Thou shalt not revile the gods
Meaning not the idols of the Gentiles, which they reckon gods, and worship as such; which is the sense of Philo, and some others, particularly Josephus F9, who, to curry favour with the Roman emperors given to idolatry, has from hence inserted the following among the laws given to Moses;
``let no man blaspheme the gods, which other cities think are such, nor rob strange sacred places, nor receive a gift dedicated to any deity;''but this cannot be the sense of the text, being contrary to ( Deuteronomy 12:2 Deuteronomy 12:3 ) nor can it be thought that care should be taken, lest the honour of the Heathen deities should be detracted from; but civil magistrates, the judges of the land, and the like, are meant, who are powers ordained of God, are in his stead, and represent him, and therefore respect should be shown them; nor should they be treated with any degree of slight and contempt, which may discourage and intimidate them, and deter them from the execution of their office: the Targum of Jonathan interprets them of judges very rightly, agreeably to ( Psalms 82:1 Psalms 82:6 ) and so Aben Ezra says,
``they are the judges and the priests, the sons of Levi, with whom the law is:''nor curse the ruler of thy people
whether civil or ecclesiastic; the last mentioned Jewish writer intend of the king, who is the supreme ruler in things civil, and ought to be honoured and loved, served and obeyed, and not hated and cursed, no, not secretly, not in the bedchamber, nor in the thought of the heart, since not only the thing is criminal but dangerous; it is much if it is not discovered, and then ruin follows upon it, ( Ecclesiastes 10:20 ) . The Apostle Paul applies it to the high priest among the Jews, who was the ruler in sacred things, ( Acts 23:5 ) and may be applicable to the prince of the sanhedrim, or chief in the grand court of judicature; and even to all dignified persons, who ought not to be spoken ill of, and to be abused in the execution of their office, and especially when they perform well.
F9 Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 10. Contr. Apion. 1. 2. c. 33.