“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…’” Deuteronomy 17:14
Deuteronomy 17: 14-20 gives God’s commandments concerning the king the Israelites would appoint over themselves. These verses list three negatives about a king and three positives about him. The negatives are listed in verses 16-17where it says that a king should not multiply his horses, multiply his wives, or increase his silver and gold.
The positives are found in verses 18-20. These are that the king will copy God’s law onto a scroll for himself, he will keep this with him, and he will learn from it.
But what is the deeper meaning contained in these verses? The real lesson of these verses is that the king (or any of us) should place trust in God alone. If a king multiplied his horses, he would be increasing his military power (trusting in his military power). If he multiplied his wives, he would be making alliances with the nations from which his various wives came or trusting in pacts with other nations (trusting in his negotiation skills and / or the strength of his allies). And if he multiplied his silver and gold he would be trusting in his riches. Instead he should know God’s word, keep God’s word with him, and learn from it or in other words, he should be trusting in God only.
Jeremiah 9:23-23 makes this point when he writes,
“Let not a wise man boast in his wisdom and let not a mighty man trust in his might, let not a rich man trust in his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things declares the Lord.”