Deuteronomy 17:14
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,"

New Living Translation
"You are about to enter the land the LORD your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, 'We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.'

English Standard Version
“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’

New American Standard Bible
"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,'

King James Bible
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;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, take possession of it, live in it, and say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations around me,'

International Standard Version
"When you have come to the land that the LORD your God is about to give you, and you have taken possession of it, and have settled in it, then you will say, 'I will appoint a king over me like all the nations around me.'

NET Bible
When you come to the land the LORD your God is giving you and take it over and live in it and then say, "I will select a king like all the nations surrounding me,"

New Heart English Bible
When you have come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me";

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You will enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you. You will take possession of it and live there. You will say, "Let's have our own king like all the other nations around us."

JPS Tanakh 1917
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 all the nations that are round about me';

New American Standard 1977
“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’

Jubilee Bible 2000
When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee and shalt inherit it and shalt dwell therein and shalt say, I will set a king over me like all the Gentiles that are round about me;

King James 2000 Bible
When you are come unto the land which the LORD your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me;

American King James Version
When you are come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

American Standard Version
When thou art come unto the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me;

Douay-Rheims Bible
When thou art come into the land, which the Lord thy God will give thee, and possessest it, and shalt say: I will set a king over me, as all nations have that are round about:

Darby Bible Translation
When thou comest unto the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me;

English Revised Version
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 round about me;

Webster's Bible Translation
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell in it, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

World English Bible
When you are come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me;"

Young's Literal Translation
When thou comest in unto the land which Jehovah thy God is giving to thee, and hast possessed it, and dwelt in it, and thou hast said, Let me set over me a king like all the nations which are round about me, --
Study Bible
Election and Duties of Kings
13"Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again. 14"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' 15you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.…
Cross References
Numbers 33:53
and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it.

Deuteronomy 11:31
"For you are about to cross the Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall possess it and live in it,

Joshua 21:43
So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.

1 Samuel 8:5
and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."

1 Samuel 8:11
He said, "This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.

1 Samuel 8:19
Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, "No, but there shall be a king over us,

1 Samuel 10:19
"But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, 'No, but set a king over us!' Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans."

1 Samuel 10:25
Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house.

1 Samuel 16:3
"You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you."
Treasury of Scripture

When you are come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

When thou

Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD your God shall bring you into the land where you go …

Deuteronomy 12:9,10 For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which …

Deuteronomy 18:9 When you are come into the land which the LORD your God gives you, …

Deuteronomy 26:1,9 And it shall be, when you are come in to the land which the LORD …

Leviticus 14:34 When you be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for …

Joshua 1:13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, …

I will set

1 Samuel 8:5-7,19,20 And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your …

1 Samuel 12:19 And all the people said to Samuel, Pray for your servants to the …

Deuteronomy 17:14-20. THE LAW OF THE KINGDOM.

(14) When thou art come unto the land.--These are not the words of a legislator who is already in the land. Those who say that this law dates from later times must be prepared to assert that this clause is expressly framed to suit the lips of Moses, and is thus far a deliberate forgery.

And shalt possess it, and dwell therein--i.e., shalt complete the conquest and settle. It is not contemplated that the king would be desired immediately after the conquest.

I will set a king over me, like as all the nations.--There is an evident allusion to this phrase in 1Samuel 8:20, "That we also may be like all the nations." It is noticeable that Moses in this place says nothing in disapproval of the design. In fact his words might easily have been cited by the people in support of their proposal. Moses said we should need a king; why should we not ask for on? Looked at this way, the citation of the words of Deuteronomy in Samuel is perfectly natural. The people confirm their request by presenting it in the very words of Moses. But if we suppose (with some modern writers) that the passage in Deuteronomy was constructed from that in Samuel, there are several difficulties--(1) Why is there no disapproval here of the plan, which Samuel so strongly disapproved? (2) How does the writer in Deuteronomy contrive to be so wholly unconscious either of the royal tribe, or of the royal family? Precisely the same unconsciousness of the locality of the place which Jehovah should choose in Palestine appears in every reference to it in this book. In Moses this is perfectly natural. But that any later writer should be so totally regardless of the claims of Judah, David, and Jerusalem, and say nothing either for or against them, is inconceivable. Samuel could hardly have written about the king without betraying disapproval of Israel's desire for him. No later writer could have avoided some allusion to the choice of David's family, and the promises to David's son.

(15) Whom the Lord thy God shall choose . . . from among thy brethren.--This precept seems almost needless from the standpoint of later history. As years passed by, the Israelites were less and less tempted to accept the supremacy of foreign princes.[4] But Moses can never have forgotten that for two-thirds of his own lifetime the Israelites had been subject to the kings of Egypt; and that even since the exodus they had proposed to make a captain to return thither; whom we know not, but very possibly an Egyptian. The chief thing dreaded by Moses was a return to Egypt, as appears by the next verse.

[4] But see note on Deuteronomy 31:11 for an incident that illustrates the feeling.

(16,17) He shall not multiply horses . . . wives . . . neither shall he greatly multiply . . . silver and gold.--It is not a little remarkable that these are the very things which Solomon did multiply; and that under him the monarchy attained its greatest glory. But the prophecy avenged itself by its literal fulfilment: "When Solomon was old . . . his wives turned away his heart" (1Kings 11:4). Yet it is easier to read the words as prophecy than as later history. What Israelite could have written this sentence after the time of Solomon without some passing allusion to the glories of his reign? Compare the recorded allusion in Nehemiah 13:26 : "Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin."

The question, how Solomon came to transgress these orders, may easily be met by another--How came David to attempt the removal of the ark of God in a cart? The wealth which Solomon had is represented as the special gift of Jehovah. His many marriages may be partly accounted for by the fact that only one son is mentioned, and he was born before his father became king. The question, "Who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?" is singularly applicable to this individual. And one of the Psalms, which is by its title ascribed to Solomon, pursues a similar line of thought (Ps. cxxvii).

The caution against multiplying horses marks the profound wisdom of the writer. The Israelitish infantry was Israel's strength. The conquest of Canaan was entirely effected by infantry. There are not many battle-fields in Canaan suited for chariots and cavalry. An army of infantry can choose its own ground.

Verses 14-20. - Israel, being under a theocracy, did not need an earthly king; but neither was this thereby precluded, provided the king chosen by the people were one whom Jehovah would approve as his vicegerent. In case, then, of their coming to desire to have a king over them like the nations around them, Moses gives instructions here as to the choice of a king, and as to the duties and obligations resting upon those who might be elevated to that office. The form in which these are conveyed clearly indicates that, at the time this was uttered, the existence of a king in Israel was contemplated as only a distant possibility. Verse 14. - When thou art come unto the land, etc. This phraseology, which is common to the laws which respect the affairs of the Hebrews after they should be settled in Canaan, implies that this law was given whilst they were yet outside the Promised Land. It is plain also, from the tenor of the whole statement in this verse, that the legislator in this case is providing for what he supposes may happen, is likely to happen, but which he by no means desires should happen. Moses foresaw that the people would wish to be as the nations around them - governed by a king - and he legislates accordingly, without approving of that wish. When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,.... The land of Canaan:

and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; be entirely in the possession of it, and settled in it; it seems to denote some time of continuance in it, as it was, before they thought of setting a king over them, about which are the following instructions:

and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are round about me; which was what would and did lead them to such a thought and resolution; observing that the neighbouring nations had kings over them, they were desirous of being like them as to the form of their civil government, and have a king as they had. De 17:14-20. The Election and Duty of a King.

14. When thou … shalt say, I will set a king over me—In the following passage Moses prophetically announces a revolution which should occur at a later period in the national history of Israel. No sanction or recommendation was indicated; on the contrary, when the popular clamor had effected that constitutional change on the theocracy by the appointment of a king, the divine disapproval was expressed in the most unequivocal terms (1Sa 8:7). Permission at length was granted, God reserving to Himself the nomination of the family and the person who should be elevated to the regal dignity (1Sa 9:15; 10:24; 16:12; 1Ch 28:4). In short, Moses foreseeing that his ignorant and fickle countrymen, insensible to their advantages as a peculiar people, would soon wish to change their constitution and be like other nations, provides to a certain extent for such an emergency and lays down the principles on which a king in Israel must act. He was to possess certain indispensable requisites. He was to be an Israelite, of the same race and religion, to preserve the purity of the established worship, as well as be a type of Christ, a spiritual king, one of their brethren.17:14-20 God himself was in a particular manner Israel's King; and if they set another over them, it was necessary that he should choose the person. Accordingly, when the people desired a king, they applied to Samuel, a prophet of the Lord. In all cases, God's choice, if we can but know it, should direct, determine, and overrule ours. Laws are given for the prince that should be elected. He must carefully avoid every thing that would turn him from God and religion. Riches, honours, and pleasures, are three great hinderances of godliness, (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life,) especially to those in high stations; against these the king is here warned. The king must carefully study the law of God, and make that his rule; and having a copy of the Scriptures of his own writing, must read therein all the days of his life. It is not enough to have Bibles, but we must use them, use them daily, as long as we live. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bibles, but will have constant occasion for them, till they come to that world where knowledge and love will be made perfect. The king's writing and reading were as nothing, if he did not practise what he wrote and read. And those who fear God and keep his commandments, will fare the better for it even in this world.
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