New Defender's Study Bible Notes
17:5 that man or that woman. It is noteworthy that the trial and sentence was not to be conditioned in any way upon the sex of the offender. Both men and women are equally responsible before God to obey His Word.
17:6 mouth of two witnesses. It is implied, of course, that the second and/or third witnesses must not be in collusion with the first or with each other, attempting to bear a united false witness against the accused person. Such false witness invoked severe penalties (Deuteronomy 19:15-19). Also the seriousness of the charge, even if found true, was emphasized by requiring the witnesses to be the first ones to carry out the execution (Deuteronomy 17:7). See Hebrews 10:28; Matthew 18:16; John 8:16-18; II Corinthians 13:1; I Timothy 5:19.
17:14 a king over me. See I Samuel 8:5. The Lord here prophetically anticipated what He knew would actually come to pass more than three hundred years later, and the danger that would ensue when such a king, in order to make political alliances with other kings, would “multiply wives to himself” (Deuteronomy 17:17; see I Kings 11:1-8 for its tragic fulfillment).
17:16 not multiply horses. It is interesting that, although the Egyptians and other nations used many horses and chariots in their wars, no mention is made of Israelites using horses until the times of the rebellion under Adonijah (I Kings 1:5).
17:18 a copy of this law. Not only were Moses’ original writings being preserved in the ark of the covenant, but copies were to be for kings, and no doubt for others. Note that, when the young boy Joash was made king of Israel, a copy of “the testimony” was given him at the time he was crowned king (II Chronicles 23:11. Both judges and Levites would also need copies (II Chronicles 17:7-9; 19:10). No king or any other official should ever consider himself above God’s law. The king, or president, or any ruler is specially responsible before God to “read therein all the days of his life,” conforming his life and his reign to the Word of God.