The earliest printed collection of William Shakespeare’s plays appeared in 1623. Now called a First Folio, there are only 235 copies still in existence, and only 56 are complete or intact. In 2020, an intact copy was sold for a record-breaking price of nearly $10 million—it was the most expensive work of literature ever sold at auction.
Shakespeare may be valuable, but the worth of God’s Word is beyond calculating! When the day came that Israel would ask for a king, Moses taught that he should center his leadership around Scripture. To spur the king toward this goal, he set down an interesting requirement: He should write out his own copy of the Torah (v. 18).
For the king to write out his own copy of the first five books of the Bible would require a great deal of time, labor, and attentiveness. It would be an effective way to become familiar with Scripture. He was then to read this personal copy throughout his life in order to “learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law” (v. 19). In other words, the future king was required to learn and obey God’s Word just as everyone else did (v. 20).
There were other requirements as well: The king should be chosen by God, reminding everyone that the Lord is their true sovereign (v. 15). He should also be an Israelite, one of the covenant people. He should not acquire many horses, that is, he should not put his trust in military strength (v. 16). The same was true for wealth. He should also not acquire many wives— which at that time would have been part of building alliances—because they, being foreigners, would worship idols and could lead the king’s heart astray (v. 17).
>> Consider putting today’s lesson into practice by memorizing or copying out a passage of Scripture. Handwriting Scripture into a blank notebook forces us to slow down and focus on what God is saying, allowing His Word to take root in our heart and mind.
“Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts” (Ps. 119:54–56).