Chapter 2ב׳
1 א

כָּבוֹד גָּדוֹל נוֹהֲגִין בַּמֶּלֶךְ. וּמְשִׂימִין לוֹ אֵימָה וְיִרְאָה בְּלֵב כָּל אָדָם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז טו) "שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים" שֶׁתְּהֵא אֵימָתוֹ עָלֶיךָ. אֵין רוֹכְבִין עַל סוּסוֹ. וְאֵין יוֹשְׁבִין עַל כִּסְאוֹ. וְאֵין מִשְׁתַּמְּשִׁין בְּשַׁרְבִיטוֹ. וְלֹא בְּכִתְרוֹ. וְלֹא בְּאֶחָד מִכָּל כְּלֵי תַּשְׁמִישָׁיו. וּכְשֶׁהוּא מֵת כֻּלָּן נִשְׂרָפִין לְפָנָיו. וְכֵן לֹא יִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בַּעֲבָדָיו וְשִׁפְחוֹתָיו וְשַׁמָּשָׁיו אֶלָּא מֶלֶךְ אַחֵר. לְפִיכָךְ אֲבִישַׁג הָיְתָה מֻתֶּרֶת לִשְׁלֹמֹה וַאֲסוּרָה לַאֲדוֹנִיָּה:

The king must receive great honor. He is to be venerated and feared by everyone, as it says, “Surely, shall you place” (Deut. 17:15) – that is, his awe is to be upon you. No one may ride his horse, sit on his chair6Or, throne., use his scepter or his crown or any of his serving vessels7Or, his appurtenances.. When he dies, all of these are destroyed by fire. His slaves, maidservants and attendants may not be employed by anyone except by another king. For this reason Avishag was permitted to Solomon, but not to Adoniyoh.

2 ב

אֲבָל אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ אֵינָהּ נִבְעֶלֶת לְאַחֵר לְעוֹלָם. אֲפִלּוּ הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינוֹ נוֹשֵׂא אַלְמָנָתוֹ אוֹ גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ אַחֵר:

No one else may ever have marital relations with a wife of a king. Even a king may not marry the widow or divorcee of a different king.

3 ג

וְאָסוּר לִרְאוֹתוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא עֵרוֹם וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהוּא מִסְתַּפֵּר. וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהוּא בְּבֵית הַמֶּרְחָץ. וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהוּא מִסְתַּפֵּג. וְאֵינוֹ חוֹלֵץ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ט) "וְיָרְקָה בְּפָנָיו" וְזֶה בִּזָּיוֹן. וַאֲפִלּוּ רָצָה אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁמָּחַל עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ אֵין כְּבוֹדוֹ מָחוּל. וְהוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ חוֹלֵץ אֵינוֹ מְיַבֵּם. וְכֵן [אִם מֵת הוּא] כֵּיוָן שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְיַבֵּם אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ כָּךְ אֵין חוֹלְצִין לָהּ אֶלָּא תֵּשֵׁב לְעוֹלָם בְּזִקָּתָהּ:

It is forbidden to see a king naked or when he is having his hair cut or when he is in the bathhouse or when he is drying himself off. He does not perform Chalitzoh8Divorce the wife of his deceased, childless brother., as it says, “and she shall spit before him9Or, in his face.” (Deut. 25:9) since this would be a disgrace. We do not listen to him even if he allows it because a king cannot forgo his own honor. Since he cannot perform Chalitzoh, he cannot perform Yibum10Levirate marriage with his sister-in-law.. And since it is not possible to perform Yibum with his wife, Chalitzoh is not performed with her either. She will forever remain “bound to her husband”.

4 ד

מֵת לוֹ מֵת אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא מִפֶּתַח פַּלְטֵרִין שֶׁלּוֹ. וּכְשֶׁמַּבְרִין אוֹתוֹ כָּל הָעָם מְסֻבִּין עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא מֵסֵב עַל הַדַּרְגָּשׁ. וְאִם נִכְנַס לָעֲזָרָה וְהָיָה מִזֶּרַע דָּוִד יֵשֵׁב. שֶׁאֵין יְשִׁיבָה בָּעֲזָרָה אֶלָּא לְמַלְכֵי בֵּית דָּוִד בִּלְבַד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב ז יח) "וַיָּבֹא הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד וַיֵּשֶׁב לִפְנֵי ה'":

Should one of the king’s relatives die, the king must not pass the threshold of his palace11Or, chambers.. When he is being comforted12With the mourner’s meal., the entire nation sits on the ground and he sits on an ottoman13Or, footstool.. If he was a descendent of David, he may sit in the Courtyard (Azaroh) of the Temple since only kings from the House of David may sit in the Temple Courtyard, as it says, “And King David came, and he sat before G-d” (II Samuel 7:18, I Chronicles 17:16).

5 ה

הַמֶּלֶךְ מִסְתַּפֵּר בְּכָל יוֹם. וּמְתַקֵּן עַצְמוֹ וּמִתְנָאֶה בְּמַלְבּוּשִׁין נָאִים וּמְפֹאָרִים. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה לג יז) "מֶלֶךְ בְּיָפְיוֹ תֶּחֱזֶינָה עֵינֶיךָ". וְיוֹשֵׁב עַל כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ בַּפַּלְטֵרִין שֶׁלּוֹ. וּמֵשִׂים כֶּתֶר בְּרֹאשׁוֹ. וְכָל הָעָם בָּאִין אֵלָיו בְּעֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. וְעוֹמְדִין לְפָנָיו וּמִשְׁתַּחֲוִים אַרְצָה. אֲפִלּוּ נָבִיא עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ מִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אַרְצָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א א כג) "הִנֵּה נָתָן הַנָּבִיא וַיָּבֹא לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לַמֶּלֶךְ". אֲבָל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֵינוֹ בָּא לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶלָּא אִם רָצָה. וְאֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד לְפָנָיו אֶלָּא הַמֶּלֶךְ עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כז כא) "וְלִפְנֵי אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן יַעֲמֹד". אַף עַל פִּי כֵן מִצְוָה עַל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לְכַבֵּד אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ וּלְהוֹשִׁיבוֹ וְלַעֲמֹד מִפָּנָיו כְּשֶׁיָּבוֹא לוֹ. וְלֹא יַעֲמֹד הַמֶּלֶךְ לְפָנָיו אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁאַל לוֹ בְּמִשְׁפַּט הָאוּרִים. וְכֵן מִצְוָה עַל הַמֶּלֶךְ לְכַבֵּד לוֹמְדֵי הַתּוֹרָה. וּכְשֶׁיִּכָּנְסוּ לְפָנָיו סַנְהֶדְרִין וְחַכְמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵיהֶם וְיוֹשִׁיבֵם בְּצִדּוֹ. וְכֵן הָיָה יְהוֹשָׁפָט מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה עוֹשֶׂה אֲפִלּוּ לְתַלְמִיד חָכָם הָיָה עוֹמֵד מִכִּסְאוֹ וּמְנַשְּׁקוֹ וְקוֹרֵא לוֹ רַבִּי וּמוֹרִי. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבֵיתוֹ לְבַדּוֹ הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו יַעֲשֶׂה זֶה בְּצִנְעָה. אֲבָל בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא בִּפְנֵי הָעָם לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה. וְלֹא יַעֲמֹד מִפְּנֵי אָדָם. וְלֹא יְדַבֵּר רַכּוֹת. וְלֹא יִקְרָא לְאָדָם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁמוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּהֵא יִרְאָתוֹ בְּלֵב הַכּל:

The king gets his hair cut every day. He grooms himself and adorns himself in resplendent garments, as it says, “your eyes shall gaze upon the king in his beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). The king sits on a throne in his palace and he wears a crown on his head. The entire nation comes to him when he wants, and stands before him and bows to the ground. Even a prophet stands before the king and bows to the ground, as it says, “…behold, Nathan the Prophet; and he came in before the king and bowed down to the king with his face to the ground” (I Kings 1:23). However, the Kohen Godol does not appear before the king unless he14The Kohen Godol. wants to nor does he stand before him. Rather, the king stands before the Kohen Godol, as it says, “and he stood before Eliezer the Kohen” (Numbers 27:21). Nevertheless, the Kohen Godol is commanded to honor the king, he seats him, and stands before him when he comes to him. The king should not stand before him unless he is there to ask of the Urim. The king must give honor to those who study Torah. When the Sanhedrin and the Sages of Israel enter, he must stand for them and he seats them by his side. So did Asa15In some editions: Yehoshofat. King of Judah do when he stood up from his throne for a Torah scholar and kissed him and called him “my rabbi, and my teacher”. This applies when the king is at home alone with only his servants present, and he does this and similar things privately. But in public, before the people, he does not do this. Then he stands for no one and does not speak gently and does not call any one, but by his name. This is so that reverence16Lit., awe. for him will fill the hearts of all.

6 ו

כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁחָלַק לוֹ הַכָּתוּב הַכָּבוֹד הַגָּדוֹל. וְחִיֵּב הַכּל בִּכְבוֹדוֹ. כָּךְ צִוָּהוּ לִהְיוֹת לִבּוֹ בְּקִרְבּוֹ שָׁפָל וְחָלָל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים קט כב) "וְלִבִּי חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי". וְלֹא יִנְהַג גַּסּוּת לֵב בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל יֶתֶר מִדַּאי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז כ) "לְבִלְתִּי רוּם לְבָבוֹ מֵאֶחָיו". וְיִהְיֶה חוֹנֵן וּמְרַחֵם לִקְטַנִּים וּגְדוֹלִים. וְיֵצֵא וְיָבוֹא בְּחֶפְצֵיהֶם וּבְטוֹבָתָם. וְיָחוּס עַל כְּבוֹד קָטָן שֶׁבַּקְּטַנִּים. וּכְשֶׁמְּדַבֵּר אֶל כָּל הַקָּהָל בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבִּים יְדַבֵּר רַכּוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים א כח ב) "שְׁמָעוּנִי אַחַי וְעַמִּי". וְאוֹמֵר (מלכים א יב ז) "אִם הַיּוֹם תִּהְיֶה עֶבֶד לָעָם הַזֶּה" וְגוֹ'. לְעוֹלָם יִתְנַהֵג בַּעֲנָוָה יְתֵרָה. אֵין לָנוּ גָּדוֹל מִמּשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ וְהוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות טז ח) "וְנַחְנוּ מָה לֹא עָלֵינוּ תְלֻנֹּתֵיכֶם". וְיִסְבּל טָרְחָם וּמַשָּׂאָם וּתְלוּנוֹתָם וְקִצְפָּם כַּאֲשֶׁר יִשָּׂא הָאוֹמֵן אֶת הַיּוֹנֵק. רוֹעֶה קְרָאוֹ הַכָּתוּב. לִרְעוֹת בְּיַעֲקֹב עַמּוֹ. וְדַרְכּוֹ שֶׁל רוֹעֶה מְפֹרָשׁ בְּקַבָּלָה כְּרֹעֶה עֶדְרוֹ יִרְעֶה בִּזְרֹעוֹ יְקַבֵּץ טְלָאִים וּבְחֵיקוֹ יִשָּׂא וְגוֹ':

In the same way that Scriptures has given him great honor, and everyone is obliged to give him honor, so has he been commanded to be of a subdued and unpretentious heart, as it says, “and my heart is empty within me” (Psalms 109:22). He must not act overly haughty towards Israel, as it says, “lest his heart become haughty over his brothers” (Deut. 17:20). He must be merciful and compassionate to the small and great with regard17Lit., and deal with. to their wants and welfare. He must show respect for even the lowest of the low. When he speaks to the entire Congregation together, he is to speak sensitively, as it says, “listen to me my brothers and my people” (I Chronicles 28:2) and “and should you today be a servant to your people…” (I Kings 12:7). He must always behave with extreme modesty, for we have never had anyone greater than Moses Our Teacher who said, “and what are we? your complaint is not against us” (Exodus 16:7-8). He must suffer their burdens and criticisms and anger, “as a nursing father carries the sucking child” (Num. 11:12). Scriptures calls him ‘shepherd’, “To be a shepherd over Jacob His people” (Psalms 78:71), and the (proper) behavior of a shepherd is as has been defined in the Tradition, as it says, “As a shepherd who leads his flock, and with his arm he gathers the lambs, and in his breast he carries….” (Isaiah 40:11).