Pastoral Commentary for Deuteronomy 16:9-17:20
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles were the other two pilgrimage festivals that Israel was to observe along with the Feast of Passover. These feasts were to be a joyful celebration of God's goodness - in contrast to the false idea of so many that God desires to rob people of joy. God commanded Israel to appoint judges who would show no partiality and accept no bribes. God's nature is just, and therefore His judges must follow justice alone. Justice included the death penalty for the sin of idolatry. This was such a serious transgression that it is condemned over and over again, and the harshest of penalties is repeatedly prescribed. The rule of law was to be upheld in Israel, and anyone who despised the rule of law and showed contempt for priests or judges was to be condemned. God was Israel's true King. He commanded that when they entered the Promised Land and set a king over themselves, he must be the man of God's choosing, a true Israelite. He was not to have numerous horses, many wives, or great wealth for these could easily lead him astray. He was to be humble, not considering himself better than his fellow Israelites. He was continually to remind himself of God's Law so that he might be careful to obey it. Thus, the LORD would remain Israel's true King, for the earthly king would be under God's law and not above it.