"The King's glory lies with a multitude of people, and when there are (only) few people, his princehood is lacking" (Mishlei 14-28).
In this possuk, Shlomoh ha'Melech is explaining that it is the large numbers of people that make up the king's honour and prestige. For without doubt, there are among his subjects, those who are his equals in strength and in wisdom, and some perhaps, who are even a cut above him. His superiority therefore, lies in the number of soldiers who serve in his army and the grandeur of his sovereignty. This is the advantage that the King enjoys over all his subjects.
"And when there are (only) few people - when his subjects abandon him - His princehood is lacking". The possuk, which began with "the King's glory" , should have concluded with the words "his Kingship is lacking". However, when he has only few followers, he no longer bears the title 'King'. He is no more than a prince, for there is no King without subjects. From here we see that a King's security lies with the people, since his glory and eminence grow with the size of the population and wane when it decreases.
This explains why G-d did not want us to have a king - because the people trust in the King and the King in the people. And we, who received the Torah at Har Sinai, are commanded there to fear G-d, and we are commanded not to be afraid of the Cana'anim. The Torah has also forbidden us to place our trust in human beings, but that each and every one of us trusts in G-d above. Were we to abide by that, we would not need the assistance of any human-being; we would be even more secure than a King.
But, because G-d knew that Yisroel would follow in the footsteps of the other nations, who were governed by Kings and rulers, He pre-empted there sinful request for a king. He saw to it that when they would ask, it would become a positive mitzvah to appoint a king, as the Torah writes in Shoftim "And you will say 'Let us appoint a King like all the nations that surround us' - then you shall appoint a King over you ... "
Yisroel's request for a King is considered sinful, and justifiably so, because G-d performed so many wonders with them when they left Egypt - something that He did not do with all the other nations - and He raised their lot above that of every race and tongue, to rule over them personally. And what need does Yisroel have of a human King? Yisrael, over whom the Master of the World rules and whose Divine Presence rests! That is why G-d was angry when they asked for one, and that is why the end of their first King (Sha'ul ha'Melech) showed up the futility of his beginning - when he perished at the hand of his enemies.
That is why Shlomoh wrote here "The King's glory lies with a multitude of people", to teach us that a tzadik who trusts in G-d is more secure than a King, because a King trusts mainly in his people, and someone who trusts in G-d is certainly more assured than someone who trusts in the people. This is true even if it is only because it happens sometimes that the King, who places his faith in his people, falls into the hands of his enemies, and all his armies are unable to help or to save him.
And so we find by Sichon and Og, who trusted in their powerful armies and came to attack Moshe and Yisroel. Yet they failed, because deliverance in the face of defeat depends not on the size of one's army, but on what G-d decrees. Sometimes one is saved even without a large army, as Dovid ha'Melech wrote in Tehilim (33:47), and sometimes one falls even with one.
It is well-known that Sichon and Og were mighty kings, who lived in strong, fortified cities, and whose armies were as numerous as the sand by the sea-shore. And when they were defeated, falling into the hands of Moshe, Bolok, King of Mo'ov became afraid, when he saw how these mighty Kings, in whom he had placed his trust, had been defeated by Yisroel, as the opening possuk in this parshah describes.

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact.

Add comment

Have something to say?
Please make your comment below!
All comments are reviewed prior to publication. Absolutely NO loshon hara or anything derogatory or hurtful to anyone will be permitted on the website.

Security code