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Monday, April 8 2019

A Bible Journey, 170: Laying Down The Law

"When he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Law ... he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God

"Laying down the law" is a saying that is familiar to many people. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as "to forcefully make known what you think should happen." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "to make a strong statement about what someone is or is not allowed to do."

But why is the word "laying" used in reference to the law?

According to the Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, "law" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, lagu, that means to lie, as in to lay down (the other word lie, meaning to not tell the truth, originated from a completely different word that has no connection - although ironically, liars often have much involvement with the law). The word "layer", meaning a "single thickness of usually some homogeneous substance," originated from that word. "Lawyer" is merely a variant English pronunciation of layer.

"Law" is used to translate a number of Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures, primarily the Hebrew word, pronounced torah (i.e. the familiar word Torah) that means a statute or principle of law.


The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see The Real Jesus: The Word Of The LORD God and A Bible Journey, 56: The Sacred Name) declared His Law to the Israelites (and to everyone before and after them; see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God) as the basis of civilization - the legal rights and responsibilities of everyone (see also They Aren't Rights If The LORD Says They're Wrongs).

As is very often the case, topical sections of the Holy Bible now seem to extend over more than one chapter. The Holy Scriptures however were originally written without chapters and verse numbers. They were devised by European printers when Bibles began to be published - chapters were made from about 800 years ago and verses from about 500 years ago. Deuteronomy chapter 17, as a matter of its context (i.e. content of the text), actually begins in the previous "chapter."

The Holy Scriptures

"16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. 16:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 16:20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 16:21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 16:22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth." (Deuteronomy 16:18-22 KJV)

"17:1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 17:7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you." (Deuteronomy 16:17:1-7 KJV)

The English-language word court and courtyard, originated from a Latin word meaning an enclosed, uncovered area. The original intent was for an official area where the public could hear and witness government proceedings. In the case of most-ancient Israel, it was the place where people brought contentious issues for judgment by the Levites (see A Bible Journey, 121: The Three Branches Of Levi) - most particularly those who became the scribes, or "experts in the law" i.e. the "lawyers." Their judgments were not merely their personal or political "opinion." They were often the only people who could read what was written; what they read was what was written by the LORD.


"17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; 17:9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: 17:10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: 17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 17:12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 17:13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously." (Deuteronomy 17:8-13 KJV)

As would happen by the time of Samuel (see The Holy Spirit In History and Prophecy: The Spirit Of The Judges), Israel elected itself a king - first Saul, then David (see The Holy Spirit In History and Prophecy: The Lesson Of Saul, David And Solomon).

"King," whether in English or in Hebrew, means the head of a kin, the head of a family; the unadulterated original meaning of the word "patriotism" meant faithful to the father, the head of the kin, the king (see A Bible Journey, 122: The Salvation Training Manual).

The purpose of the election of a king was declared by the LORD before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, first to the rebel Exodus generation who refused to enter the Promised Land (see A Bible Journey, 154: How The Rebellion Changed History and A Bible Journey, 155: Their Journey Back To Egypt Today), then to their children and grandchildren who did enter the Promised Land (see the Fact Finder question below).

"17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 17:15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 17:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 17:20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." (Deuteronomy 17:14-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why was the same Law of the LORD delivered to the Israelites of the Exodus twice?
See A Bible Journey, 158: God's Law To The Children; see also God The Father In Law and Grace Is Not A Gift Of Lawlessness


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This Day In History

This Day In History, April 8

217: Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antonius), the 23rd Roman emperor, a man noted for his brutality (even for Roman emperors; see The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar and The Roman Emperors: Caligula and The Roman Emperors: Nero and The Roman Emperors: Domitian and The Messiah And The Caesars), was assassinated at age 29 as he launched a second campaign against the Parthians.

632: Charibert II, King of Aquitaine, was assassinated at Blaye.


876: The Battle of Dayr al-'Aqul between the forces of the Saffarid amir Ya'qub ibn Laith and the Abbasid Caliphate. The battle repelled Ya'qub's advance on Baghdad (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad and The LORD's Seed Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq).

1093: Winchester Cathedral was dedicated by Walkelin.

1513: Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed in Florida and claimed it for Spain (for a map of the actual four voyages of Christopher Columbus to "America," see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).


1525: Albert von Brandenburg, leader of the Teutonic Order, became Duke of Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany). He made Prussia a Protestant state.

1546: The Council of Trent adopted Jerome's Latin Vulgate as the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes the 15 apocryphal books which are not accepted by most "Protestants" (ironic, since the "Protestant" churches kept nearly all of Rome's antichrist doctrines; see also 2 John: The Bride Of Christ and The Great Harlots).

1808: The Church of Rome's presence in the U.S. grew when the Diocese of Baltimore (in Mary-land) was promoted to an archdiocese, along with the founding of the dioceses of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Bardstown (now Louisville) by Pope Pius VII.

1808: "The American Fur Company" was incorporated in New York State by John Jacob Astor. It dominated the fur trade of the central and western U.S. during the first third of the 19th century (see also Who Invented Fur Coats?).

1820: Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, died at age 48. The Scottish-born philanthropist and colonizer established settlements in Canada's Prince Edward Island and near Lake St. Clair in Upper Canada ("Upper Canada" was a term based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean; Lake St. Clair is in southern Ontario) and in the Red River Valley of Manitoba.

Thomas Douglas

1838: The Great Western sailed from Bristol, England, on its first voyage. It was the first to make regular Atlantic crossings.

1866: Italy and Prussia made an alliance against the Austrian Empire.

1904: The Entente Cordiale was signed by Britain and France. It settled disputes over Newfoundland, West Africa, Egypt and Morocco.

1908: Herbert Henry Asquith became Prime Minister of Britain.

1938: Italy invaded Albania. King Zog fled to Greece.

1942: During the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars) U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered to Japanese invasion forces in the Philippines (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).


1946: The League of Nations began its final session in Geneva after being replaced by the United Nations.

1952: U.S. President Harry Truman called for the seizure of all domestic steel mills to prevent a nationwide strike.

1962: The CIA "Bay of Pigs" invaders were sentenced to 30 years in prison in Cuba.


1970: The Bahr el-Baqar incident. Israeli warplanes bombed an Egyptian school, killing 46 children.

1973: Spanish painter Pablo Picasso died at age 92.

1977: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel admitted that he had violated the country's currency laws. He later resigned.

1986: Jennifer Guinness of the well-known brewing family was kidnapped in Ireland and held for a 2 million Pound ransom.

1992: Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat survived a plane crash in the Sahara Desert. The plane's 3 crew members were killed.

2006: The Shedden massacre. The bodies of 8 men were found in a field near Shedden, a town in southern Ontario, Canada. The murders were linked to the Bandidos motorcycle gang.

2013: Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, died at age 88.




Copyright © Wayne Blank