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Deuteronomy 17:6-12

Context
17:6 At the testimony of two or three witnesses they must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 17:7 The witnesses 1  must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people 2  are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge evil from among you.

Appeal to a Higher Court

17:8 If a matter is too difficult for you to judge – bloodshed, 3  legal claim, 4  or assault 5  – matters of controversy in your villages 6  – you must leave there and go up to the place the Lord your God chooses. 7  17:9 You will go to the Levitical priests and the judge in office in those days and seek a solution; they will render a verdict. 17:10 You must then do as they have determined at that place the Lord chooses. Be careful to do just as you are taught. 17:11 You must do what you are instructed, and the verdict they pronounce to you, without fail. Do not deviate right or left from what they tell you. 17:12 The person who pays no attention 8  to the priest currently serving the Lord your God there, or to the verdict – that person must die, so that you may purge evil from Israel.

1 tn Heb “the hand of the witnesses.” This means the two or three witnesses are to throw the first stones (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

2 tn Heb “the hand of all the people.”

3 tn Heb “between blood and blood.”

4 tn Heb “between claim and claim.”

5 tn Heb “between blow and blow.”

6 tn Heb “gates.”

7 tc Several Greek recensions add “to place his name there,” thus completing the usual formula to describe the central sanctuary (cf. Deut 12:5, 11, 14, 18; 16:6). However, the context suggests that the local Levitical towns, and not the central sanctuary, are in mind.

8 tn Heb “who acts presumptuously not to listen” (cf. NASB).



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