Deuteronomy 17:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

King James Bible
That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

American Standard Version
that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And that his heart be not lifted up with pride over his brethren, nor decline to the right or to the left, that he and his sons may reign a long time over Israel.

English Revised Version
that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Webster's Bible Translation
That his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Deuteronomy 17:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Choice and Right of the King. - Deuteronomy 17:14, Deuteronomy 17:15. If Israel, when dwelling in the land which was given it by the Lord for a possession, should wish to appoint a king, like all the nations round about, it was to appoint the man whom Jehovah its God should choose, and that from among its brethren, i.e., from its own people, not a foreigner or non-Israelite. The earthly kingdom in Israel was not opposed to the theocracy, i.e., to the rule of Jehovah as king over the people of His possession, provided no one was made king but the person whom Jehovah should choose. The appointment of a king is not commanded, like the institution of judges (Deuteronomy 16:18), because Israel could exist under the government of Jehovah, even without an earthly king; it is simply permitted, in case the need should arise for a regal government. There was no necessity to describe more minutely the course to be adopted, as the people possessed the natural provision for the administration of their national affairs in their well-organized tribes, by whom this point could be decided. Moses also omits to state more particularly in what way Jehovah would make known the choice of the king to be appointed. The congregation, no doubt, possessed one means of asking the will of the Lord in the Urim and Thummim of the high priest, provided the Lord did not reveal His will in a different manner, namely through a prophet, as He did in the election of Saul and David (1 Samuel 8-9, and 16). The commandment not to choose a foreigner, acknowledged the right of the nation to choose. Consequently the choice on the part of the Lord may have consisted simply in His pointing out to the people, in a very evident manner, the person they were to elect, or in His confirming the choice by word and act, as in accordance with His will.

Three rules are laid down for the king himself in Deuteronomy 17:16-20. In the first place, he was not to keep many horses, or lead back the people to Egypt, to multiply horses, because Jehovah had forbidden the people to return thither by that way. The notion of modern critics, that there is an allusion in this prohibition to the constitution of the kingdom under Solomon, is so far from having any foundation, that the reason assigned - namely, the fear lest the king should lead back the people to Egypt from his love of horses, "to the end that he should multiply horses" - really precludes the time of Solomon, inasmuch as the time had then long gone by when any thought could have been entertained of leading back the people to Egypt. But such a reason would be quite in its place in Moses' time, and only then, "when it would not seem impossible to reunite the broken band, and when the people were ready to express their longing, and even their intention, to return to Egypt on the very slightest occasion; whereas the reason assigned for the prohibition might have furnished Solomon with an excuse for regarding the prohibition itself as merely a temporary one, which was no longer binding" (Oehler in Herzog's Cyclopaedia: vid., Hengstenberg's Dissertations).

(Note: When Riehm objects to this, that if such a prohibition had been unnecessary in a future age, in which the people had reached the full consciousness of its national independence, and every thought of the possibility of a reunion with the Egyptians had disappeared, Moses would never have issued it, since he must have foreseen the national independence of the people; the force of this objection rests simply upon his confounding foreseeing with assuming, and upon a thoroughly mistaken view of the prophet's vision of the future. Even if Moses, as "a great prophet," did foresee the future national independence of Israel, he had also had such experience of the fickle character of the people, that he could not regard the thought of returning to Egypt as absolutely an impossible one, even after the conquest of Canaan, or reject it as inconceivable. Moreover, the prophetic foresight of Moses was not, as Riehm imagines it, a foreknowledge of all the separate points in the historical development of the nation, much less a foreknowledge of the thoughts and desires of the heart, which might arise in the course of time amidst the changes that would take place in the nation. A foresight of the development of Israel into national independence, so far as we may attribute it to Moses as a prophet, was founded not upon the character of the people, but upon the divine choice and destination of Israel, which by no means precluded the possibility of their desiring to return to Egypt, even at some future time, since God Himself had threatened the people with dispersion among the heathen as the punishment for continued transgression of His covenant, and yet, notwithstanding this dispersion, had predicted the ultimate realization of His covenant of grace. And when Riehm still further observes, that the taste for horses, which lay at the foundation of this fear, evidently points to a later time, when the old repugnance to cavalry which existed in the nation in the days of the judges, and even under David, had disappeared; this supposed repugnance to cavalry is a fiction of the critic himself, without any historical foundation. For nothing more is related in the history, than that before the time of Solomon the Israelites had not cultivated the rearing of horses, and that David only kept 100 of the war-horses taken from the Syrians for himself, and had the others put to death (2 Samuel 8:4). And so long as horses were neither reared nor possessed by the Israelites, there can be no ground for speaking of the old repugnance to cavalry. On the other hand, the impossibility of tracing this prohibition to the historical circumstances of the time of Solomon, or even a later age, is manifest in the desperate subterfuge to which Riehm has recourse, when he connects this passage with the threat in Deuteronomy 28:68, that if all the punishments suspended over them should be ineffectual, God would carry them back in ships to Egypt, and that they should there be sold to their enemies as men-servants and maid-servants, and then discovers a proof in this, that the Egyptian king Psammetichus, who sought out foreign soldiers and employed them, had left king Manasseh some horses, solely on the condition that he sent him some Israelitish infantry, and placed them at his disposal. But this is not expounding Scripture; it is putting hypotheses into it. As Oehler has already observed, this hypothesis has no foundation whatever in the Old Testament, nor (we may add) in the accounts of Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus concerning Psammetichus. According to Diod. (i. 66), Psammetichus hired soldiers from Arabia, Caria, and Ionia; and according to Herodotus (i. 152), he hired Ionians and Carians armed with brass, that he might conquer his rival kings with their assistance. But neither of these historians says anything at all about Israelitish infantry. And even if it were conceivable that any king of Israel or Judah could carry on such traffic in men, as to sell his own subjects to the Egyptians for horses, it is very certain that the prophets, who condemned every alliance with foreign kings, and were not silent with regard to Manasseh's idolatry, would not have passed over such an abomination as this without remark or without reproof.)

The second admonition also, that the king was not to take to himself many wives, and turn away his heart (sc., from the Lord), nor greatly multiply to himself silver and gold, can be explained without the hypothesis that there is an allusion to Solomon's reign, although this king did transgress both commands (1 Kings 10:14. Deuteronomy 11:1.). A richly furnished harem, and the accumulation of silver and gold, were inseparably connected with the luxury of Oriental monarchs generally; so that the fear was a very natural one, that the future king of Israel might follow the general customs of the heathen in these respects.

Deuteronomy 17:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

his heart

Deuteronomy 8:2,13,14 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you...

2 Kings 14:10 You have indeed smitten Edom, and your heart has lifted you up: glory of this, and tarry at home...

2 Chronicles 25:19 You say, See, you have smitten the Edomites; and your heart lifts you up to boast: abide now at home...

2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God...

2 Chronicles 32:25,26 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done to him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath on him...

2 Chronicles 33:12,19 And when he was in affliction, he sought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers...

2 Chronicles 34:27 Because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before God, when you heard his words against this place...

Psalm 131:1,2 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me...

Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and on every one that is lifted up...

Daniel 5:20-23 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne...

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh...

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility...

he turn

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it...

Deuteronomy 5:32 You shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God has commanded you: you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Deuteronomy 12:25,28,32 You shall not eat it; that it may go well with you, and with your children after you...

1 Kings 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD...

right hand

Deuteronomy 17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do...

1 Samuel 13:13,14 And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly: you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you...

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD...

1 Kings 11:12,13,34,36 Notwithstanding in your days I will not do it for David your father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of your son...

2 Kings 10:30 And the LORD said to Jehu, Because you have done well in executing that which is right in my eyes...

Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 132:12 If your children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them...

Proverbs 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and does the crown endure to every generation?

Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he fears not before God.

that he

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Cross References
Deuteronomy 5:32
You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

1 Kings 15:5
because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Psalm 119:102
I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.

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