Regni dilapidator, the royal spendthrift.

The Lord hath said.] Not in so many words, but by consequence, when he showed his displeasure against such as would have made them a captain to go back to Egypt. [Numbers 14:4; Numbers 14:11]


Verse 17

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

Ver. 17. Silver and gold.] Lest his exactors receive from his subjects no less sums of curses than of coin; and lest he gather money, the sinews of war, but lose the people’s affection, the joints of peace, as our King John did.


Verse 18

Deuteronomy 17:18 And 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:

Ver. 18. He shall write him a copy.] The Jews say, that if printing had been found out then, yet was the king bound to write two copies of the law with his own hand, one to keep in the treasury, and another to carry about him. This book of God was David’s delight. [Psalms 119:70] Alphonsus, king of Aragon, is reported to have read over the Bible fourteen times, with Lyra’s notes upon it. Charles the Wise, of France, not only caused the Bible to be translated into French, as our King Alfred translated the Psalter himself into his Saxon tongue, but was also very studious in the Holy Scripture. And that peerless princess, Queen Elizabeth, as she passed in triumphal state through the streets of London after her coronation, when the Bible was presented to her at the little conduit in Cheapside, received the same with both her hands, and kissing it, laid it to her breasts, saying, that the same had ever been her chiefest delight, and should be the rule whereby she meant to frame her government. (a)


Verse 19

Deuteronomy 17:19 And 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:

Ver. 19. And it shall be with him.] As his Vade-mecum, his manual, his running library, the man of his counsel. Luther said, he would not live in Paradise without the Bible, as with it he could easily live in hell itself. (a)


Verse 20

Deuteronomy 17:20 That 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.

Ver. 20. That his heart be not lifted up.] That his good and his blood rise not together as that king of Tyre’s did, [Ezekiel 28:2] and that Lucifer, son of the morning. [Isaiah 14:12-13] See my "Commonplace of Arrogancy." Of Caligula it is said, that there never was a better servant, or a worse lord. Vespasian is said to be the only man that became better by the empire. The most of the emperors grew so insolent, that they got nothing by their preferment, nisi ut citius interficerentur, but to be sooner slain.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 17:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-17.html. 1865-1868.

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