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Deuteronomy 19:16-19

Context
19:16 If a false 1  witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, 2  19:17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges 3  who will be in office in those days. 19:18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused, 4  19:19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge 5  evil from among you.

1 tn Heb “violent” (חָמָס, khamas). This is a witness whose motivation from the beginning is to do harm to the accused and who, therefore, resorts to calumny and deceit. See I. Swart and C. VanDam, NIDOTTE 2:177-80.

2 tn Or “rebellion.” Rebellion against God’s law is in view (cf. NAB “of a defection from the law”).

3 tn The appositional construction (“before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges”) indicates that these human agents represented the Lord himself, that is, they stood in his place (cf. Deut 16:18-20; 17:8-9).

4 tn Heb “his brother” (also in the following verse).

5 tn Heb “you will burn out” (בִּעַרְתָּ, biarta). Like a cancer, unavenged sin would infect the whole community. It must, therefore, be excised by the purging out of its perpetrators who, presumably, remained unrepentant (cf. Deut 13:6; 17:7, 12; 21:21; 22:21-22, 24; 24:7).



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