IDOLATERS WILL BE PUNISHED
Key verse 17:5
God talks about how to deal with idolatry in Israel. Israel will have to follow the servants in legal matter and the King is supervised.
1. You will extirpate idolatry from the land (1-7)
Moses told the people not to offer malformed animals to God. It is strange that he should mention it in the midst of idolatry. Perhaps because idolatry is similar to a malformed animal. God wants the people created by Him to be faithful to Him. God is a perfect God, so one cannot bring him something imperfect, even though he is not at fault for himself. Human idolaters are different. They are not distorted in appearance, but they are internally twisted beings. God hates them. They don't do their creator any credit. They must be punished by the people. The investigation must be serious and we need two witnesses, because man's heart is not trustworthy. The man and woman who rally with the idols must be stoned first by the witness and then by all the people. The evil is eradicated.
2. Judgments and Royalty (8-20)
If the cause of judgment is too complicated, the people have to go up to the temple of Jerusalem and ask the Levite priests who reside there for advice. When someone brings the case before them, his heart needs to be emptied of all prejudices. He must be ready to listen to the servant's opinion, whatsoever it may be. He must not give up in the middle because of his preference. It is necessary to follow the teachings which are given to him until the end . God foresees that the people would claim royalty when they enter the country. Samuel said what good would it do, but he hearkened to the voice of the people, and crowned them King. The King's status will not be special nor above the people, he is one of the citizens. It is especially necessary for him to move remove any objects which would distance him from God, such as many horses, gold, women etc.. He has to make a copy of the law and keep it on his bedside table and read it every day. Thus he will not depart from God and will assume the role of King to rule the people.