Deuteronomy 17:19
And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
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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.It is in striking consistency with the dignity which everywhere throughout the Mosaic legislation surrounds the chosen people of God, that even if they will be "like as all the nations about" Deuteronomy 17:14, and be governed by a king, care should nevertheless be taken that he shall be no Oriental despot. He is to be of no royal caste, but "one from among thy brethren" Deuteronomy 17:15; he is to bear himself as a kind of "primus inter pares," his heart "not being lifted up above his brethren" Deuteronomy 17:20; he is, like his subjects, to be bound by the fundamental laws and institutions of the nation, and obliged, as they were, to do his duty in his station of life with constant reference thereto. The spirit of the text is that of Matthew 23:9.

A copy of this law - The whole Pentateuch, or, at any rate, the legal portion of the Pentateuch.

A book ... before the priests the Levites - Compare the marginal reference.

18-20. he shall write him a copy of this law in a book—The original scroll of the ancient Scriptures was deposited in the sanctuary under the strict custody of the priests (see on [150]De 31:26; [151]2Ki 22:8). Each monarch, on his accession, was to be furnished with a true and faithful copy, which he was to keep constantly beside him, and daily peruse it, that his character and sentiments being cast into its sanctifying mould, he might discharge his royal functions in the spirit of faith and piety, of humility and a love or righteousness. All the days of his life, i.e. diligently and constantly; neither the greatness of his place, nor the weight and multitude, of his business, shall excuse or hinder him. And it shall be with him,.... Always, when at home or abroad, sitting on his throne or lying down, or wherever he went, unless in such places where it was not proper to read it, as the Jews observe (o): and he shall read therein all the days of his life; every day of his life; meditate on it night and day, as a good man does, that he might be well versed in it, and know how to govern his people according to it:

that he may learn to, fear the Lord his God; to serve and worship him both internally and externally, he having the fear of God always before his eyes, and on his heart, which the holy law of God directs to and instructs in:

to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes, to do them; not only such as concerned him as a king, but all others that concerned him as a man, a creature subject to the Lord, and as an Israelite belonging to the church and commonwealth of Israel, and so includes all laws, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.

(o) Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 3. sect. 1.

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
19. it shall be with him] Joshua 1:8.

that he may learn to fear, etc.] See on Deuteronomy 4:10, Deuteronomy 14:23.

to keep … to do] See on Deuteronomy 5:1.Verse 19. - And it shall be with him, etc. It was to be carefully kept by him, but not as a mere sacred deposit or palladium; it was to be constantly with him wherever he was, was to be the object of his continual study, and was to be the directory and guide of his daily life (cf. Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:15, 16, 24, 97-99, etc.). No one was to resist in pride, to refuse to listen to the priest or to the judge. Resistance to the priest took place when any one was dissatisfied with his interpretation of the law; to the judge, when any one was discontented with the sentence that was passed on the basis of the law. Such refractory conduct was to be punished with death, as rebellion against God, in whose name the right had been spoken (Deuteronomy 1:17). (On Deuteronomy 17:13, see Deuteronomy 13:12.)
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