Chapter 3ג׳
1 א

בְּעֵת שֶׁיֵּשֵׁב הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ כּוֹתֵב לוֹ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה לְעַצְמוֹ יֶתֶר עַל הַסֵּפֶר שֶׁהִנִּיחוּ לוֹ אֲבוֹתָיו. וּמַגִּיהוֹ מִסֵּפֶר הָעֲזָרָה עַל פִּי בֵּית דִּין שֶׁל שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד. אִם לֹא הִנִּיחוּ לוֹ אֲבוֹתָיו אוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱבַד כּוֹתֵב שְׁנֵי סִפְרֵי תּוֹרָה. אֶחָד מַנִּיחוֹ בְּבֵית גְּנָזָיו שֶׁהוּא מְצֻוֶּה בּוֹ כְּכָל אֶחָד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. וְהַשֵּׁנִי לֹא יָזוּז מִלְּפָנָיו אֶלָּא בְּעֵת שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא. אוֹ לְבֵית הַמֶּרְחָץ. אוֹ לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין רָאוּי לִקְרִיאָה. יוֹצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה וְהוּא עִמּוֹ. נִכְנָס וְהוּא עִמּוֹ. יוֹשֵׁב בַּדִּין וְהוּא עִמּוֹ. מֵסֵב וְהוּא כְּנֶגְדּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יט) "וְהָיְתָה עִמּוֹ וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּיו":

When the king sits on the throne of his monarchy, he must write a Sefer Torah for himself, this in addition to the Sifrei Torah which were left for him by his forefathers. He checks his Sefer against the one18It was an ancient Sefer Torah. in the Temple Courtyard, in accordance with the Court of Seventy-One. If his forefathers did not leave him a Sefer or if it was lost, he has to write two Sifrei Torah. The first one will be kept in his Repository; this is the same Commandment which all of Israel must observe. The second one must never leave his side, other than when he goes to the lavatory or the bath or a place where it would be improper to read from it19e.g. a cemetery.. When he goes to war, it is with him. When he returns, it is with him. When he sits in judgment, it is with him. When he eats20Lit., reclines., it is next to him, as it says, “And it shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life” (Deut. 17:19).

2 ב

לֹא יַרְבֶּה לוֹ נָשִׁים. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֵחַ עַד שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה נָשִׁים בֵּין הַנָּשִׁים וּפִלַּגְשִׁים הַכּל שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה. וְאִם הוֹסִיף אַחַת וּבְעָלָהּ לוֹקֶה. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְגָרֵשׁ וְלִשָּׂא אַחֶרֶת תַּחַת זוֹ שֶׁגֵּרֵשׁ:

"He must not have too many women" (Deut. 17:17). By Tradition we have learned that he may have up to eighteen women including wives21Those with a marriage contract. and concubines22Those without a marriage contract.. Were he to add even one and have intercourse with her, he is given stripes. He may divorce one and marry another one in her place.

3 ג

וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה לוֹ סוּסִים אֶלָּא כְּדֵי מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ סוּס אֶחָד פָּנוּי לִהְיוֹת רָץ לְפָנָיו כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁעוֹשִׂין שְׁאָר הַמְּלָכִים אָסוּר. וְאִם הוֹסִיף לוֹקֶה:

"He must not accumulate many horses" (Deut. 17:16), but only as many as he needs for his chariots23For war.. He may not even have one spare horse to trot before him, as is done before other kings. If he adds, he is given stripes.

4 ד

וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה לוֹ כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב לְהַנִּיחַ בִּגְנָזָיו וּלְהִתְגָּאוֹת בּוֹ אוֹ לְהִתְנָאוֹת בּוֹ. אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתֵּן לְחֵילוֹתָיו וְלַעֲבָדָיו וּלְשַׁמָּשָׁיו. וְכָל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב שֶׁיַּרְבֶּה לְאוֹצַר בֵּית ה' וְלִהְיוֹת שָׁם מוּכָן לְצָרְכֵי הַצִּבּוּר וּלְמִלְחֲמוֹתָם הֲרֵי זֶה מִצְוָה לְהַרְבּוֹתוֹ. וְאֵין אָסוּר אֶלָּא לְהַרְבּוֹת לְעַצְמוֹ בְּבֵית גְּנָזָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יז) "וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה לּוֹ". וְאִם הִרְבָּה לוֹקֶה:

He must not amass too much silver and gold for his treasury in order to be proud about it or for his enjoyment. He may only have as much as he needs to pay his soldiers, servants and attendants. However, it is a Mitzvoh to increase the coffers of the Temple Treasury. Any extra silver and gold is to be ready for use for the public needs and their wars. The prohibition only forbids him from increasing his own wealth in his own treasury, as it says, “and he shall not increase for himself” (Deut. 17:17). He is given stripes if he increase his riches.

5 ה

הַמֶּלֶךְ אָסוּר לִשְׁתּוֹת דֶּרֶךְ שִׁכְרוּת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי לא ד) "אַל לַמְלָכִים שְׁתוֹ יָיִן". אֶלָּא יִהְיֶה עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבְצָרְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יט) "וְהָיְתָה עִמּוֹ וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּיו":

The king must not drink himself drunk, as it says, “not for kings is the drinking of wine” (Proverbs 31:4). Rather, he must be engaged in Torah and the needs of Israel, day and night, as it says, “and it shall be with him, and he shall read from it all the days of his life” (Deut. 17:19).

6 ו

וְכֵן לֹא יִהְיֶה שָׁטוּף בְּנָשִׁים. אֲפִלּוּ לֹא הָיְתָה לוֹ אֶלָּא אַחַת לֹא יִהְיֶה מָצוּי אֶצְלָהּ תָּמִיד כִּשְׁאָר הַטִּפְּשִׁים. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי לא ג) "אַל תִּתֵּן לַנָּשִׁים חֵילֶךָ". עַל הֲסָרַת לִבּוֹ הִקְפִּידָה תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יז) "וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ". שֶׁלִּבּוֹ הוּא לֵב כָּל קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפִיכָךְ דִּבְּקוֹ הַכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה יֶתֶר מִשְּׁאָר הָעָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יט) "כָּל יְמֵי חַיָּיו":

Similarly, he must not be preoccupied with women. Even if he has but one (wife) he should not be found by her all the time as with the fools, and as it says, “Give not your strength to women” (Proverbs 31:3). Regarding the steering of his heart away, the Torah has already been exacting and said, “Do not veer your heart” (Deut. 17:17). For his heart is the heart of the entire Congregation of Israel. Therefore, Scriptures has attributed to him that which is written in the Torah, more so than any other member of the nation, saying, “all the days of his life” (Deut. 17:19).

7 ז

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁמַּלְכֵי בֵּית דָּוִד דָּנִין אוֹתָן וּמְעִידִין עֲלֵיהֶן. אֲבָל מַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יָדוּן וְלֹא דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ. וְלֹא מֵעִיד וְלֹא מְעִידִין עָלָיו. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלִּבָּן גַּס בָּהֶן וְיָבוֹא מִן הַדָּבָר תַּקָּלָה וְהֶפְסֵד עַל הַדָּת:

We have already explained that the kings of the House of David may judge and may be judged and testimony can be brought against them. Not so the kings of Israel regarding whom our Sages have decreed that they do not judge and are not judged, they cannot give testimony and no one can testify about them. This is because their hearts are coarse, and from these matters only fiascoes will result, and there will be a loss to the religion.

8 ח

כָּל הַמּוֹרֵד בְּמֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לְהָרְגוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ גָּזַר עַל אֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר הָעָם שֶׁיֵּלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְלֹא הָלַךְ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא מִבֵּיתוֹ וְיָצָא חַיָּב מִיתָה. וְאִם רָצָה לְהָרְגוֹ יֵהָרֵג. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע א יח) "כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יַמְרֶה אֶת פִּיךָ". וְכֵן כָּל הַמְבַזֶּה אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹ הַמְחָרְפוֹ יֵשׁ לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לְהָרְגוֹ. כְּשִׁמְעִי בֶּן גֵּרָא. וְאֵין לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לַהֲרֹג אֶלָּא בְּסַיִף בִּלְבַד. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לֶאֱסֹר וּלְהַכּוֹת בְּשׁוֹטִין לִכְבוֹדוֹ. אֲבָל לֹא יַפְקִיר מָמוֹן וְאִם הִפְקִיר הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּזֶל:

The king has the right to execute anyone who rebels against a king. One is liable to the death penalty even if the king decreed that he is to go to a particular place and he did not go there or that he not leave his house and left. If he so wishes, he may execute him it says, “any man who disagrees with your words” (Joshua 1:18). Similarly, the king has permission to execute anyone who disgraces24Or, embarrasses. him or insults him, as was the case with Shimi ben Gera. The king has permission to execute only by the sword. He may imprison and beat someone with a whip for the sake of his honor. However, he may not declare their money ownerless, for it would be robbery were he to do so.

9 ט

הַמְבַטֵּל גְּזֵרַת הַמֶּלֶךְ בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁנִּתְעַסֵּק בְּמִצְוֹת. אֲפִלּוּ בְּמִצְוָה קַלָּה הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. דִּבְרֵי הָרַב וְדִבְרֵי הָעֶבֶד דִּבְרֵי הָרַב קוֹדְמִין. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם גָּזַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְבַטֵּל מִצְוָה שֶׁאֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ:

Anyone who fails to obey the king’s orders because he is engaged in the performance of Commandments, even of one simple Commandment, is exempt. This is so since whenever a dictate of the Master (G-d) conflicts with a dictate of the servant (the king), the dictate of the Master takes precedence. Needless to say, the king is not heeded if he decrees something which cancels a Commandment.

10 י

כָּל הַהוֹרֵג נְפָשׁוֹת שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה. אוֹ בְּלֹא הַתְרָאָה. אֲפִלּוּ בְּעֵד אֶחָד. אוֹ שׂוֹנֵא שֶׁהָרַג בִּשְׁגָגָה. יֵשׁ לַמֶּלֶךְ רְשׁוּת לְהָרְגוֹ וּלְתַקֵּן הָעוֹלָם כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁהַשָּׁעָה צְרִיכָה. וְהוֹרֵג רַבִּים בְּיוֹם אֶחָד וְתוֹלֶה וּמַנִּיחָן תְּלוּיִים יָמִים רַבִּים לְהָטִיל אֵימָה וּלְשַׁבֵּר יַד רִשְׁעֵי הָעוֹלָם:

The king has the right to execute a killer, even when there is no clear proof (against him) or no warning was given him or even if there was only one witness. He may execute someone who killed accidentally out of hatred. He may do so for purposes of establishing Public Order, as is necessary depending on the prevailing circumstances. He may even execute many people on one day and hang them and leave them hanging for many days in order to instill fear and crush the hands of the wicked of the world.