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The Lord's justice is true justice because it is above human politics i.e. some things are "legal" in one country but "illegal" in another, while God's Law is based upon what is truly right for everyone, everywhere, forever (see Timeless). The Lord nevertheless allowed local or tribal councils to settle legal matters of God's one perfect Law, because local people were best capable of making an informed judgment. When a decision could not be reached at such a "lower court," the matter was taken to the Levites who were more studied in God's Law - but whether a decision was reached by a lower council, or by the Levites, everyone used God's Law as the basis for their decision. Contempt of court was a capital offense because the Judge that they were ultimately not respecting was The Lord.
"If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns which is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place which The Lord your God will choose, and coming to the Levitical priests, and to the judge who is in office in those days, you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision. Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place which The Lord will choose; and you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you; according to the instructions which they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the verdict which they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left. The man who acts presumptuously, by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before The Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die; so you shall purge the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and not act presumptuously again." (Deuteronomy 17:8-13 RSV)
Kings and officials among the Israelites were to meet two qualifications - to be a citizen from within their own people (i.e. they were not to accept any foreign imperial ruler) and to personally know and live by the Word of God.
"you may indeed set as king over you him whom The Lord your God will choose. One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother." (Deuteronomy 17:15 RSV)
Deuteronomy Chapter 18
The Levites could freely move from one tribal territory to another within Israel because they had no tribal allotment of their own.
"The Levitical priests, that is, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings by fire to The Lord, and his rightful dues. They shall have no inheritance among their brethren; The Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them." (Deuteronomy 18:1-2 RSV)
"And The Lord said to me, 'They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
Deuteronomy Chapter 19
The Commandment against killing was actually about not committing murder. The lethal force of lawful self defense, lawful military operations and lawful law enforcement were all the means by which "Thou shalt not kill" was enforced - The Lord commanded that the death penalty was to be imposed upon those who were found guilty of murder after a fair and impartial trial. The innocent were not to be punished. The cities of refuge were there to insure that justice was done.
"This is the provision for the manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If any one kills his neighbor unintentionally without having been at enmity with him in time past-- as when a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies - he may flee to one of these cities and save his life; lest the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and wound him mortally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he was not at enmity with his neighbor in time past." (Deuteronomy 19:4-6 RSV)
Fact Finder: (a) Did Jesus Christ ever impose the death penalty upon the Israelites who rebelled against The Lord? (b) Is Jesus Christ going to be forced to use lethal force to lawfully establish the Kingdom of God on earth?