February 28th

Deuteronomy 17-20

  • 17: 2-5 – Keeping the Israelites worship pure was a high priority and taken very seriously.
  • 17:14-15—Later, when the Israelites actually ask for a king, God says it is because they are rejecting him. They want to be like the other countries around them when God has set them apart to be different. God is anticipating this rejection and creating laws that will limit the wealth and power of the king in order to protect the Israelites- even when they reject God, he shows them mercy. Unfortunately, only a handful of the future kings will pay any attention to these laws.
  • 18:1-5 – What a great amount of trust this must have taken for this tribe. They were not allowed to try to provide for themselves or store up for themselves. Instead, they had to rely on the peoples’ devotion to God.
  • 18:9-14—To “make a son or daughter pass through fire” is to practice child sacrifice- one of the most common forms of worship in Canaan at the time. These verses provide insight as to why God will command the Israelites to destroy the Canaanite culture.
  • 18:21-22 – This definition of whether a prophet was false or not was certainly fairly tricky considering much of what prophets said didn’t happen until long after they were dead.
  • 19:15—This law still influences our court system today
  • 20: 1-4 – Yet again, the Lord asks the Israelites to trust him completely. It’s important to remember all the ways he had been faithful to them beforehand in order for them to trust him in these large ways.
  • 20:10-11—You’ll notice that this particular instruction isn’t followed when they invade Canaan- that’s because they’re given explicit instructions from God not to do so: the invasion of the Promised Land is an utterly unique event in Israel’s history.
  • 20:17—In this verse (and later in the book of Joshua), there’s some narrative exaggeration going on. We know that the Israelites don’t actually exterminate any of these people groups- the Bible itself mentions this in later books. In Joshua, we’ll read that God commands them to allow the women and children of every Canaanite town they capture to live- which seems to contradict this verse. What God wants is the elimination of a culture, not the extermination of a people.

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