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| CHAP. XVII.
Things sacrificed must be sound ; idolaters must be put to death ; hard controversies to be determined by the priests and judges ; . and the election and duty of a king. I THOU shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God
1 [any] bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, [or] any evil favouredness : for that [is] an abomination unto the
LORD thy God. % 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, 3 in transgressing his covenant, And 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 ; 4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard (of it,) and inquired
diligently, and, behold, [it be] true, [and] the thing certain, 5 [that] such abomination is wrought in Israel : 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. 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 7 of one witness he shall not be put to death. 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.
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 9 which the LORD thy God shall choose ; And thou shalt come
unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire : and they shall show thee the sen
tence of judgment, that sentence which is agreeable to the law: 10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of
that place which the LORD shall choose shall show thee ; and
thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform 11 thee : According 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 sen
tence which they shall show thee, [to] the right hand nor [to] 12 the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not • hearken unto the priest that standest to minister there before · the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall 13 die : and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all
the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptu. ously.
"]4 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 15 that Care] about me; 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 16 brother. 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, 17 Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall
he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away :
neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his king.
doin, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out 19 of [that which is] before the priests the Levites : 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 20 the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 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.
We have in this chapter some rules concerning the dues and reve.
nues of the Levites ; a caution against the superstitious customs of the heathen ; the promise of a great and glorious prophet ; presumptuous prophets to be put to death ; and how they may be
known. i T HE priests the Levites, [and] all the tribe of Levi,
I shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel, no part of the spoil taken in war, or inheritance in the land : they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, such sacrifices
whereof part was burnt, and part given to them, and his 2 inheritance.* Therefore shall they have no inheritance
among their brethren : the LORD [is] their inheritance, as he hath said unto them : He would supply them out of those things that were set apart in a solemn manner for his own use. Never.
theless, that they might not want, further directions are given for 3 their support ; And this shall be the priests' due from the peo
ple, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether (it be] ox or
* His inheritance, that is, the tithes, the first fruits, the money, paid for the redemp. . tion of the firstborn, and other oblations, beside those that were made by fare,
sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder and 4 the two cheeks, and the maw. The first fruit (also of thy
corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece 5 of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.t For the LORD thy God
hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in
the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever, and there6 fore he ought to be provided for. And if a Levite come from
any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose, with singular devotion and special affection to the service of God, to spend the remainder of his life there, (Psalm xxvii. 4.) Then he shall minister in the name of the
Lord his God, be admitted to do the service of the house, as all his - brethren the Levites [do,] which stand there before the LORD,
as those whose course it was at that time to attend upon the ser& vice. They shall have like portions to eat with those whose course
it is to serve, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patri. mony; though he have an estate of his own, yet he was to have his share of the tabernacle, or temple provision, for his service there ; and his money should be kept to redeem his patrimony, if he afterward sqw occasion to do it. While he served in God's
house, he was welcome there, and should not serve in vain. 9 - When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy
God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abomi10 nations of those nations. There shall not be found among
you [any one) that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, either to pass between two fires, or to be burned in the fire, in honour of their idol god ; [or] that useth divination, any kind of curious or forbidden arts, with a view of foretelling secrets, and future events : [or] an observer of times, who, by the motion of the clouds or heavenly bodies, pretended to calculate nativities, or foretell future events, like our modern astrologers ; or an enchanter, who, like the ancient au. gurs, foretold future events by some circumstance in the bodies of animals that were sacrificed, or by meeting living animals, or the flight of birds, gc, or a witch, who pretended to impose on
the senses of men, by changing the form and appearance of 11 things ; Or a charmer, drawing serpents together by certain
sounds, and so pretending to inspiration, and made people believe they had extraordinary hower ; or a consulter with familiar spirits, who pretended to be inspired by them, distorting them. selves in a violent manner when they gave their oracles, and throwing their voices as if the sound came out of their belly ; or
* Whether the marw signifies the same as the breast, or an additional part, is not cere tain. These shares were divided among the priests that were in waiting.
+ These were to be brought to the priests who resided among them in the country; and no one must taste of his corn, wine, or oil, till the priest had received and offered the first fruits: the reason is added, v. 5.
a wizard ; it is uncertain what these were ; the rabbies assert, that it refers to persons who made use of a certain plant, whose root was shaped like a beast ; or a necromancer, those who pre
tend to bring an spirits from the dead, in order to consult them. 12 For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the
LORD : and because of these abominations the LORD thy 13 God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be
perfect, upright, or sincere, with the LORD thy God, and not 24 mingle any of these superstitious rites with his worship. For :.' these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto ob
servers of times, and unto diviners : but as for thee, the • LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so [to do ;] he hath
taught thee better by his law, and will more fully inform thee by
that prophet whom he will raise up to thee. 15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from
the midst of thee, of thy brethren, of thy own stock and nation, 16 like unto me ; unto him ye shall hearken ; According to all I that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day L') of the assembly, when the whole congregation of Israel assembledo • together, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the
LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, 17 that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well *" [spoken that] which they have spoken ; God approved the re18 quest; and said, I will raise them up a Prophet, that is Christ,
from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth ; and he shall speak unto them all that I
shall command him ; he shall speak like Moses, frecly and 19 plainly, and reveal God's will clearly and fully.* And it shall
come to pass, [that] whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require [it] of
him, call him to account, and punish him for it.t . 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in
my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, as they that prophesied by Baal did, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die by the hand of the
* magistrate. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the • word which the LORD hath not spoken ? This was a very 22 proper question to propose, and the answer is given ; When a • prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, he must give a sign,
or work a miracle immediately, to prove his mission, (for to this it seems to refer, and not to foretelling future events ;) if the
* So Christ did ; and, like Moses, he was a mediator and a lawgiver; introduced a new dispensation ; conversed with God, as with a friend and father; did signs and wonders ; foretold things to come ; established a better covenant, on better promises, and brought life and immortality to light by his gospel.
+ This threatening was remarkably fulfilled upon the Jews for rejecting Christ, when their temple and nation were destroyed, and wrath sanie upon them to ilie uitermost.
thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously : thou shalt not be afraid of him and his threatening, which he hath spoken; nor be afraid to put him to death. This was putting the matter on a very clear and plain
1. W E are taught, that those who have devoted themselves
VV to the service of God's sanctuary, should have a comfortable maintenance : it is the appointment of God's law, and is reasonable and proper in itself. The reason given for the Levites having so large a portion was, because they had no inheritance in Israel. Christian ministers, who separate themselves from the business of the world, and are deprived of those secular advantages they might gain from trade and commerce, deserve to bę supported in a comfortable, creditable way. The gospel, though it does not allot its preachers any particular part or portion of men's substance, yet commands, that they who preach the gospel should live by the gospel, and that they who communicate sjuritual things should partake of their carnal things, to whom they com municate spiritual. This is the will of our great Lord and master, and every faithful servant will carefully and cheerfully per form this branch of duty.
2. Let us be upon our guard against all those, superstitious customs, which Israel is here warned against. One would wonder they should need so much caution, considering what God had said to them, and done for them ; considering his laws, and his miracles. Yet, notwithstanding all these, we find them strangely addicted to the superstitions of the heathen. And there is too much of this spirit among christians ; there are many who observe times and seasons, call some days lucky, others unlucky ; consult fortunetellers, to know what shall happen to them; and have recourse to spells or charms for the cure of diseases, and the discovery of things lost. All this is superstitious folly ; it originally proceeded from the devil, the father of lies, and is among those arts by which he supports his kingdom. The practice of these things shows a weak mind; it is an affront to God, and what we should carefully avoid, for the credit of our own understandings, as well as of religion. If ever we are tempted to have any thing to do with these works of darkness, let us consider that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
3. Let us learn to pay the highest regard to the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Prophet. Here is no superstitious whim or invention ; to the law and to the testimony ; this is the plain rule of our duty. Let us bless God, who hath raised up this great. Prophet, mighty both in word and deed; that he has declared the