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Deuteronomy 17:18-20

Context
17:18 When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law 1  on a scroll 2  given to him by the Levitical priests. 17:19 It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. 17:20 Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom 3  in Israel.

1 tn Or “instruction.” The LXX reads here τὸ δευτερονόμιον τοῦτο (to deuteronomion touto, “this second law”). From this Greek phrase the present name of the book, “Deuteronomy” or “second law” (i.e., the second giving of the law), is derived. However, the MT’s expression מִשְׁנֶה הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת (mishneh hattorah hazzot) is better rendered “copy of this law.” Here the term תּוֹרָה (torah) probably refers only to the book of Deuteronomy and not to the whole Pentateuch.

2 tn The Hebrew term סֵפֶר (sefer) means a “writing” or “document” and could be translated “book” (so KJV, ASV, TEV). However, since “book” carries the connotation of a modern bound book with pages (an obvious anachronism) it is preferable to render the Hebrew term “scroll” here and elsewhere.

3 tc Heb “upon his kingship.” Smr supplies כִּסֵא (kise’, “throne”) so as to read “upon the throne of his kingship.” This overliteralizes what is a clearly understood figure of speech.



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