Once again we address the issue of worshiping other gods and this time there is an added detail. You need to have more than one witness who says that they saw a man or woman who worshiped other gods. Once that is done then the one who accused must be the first to throw a stone. Sound familiar? Look at John 8:1-11 and you will see that Jesus asks the accuser, or someone who has not sinned, to throw the first stone. That is a bit of a difference, isn’t it? It prevented the woman from being stoned. All of this is done so that you would purge evil from your midst.
There is also a provision in this chapter that if the decision is too difficult and cannot be made at the local level that it would then be referred to a higher court, again, sound familiar as far as what happens in our country, and that higher court would be in the place that the Lord God will choose. This is the same place as the chapter before. Interestingly enough you see that God gives permission to the people of Israel to set a king over themselves once they settle in the land.
Look at the some of the prerequisites for this king. I think of Solomon when I read in vs.17: “he must not acquire many wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away.” Maybe that was optional for Solomon. But we do see that the heart of Solomon was eventually turned away and the kingdom was divided. I also love the image of the servant king that we read in vs. 20 where the king should “neither exalting himself above other members of the community.” That is the model that Jesus exemplified, this servant rule.