Deuteronomy 16:18-17:7

Note: This passage begins a new section of Deuteronomy that focuses on the governance of the nation.

A. 18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

B. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift:

B’. for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

A’. 20 That which is altogether (justice) just (justice) shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

2A. 21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image;

2B. which the LORD thy God hateth.

3A. 1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness:

3B. for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

4A. 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 (ra) in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 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;

4B. 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:

4C. 5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked (ra) thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

4B’. 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. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people.

4A’.  So thou shalt put the evil (ra) away from among you.

Note: in this last section the emphasis is on the truth of the charge and diligent careful enquiry must be made. This parallels the role of the witnesses whose certainty is put to the test by making them the chief executioners as well. 

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