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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 17

 

 

Introduction

Deuteronomy 12-26, 28. A code of laws (Deuteronomy 1-26) followed by promises to the obedient and threats of punishment for the rest (Deuteronomy 28): see Introd., p. 231. The great Deuteronomic law of one sanctuary is taught or implied in Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 19:13 and hardly in any other part of Dt. This section may, therefore, represent essentially the original Deuteronomic code (see Introd.).


Verses 1-13

Deuteronomy 16:21-Deuteronomy 17:7. Laws Demanding Pure Worship and Suitable Sacrifices.—This breaks the connexion; its proper place is probably between Deuteronomy 12 and Deuteronomy 13.

Deuteronomy 17:1. See Leviticus 22:17-25*.—ox: Heb. means any head of large cattle, bull, cow, calf.—sheep: Heb. means any head of small cattle, ram, ewe, lamb, goat, kid.

Deuteronomy 17:2-7 probably preceded ch. 13 with which it has close affinities.

Deuteronomy 17:2. within . . . gates: Deuteronomy 12:12*.—covenant: Deuteronomy 4:13

Deuteronomy 17:6. two witnesses: Deuteronomy 19:15-21, Numbers 35:30.

Deuteronomy 17:8 to Deuteronomy 18:22. Office-bearers.—This continues Deuteronomy 16:18-20*.


Verses 8-13

Deuteronomy 17:8-13. A central tribunal to be established (at Jerusalem) to try cases too hard for the local courts (Deuteronomy 16:18-20); see Deuteronomy 1:9-18*.

Deuteronomy 17:8. Two (three?) sample cases are mentioned, viz. trials for murder (see Exodus 21:18) and for personal injury.—between plea and plea: probably a dittograph (cf. Heb.) If genuine, the reference will be to disputes about property, one putting his right or claim against another's (see Exodus 22:1 f.).

Deuteronomy 17:9. In primitive times sanctuaries were asylums and courts of justice (Deuteronomy 19:1-13*), the priests acting as magistrates. Here they seem to act as assessors (Deuteronomy 16:18 ff.*).


Verses 14-20

Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Law about the King that is to be.—This deals exclusively with the theocratic aspect peculiar to D: the picture of the ideal king here drawn was probably suggested by way of contrast to the reigning king (Hezekiah or Manasseh; cf. 1 Samuel 8:5, where D's antipathy to the monarchy inspired by what he saw is reflected).

Deuteronomy 17:15. choose: cf. 1 Samuel 10:24, 2 Samuel 6:21.

Deuteronomy 17:6. horses (for war, Deuteronomy 20:1*).

Deuteronomy 17:17. wives: 1 Kings 1:14 f.—silver and gold (cf. Isaiah 39): as in Solomon's case.

Deuteronomy 17:18. he shall write him: Hebraism = "there shall be written for him."—a copy: i.e. a duplicate of the Deuteronomic law. The LXX translates wrongly by "this repetition of the law," thus originating and confirming the common mistake that D is essentially a later edition of the laws in the previous books of the Pentateuch. This is contrary to the sense of the Heb. and to the contents of Dt., which omits most of the laws in Ex., Lev., and Nu, and contains laws absent from these books (Deuteronomy 17:14-20, etc.).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/deuteronomy-17.html. 1919.

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