Deuteronomy 17:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, "You are not to go back that way again."

New Living Translation
"The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the LORD has told you, 'You must never return to Egypt.'

English Standard Version
Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’

New American Standard Bible
"Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.'

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
However, he must not acquire many horses for himself or send the people back to Egypt to acquire many horses, for the LORD has told you, 'You are never to go back that way again.'

International Standard Version
Only he must not amass horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt to obtain more horses. For the LORD said you must never return that way again.

NET Bible
Moreover, he must not accumulate horses for himself or allow the people to return to Egypt to do so, for the LORD has said you must never again return that way.

New Heart English Bible
Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because the LORD has said to you, "You shall not go back that way again."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The king must never own a large number of horses or make the people return to Egypt to get more horses. The LORD has told you, "You will never go back there again."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Only 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.'

New American Standard 1977
“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’

Jubilee Bible 2000
Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; for the LORD has said unto you, Ye shall not procure to return any more to that way.

King James 2000 Bible
But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: since as the LORD has said unto you, you shall return no more that way again.

American King James Version
But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: for as much as the LORD has said to you, You shall from now on return no more that way.

American Standard Version
Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; forasmuch as Jehovah hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he is made king, he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor lead back the people into Egypt, being lifted up with the number of his horsemen, especially since the Lord hath commanded you to return no more the same way.

Darby Bible Translation
Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor lead back the people to Egypt, to multiply horses; for Jehovah hath said unto you, Ye shall not return again any more that way.

English Revised Version
Only 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.

Webster's Bible Translation
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 to you, ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

World English Bible
Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, "You shall not go back that way again."

Young's Literal Translation
'Only, he doth not multiply to himself horses, nor cause the people to turn back to Egypt, so as to multiply horses, seeing Jehovah hath said to you, Ye do not add to turn back in this way any more.
Study Bible
Election and Duties of Kings
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. 16"Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' 17"He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.…
Cross References
Exodus 13:17
Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt."

Exodus 13:18
Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.

1 Kings 4:26
Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.

1 Kings 10:26
Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.

1 Kings 10:28
Also Solomon's import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king's merchants procured them from Kue for a price.

2 Chronicles 1:16
Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue; the king's traders procured them from Kue for a price.

2 Chronicles 9:25
Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.

Psalm 20:7
Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

Isaiah 2:7
Their land has also been filled with silver and gold And there is no end to their treasures; Their land has also been filled with horses And there is no end to their chariots.

Isaiah 31:1
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!
Treasury of Scripture

But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: for as much as the LORD has said to you, You shall from now on return no more that way.

multiply horses Multiplying horses for chariots of war and cavalry, or for luxury, would increase the splendour of a monarch, and form a ground of confidence distinct from a proper confidence in God, and inconsistent with it, and with considering as the glory of Israel. Egypt abounded in horses; and the desire of multiplying these would induce the prince to encourage a trade with that kingdom; and this might make way the Israelites being again subjugated by the Egyptians, or at least corrupted by their idolatries and vices. Whereas, it was the command of God that they should no more return thither, but be totally detached from them. Besides, they might be tempted to extend their dominion by means of cavalry, and so get scattered among the surrounding idolatrous nations, and thus cease to be that distinct, separate people, which God intended they should be.

1 Samuel 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign …

2 Samuel 8:4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, …

1 Kings 1:5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will …

1 Kings 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, …

1 Kings 10:26-28 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a …

2 Chronicles 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and …

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember …

Isaiah 36:8,9 Now therefore give pledges, I pray you, to my master the king of …

Hosea 14:3 Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride on horses: neither will …

cause

Isaiah 31:1-3 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and …

Jeremiah 42:14 Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall …

Ezekiel 17:15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, …

Ye shall henceforth

Deuteronomy 28:68 And the LORD shall bring you into Egypt again with ships, by the …

Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God …

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, Fear you not, stand still, and see …

Numbers 14:3,4 And why has the LORD brought us to this land, to fall by the sword, …

Jeremiah 42:15,16 And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, you remnant of Judah; …

Hosea 11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall …

Verses 16, 17. - Certain rules are prescribed for the king. It is forbidden to him to multiply horses, to multiply wives, and to amass large treasures of silver and gold, and he must have a copy of the Law written out for him from that kept by the priests, that he might have it by him, and read it all the days of his life. The multiplying of horses is prohibited, because this would bring Israel into intercourse and friendly relations with Egypt, and might tend to their going back to that country from which they had been so marvelously delivered; a prohibition which could only have been given at an early stage in the history of the people, for at a later period, after they had been well established in Canaan, such a prohibition for such a reason would have been simply ridiculous. The prohibition to multiply wives and to amass large treasures has respect to the usage common from the earliest period with Oriental monarchs to have vast harems and huge accumulations of the precious metals, as much for ostentation as for either luxury or use; and as there was no small danger of the King of Israel being seduced to follow this usage, and so to have his heart turned away from the Lord, it was fitting that such a prohibition should be prospectively enacted for his guidance. Both these prohibitions were neglected by Solomon, and probably by others of the Jewish kings; but this only indicates that the law was so ancient that it had come in their time to be regarded as obsolete. The rule that the king was to write him a copy of the Law for his own constant use does not necessarily imply that he was to write this with his own hand; he might cause it to be written by some qualified scribe for him. But he shall not multiply horses to himself,.... That he might not put his trust and confidence in outward things, as some are apt to trust in horses and chariots; and that he might not tyrannise over and distress his subjects by keeping a number of horses and chariots as a standing army, and chiefly for a reason that follows; he was to have no more than for his own chariot, so Jarchi, and so the Misnah (g) and Maimonides (h); the Targum of Jonathan restrains it to two:

nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; which was a country that abounded with them, and therefore he was not to encourage, and much less oblige his subjects to travel thither or trade with that people for the sake of increasing his stock of horses, Isaiah 31:1.

forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, ye shall henceforth return no more that way; not that going into Egypt on any account whatsoever was forbidden, as for trade and merchandise in other things, or for shelter and safety, for which some good men fled thither; but for outward help and assistance against enemies, and for horses on that account, and particularly in order to dwell there, from which the Jews in the times of Jeremiah were dissuaded by him, and threatened by the Lord with destruction, in case they should, Jeremiah 42:15. When the Lord said this is not certain; it may be when they proposed to make a captain, and return unto Egypt; or he said this in his providence, this was the language of it ever since they came out of it, or however this he now said; see Deuteronomy 28:68.

(g) Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 4. (h) Hilchot Melachim, c. 3. sect. 3.16. he shall not multiply horses to himself—The use of these animals was not absolutely prohibited, nor is there any reason to conclude that they might not be employed as part of the state equipage. But the multiplication of horses would inevitably lead to many evils, to increased intercourse with foreign nations, especially with Egypt, to the importation of an animal to which the character of the country was not suited, to the establishment of an Oriental military despotism, to proud and pompous parade in peace, to a dependence upon Egypt in time of war, and a consequent withdrawal of trust and confidence in God. (2Sa 8:4; 1Ki 10:26; 2Ch 1:16; 9:28; Isa 31:3).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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