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17 You are not to sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has a defect or any flaw in it, because that is detestable to the Lord your God.”

Death to the Idolater

“You may discover that a man or woman living in one of your cities that the Lord your God is about to give you has done evil in the eyes of the Lord your God by transgressing his covenant. He may be following and serving other gods by bowing down to them—that is, to the sun, the moon, or to any of the heavenly host[a] (something I did not command). When it is reported to you or you hear of it, you are to investigate it thoroughly. When the truth has been established that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, summon the man or the woman who did this evil thing to your city gates, and then stone the man or the woman to death. Based on the testimony[b] of two or three witnesses, they must surely die, but they are not to die based on the testimony of one person. Let the witnesses[c] be the first to begin executing them, then the rest of[d] the people are to follow. By doing this you will purge evil from among you.”

Deciding Difficult Cases

“If a case is too difficult for you to decide with respect to bloodshed,[e] civil claims,[f] assault and battery,[g] or other matters of dispute within your courts,[h] bring[i] it to the place that the Lord your God will choose. Present the case[j] to the Levitical priest or the judge at that time. When you have inquired and they have announced the verdict, 10 carry out the verdict that was declared to you at the place that the Lord will choose. Carefully observe all of their instructions to you 11 in accordance with what the Law says and in accordance with the verdict that will be handed to you. You must not deviate from the verdict that they declare to you either to the right or to the left. 12 If a man presumptuously disregards the priest who is serving the Lord your God there, or the judge, that person must die so you will purge evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people who hear will be afraid and will not act presumptuously again.”

Duties of the Future King

14 “When you have come to the land that the Lord your God is about to give you, and you have taken possession of it and have settled in it, then you will say, ‘I will appoint a king over me like all the nations around me.’ 15 You will certainly set a king over you, whom the Lord your God will choose from among your relatives, but you must not place a foreign king over you who is not from your relatives. 16 He must not amass horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt to obtain more horses, because the Lord said you must never return that way again. 17 Also, he must not accumulate wives for himself (otherwise, his affection will become diverted), nor accumulate for himself excessive quantities of[k] silver and gold. 18 When he occupies his royal throne, he must make a copy of this Law for himself from a scroll used by the Levitical priests. 19 It is to remain with him the rest of his life so he may learn to fear the Lord his God and observe all the words of this Law and these statutes, in order to fulfill them. 20 He is not to exalt himself over his relatives, nor turn aside from the commandment—neither to the right nor to the left—so that he and his sons may reign long in Israel.”


  1. Deuteronomy 17:3 Or any of the stars or planets, if referring to astronomical bodies; or supernatural beings, if referring to fallen or unfallen angelic armies
  2. Deuteronomy 17:6 Lit. mouth
  3. Deuteronomy 17:7 Lit. the hands of the witnesses
  4. Deuteronomy 17:7 Lit. the hand of all
  5. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit. blood versus blood
  6. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit. justice versus justice
  7. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit. wound versus wound
  8. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit. gates
  9. Deuteronomy 17:8 Lit. stand and go up
  10. Deuteronomy 17:9 The Heb. lacks Present the case
  11. Deuteronomy 17:17 The Heb. lacks quantities of

17 Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect(A) or flaw in it, for that would be detestable(B) to him.(C)

If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant,(D) and contrary to my command(E) has worshiped other gods,(F) bowing down to them or to the sun(G) or the moon or the stars in the sky,(H) and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true(I) and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel,(J) take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death.(K) On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.(L) The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting that person to death,(M) and then the hands of all the people.(N) You must purge the evil(O) from among you.

Law Courts

If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge(P)—whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults(Q)—take them to the place the Lord your God will choose.(R) Go to the Levitical(S) priests and to the judge(T) who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict.(U) 10 You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the Lord will choose. Be careful to do everything they instruct you to do. 11 Act according to whatever they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left.(V) 12 Anyone who shows contempt(W) for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering(X) there to the Lord your God is to be put to death.(Y) You must purge the evil from Israel.(Z) 13 All the people will hear and be afraid, and will not be contemptuous again.(AA)

The King

14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession(AB) of it and settled in it,(AC) and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,”(AD) 15 be sure to appoint(AE) over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites.(AF) Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses(AG) for himself(AH) or make the people return to Egypt(AI) to get more of them,(AJ) for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.”(AK) 17 He must not take many wives,(AL) or his heart will be led astray.(AM) He must not accumulate(AN) large amounts of silver and gold.(AO)

18 When he takes the throne(AP) of his kingdom, he is to write(AQ) for himself on a scroll a copy(AR) of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life(AS) so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees(AT) 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law(AU) to the right or to the left.(AV) Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.(AW)

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