November 16, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Deuteronomy 16-19
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Context: In chapter 16, Moses describes the three main feasts the Israelites are to celebrate. These feasts are to remind the Israelites of their past, how the Lord has saved them, and the difficulties they encountered. These feasts were also a time of celebration and rejoicing! The chapter ends with instructions for judges. Moses reminds the people of their sole obedience to the Lord God. God’s laws were to be followed exactly as they were given - no ifs, ands, or buts! God knows that Israel will demand a king be set over them so that they will be like the other nations. Moses also gives instructions on how kings are to behave. How well did the kings follow these laws? Chapter 18 reviews the responsibilities of priests and prophets. The Israelites were to rely on the Lord God and not turn to the worship of false gods that other nations. They were also to be wary of false prophets. They would know a true prophet because he would always be accurate in all of their predictions. Prophets not only foretold of events far in the future, but warned of near-future events which would prove they were sent by the Lord. The cities of refuge were for accidental killings, which was clearly identified by the Lord. Additionally, for any crime, there was to be a minimum of two witnesses. This prevented false accusations.