When Israel complained to God that they wanted to set a king over them like the other nations, God warned them.  But he also foretold that they would do so, and that there had to be parameters for the ruler:

1)  They were to be from their own people.  Not a foreigner (18:15)

2)  For Israel, he must not go back to Egypt to get horses or to go back that way ever again (18:16).  However he Egyptians after three generations could come to them to worship at the Temple. (23:7)

3)  He must not acquire many wives so that his heart won’t go astray (18:17)

4)  He must not acquire very large amounts of silver and gold for himself (18:17)

5) He is to write a copy of these instructions to read all the days of his life so that he might fear God, observe all of this instruction and do these statues (17:19)

Some of this is specific to Israel, like not going back towards Egypt.  And the marrying of many wives in a time when polygamy was normal (unfortunately though polygamy is on the rise).  But there are some things that timeless.

  • It is still good that leaders of nations come from within their own nation.  This is still the rule today in many places.
  • Leadership shouldn’t be a job where one gets wealthy.  Or else the desires for leadership will be tainted.  It’s important that a rule be provided for, but to serve, not to get wealthy.
  • A leader should stay in the Word constantly in order to know how to obey the laws and ways of God.  Check out this book how the Bible transformed many nations around the world (The Book that Transforms Nations).  And you really should read that book.
  • It’s probably worth noting (though I’m really not trying to be political here), but that there is probably a principle here about fidelity to your spouse in the making of a good leader

I think whether one is a king, a prime minister, or a world leader, that what is taught here should apply to all.  This is teaching about leadership if anything.  It’s just that the higher the level of leadership, the greater the responsibility before God and man.