Presumption (Deuteronomy 17:12-13)

As I was reading the scriptures today, a word jumped out at me: presumptuously. Perhaps it was the severity of consequences for presuming that the verse mandated that got my attention. What I’ve realized is I don’t think I previously fully understood this word.

Let me begin by giving you the scripture, Deuteronomy 17:12-13 (AMP)

The man who does presumptuously and will not listen to the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God or to the judge, that man shall die; so you shall purge the evil from Israel.

And all the people shall hear and [reverently] fear, and not act presumptuously again.

My initial question was are they dying because they presumed? Or because they presumed over the priests? The original Hebrew words hear are zadown (H2087) and zuwd (H2102).

Zadown surprised me be being translated into the word pride more often than presumptuously. Its definition is “pride, insolence, presumptuousness, arrogance” and it came from the root word zuwd, which was the next usage of presumptuously.

Zuwd was also translated both as presumptuously or some version of pride. It’s definition was:

to boil, boil up, seethe, act proudly, act presumptuously, act rebelliously, be presumptuous, be arrogant, be rebelliously proud

Then I began to wonder if maybe this was just a Hebrew thing, because I’d never equated presumption with pride (though I could see the possibility for a connection). Here’s how Merriam-Webster defined presume:

transitive verb
1 : to take upon oneself without leave, authority, or warrant : undertake rashly : dare
2 : to expect or assume especially with confidence
3 : to accept as true or credible without proof or before inquiry : assume
4 : to take for granted : imply

intransitive verb
1 : to act or proceed presumptuously or on a presumption
2 : to go beyond what is right or proper

Even as I read these definitions, I could see hints at pride though I had never made that connection before. This caused me to consider what are instances when I act or speak presumptuously? And is it out of pride that I am doing so?

I don’t have some grand conclusion for you here. Mostly just sharing this train of thought because I thought perhaps some of you might find it curious as well and maybe even, like me, choose to reflect on when and why I presume… so that I might not act in pride 🙂

5 thoughts on “Presumption (Deuteronomy 17:12-13)

  1. ohhh……… reality check… THANK you for sharing. my litany for the Lord is “Keep me humble, keep me strong, keep me pure, Lord”.

    and i -always- need a pride check.

    bless you.

  2. I have been cursed as if dead ever since my priest kicked me out of the church. HE will not forgive me. He will not talk to me. He and the entire church treat me as if I were dead. What can I do if anything. This happened one year ago and I continually suffer for this. What ever happened to Jesus and mercy? Any insight into this. I was proud and I did contradict my priest. But I have paid for my sin. But is there no end to my suffering? What about my children…are they cursed too? Any thoughts or advice I accept willingly. THank you .

  3. @Patti, you are not called to “pay” for your sins – Jesus has already done that. There may be consequences as a result of our actions, but we don’t “pay” if we repent we’re accepting Jesus’ payment – does that make sense?

    Let me also say that NO ONE can effectively curse what the Lord has blessed. And being in right relationship with God is not the same things as being in right relationship with people. Have you begun by repenting to God for rebellion? If so, He has forgiven you and He does not curse you – or your children.

    Priests and church members are human, which means they may err. If you have attempted restitution and it has been rejected that simply means humans are choosing man-made rules over the forgiveness that the word mandates, or they may have “forgiven” but still there may be rules that you agreed to when you joined that were broken and you are walking out the ramifications of that. Consider writing one more letter (writing can be a non-threatening form of contact) with your repentance and attempt reconciliation.

    But let me encourage you that GOD is not shocked at where you find yourself. Perhaps He is using this situation to move you to a different church home because He wants to move you in a different direction than where your previous church home was. Seek the Lord for direction and He will give it. Remember the body of Christ is not contained by denominational bounds, we are ONE body of Christ – it’s possible that you may be called to a different part in the body and He is taking this opportunity to align you where HE wants.

    And remember that being in right relationship with God is all that REALLY matters, though our flesh desires things to be right with the people, we can’t make others choose that. And be encouraged by Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

    And remember John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” So be sure your focus is on worshiping Him, which is something that can be done without realigning with people or a church that you once were part of. Trust His plan for you and let Him lead you. This is an opportunity to cling to Him and let that relationship grow – from that you will be blessed 🙂

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