Deuteronomy 17

A list of other rules and rules for a king

1 You must bring good gifts to the LORD your God. Do not bring any sheep or cow whose body is not completely right. The LORD hates this.

2 Perhaps a person living in one of your towns may do something bad against the LORD your God. He has not done what he promised to do. 3 He has not obeyed my words, because he has followed other gods. He has obeyed these gods, or he has prayed to the sun, moon or stars. 4 If you hear about this, you must check the report. If this bad thing has happened in Israel, 5 you must take the bad man or woman to the gate of the town. Then you must throw stones at that person until he or she dies. 6 But two or three people must agree that he has done the bad thing. You must never kill anyone because of the words of only one person. 7 These people must throw the first stones at the bad person. Then everyone else must throw stones. You must completely remove this very bad thing from among you.

8 It may be difficult for the judges in your towns to decide between good things and bad things. This may happen when one person has attacked another person. It may happen when people cannot agree about a house or some fields. You must bring those people to the place that the LORD your God will choose. 9 You must go to the priests from the tribe of Levi and to the judge that you have chosen. Ask them to decide for you. 10 Then you must obey them, in the place that the LORD will choose. Be careful to obey all their words. 11 You must do the things that they teach you. You must agree to what they decide. Obey their words completely. 12 You must kill any man who will not obey the judge or the priest. The judge and the priest stand near the LORD your God and do what he says. So you will completely remove bad things from Israel. 13 Then all the people will hear about it and they will be afraid. They will not refuse to listen to the judge or priest again.

The king

14 You are going into the country that the LORD your God has given you. All the countries round you will have kings. Then you will decide that you need a king. 15 Be careful! You must accept the king that the LORD your God chooses. The king must be a man from Israel. Do not choose anyone who is not an Israelite. 16 The king must not get a lot of horses for himself. And he must not send his people back to Egypt to get more horses. The LORD has said to you, ‘Do not return there!’

17 The king must not marry many wives. They will stop him from thinking about the LORD. He must not store a lot of silver and gold for himself.

The Law of God

18 When he becomes king, he must copy the Law of God on a scroll. This scroll will be a copy of the one that belongs to the priests. They belong to the tribe of Levi. 19 He must keep this scroll near him always and he must read it every day. If you do that, he will learn to love the LORD his God. And he will learn to obey him. He must be careful to read all the words of this Law. He must obey the words and these decrees also. 20 He must not think that he is better than other Israelites. He must not stop thinking about the Law. If he does that, he, his sons and his grandsons will be kings in Israel for many years.