|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 15. - The prohibition to choose a foreigner indicates that the people had the right of election. In what way this was to be exercised, and how it was subject to the Divine choice, is not declared. Judging from what actually happened in subsequent history, it would appear that only on special occasions, such as the election of the first king or a change of dynasty, did God take the initiative, and through a prophet direct the choice of the people; ultimately the monarchy became hereditary, and it was understood that the prince who succeeded to the throne did so with the Divine approval, unless the opposite was expressly intimated by a message from God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall choose,.... The Jews take this to be a command to set a king over them: whereas it is only a permission in case they should desire and determine on having one, as God foresaw they would; and this with a limitation and restriction to appoint none but whom God should choose, and which was their duty and interest to attend unto; for none could choose better for them, and was what he had a right unto, and it became them to submit to it, since he was their King in a civil and special sense, and another was only his viceregent; accordingly we find, when they expressed their desire to have a king in the time of Samuel, and it was granted, though not without some resentment, the Lord chose their first king for them, Saul, and, after him, David, and even Solomon, David's son; and though, in later times, they appointed kings without consulting him, it is complained of, Hosea 8:4 hence this clause is prefaced in the Targum of Jonathan,
"ye shall seek instruction from the Lord, and after set him king, &c.''which was to be done by the mouth of a prophet, or by Urim, as Aben Ezra observes:
one from among thy brethren shall thou set king over thee: that is, one of their own nation, an Israelite, a brother both by nation and religion:
thou mayest not set a stranger over thee that is not thy brother; one of another nation, that is not of the family of Israel, as Aben Ezra notes, even not an Edomite, though called sometimes their brother; and Herod, who was an Idumean, was set up, not by them, but by the Romans; now in this their king was a type of the King Messiah, of whom it is said, "their nobles shall be of themselves", Jeremiah 30:21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother—that is, by their free and voluntary choice. But God, in the retributions of His providence, did allow foreign princes to usurp the dominion (Jer 38:17; Mt 22:17).
Deuteronomy 17:15 Parallel Commentaries
Deuteronomy 17:15 NIV
Deuteronomy 17:15 NLT
Deuteronomy 17:15 ESV
Deuteronomy 17:15 NASB
Deuteronomy 17:15 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible