The King and His Torah
The King and His Torah
According to Deuteronomy 17:18-20, the king of Israel was to hand write his own copy of the law. According to one writer (Boaz Michael), the rules among the Jewish people for such a copy included the following:
"All of the materials used to produce a Torah scroll must be kosher. The parchment itself can only be from a clean beast or bird (excluding fish), as set out in Leviticus 11. Usually this is goat, cow or deer skin. The parchment must be designated for use as a Torah scroll.
The first part of the preparation process is to soak it in limewater for nine days to remove the hair and make it durable. It is then stretched out to dry over a wooden frame. The parchment is scraped by hand and sanded by machine to ensure that any leftover hairs are removed.
After this process is finished, it is cut into a sheet (veriah) that is twenty-four inches wide. The final scroll will require between sixty-two and eighty-four of these rectangular sheets. [According to another source the length of an average Torah would be between 140-148 feet long].
According to this same writer it would normally take a scribe working full time about one year to complete the writing. Since the king would be busy with many other activities is would undoubtedly take longer. While such 'rules' of kosher writing material probably developed after the first of the kings, still it shows that obtaining the very material to write on would require effort.
The writing of this was not just an exercise in handwriting, it was to be with the king and he was to read it all the days of his life. Having the word of God and reading it are not the same. Reading it to read is not the same as reading to understand and do. The example of Ezra fits here for it says that the "good hand of his God was on him for Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel" (Ezra 7:9-10). So it should be with the king. He should write it, keep it handy, read it, and do it all the days of his life.
The reading of it with understanding would keep the king from becoming arrogant and proud. He would realize that being king was a means of serving God. It was God's people that he was king over. He was to exercise his rule as king to help the people be faithful unto God. This would of course begin in his own heart where he would learn to "reverence the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left" (Deut. 17:20).
One wonders if David or Solomon did this. In the very context of this was the commandment for the king to NOT multiply horses, wives, or gold. That makes it rather apparent that Solomon at least did not follow such rules for the king. What a different story the Old Testament would have been if the kings had just done what God asked of them.
What a different story OUR lives would be if we would grasp the principle set forth here. If we would at least read from God's word all the days of our lives. We would be kept from being arrogant, proud, and puffed up. We would keep our lives on the straight pathway and not turn to the left or the right.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 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.