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Original Research

“The Messianic Dimensions of Kingship in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 as fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew”

Robin Branch

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 25, No 2 (2004), 378-401. doi: 10.4102/ve.v25i2.275

Submitted: 05 October 2004
Published:  06 October 2004


This article examines a brief statement made by Patrick D Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy, namely that scholars quite likely have missed the most important Old Testament passage relating to the kind  of kingship Jesus manifested in his earthly ministry.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 gives a job description for an upcoming, earthly king; it carries messianic dimensions. Christian scholars, however, primarily have pointed to Isaiah and the messianic passages of the royal psalms to provide indication from the Old Testament  that Jesus indeed  fulfilled  the promises therein of the promised king and the Messiah. Reading like a modern “Position Available” advertisement, the qualifications for kingship in Deuteronomy begin by saying the coming king must be God’s choice, an Israelite and not a foreigner; frugal, not prone to displays of wealth and military might; and careful to keep his heart faithful to the Lord. Furthermore, a king’s first duty is to write for himself a copy of the law and to read it throughout his life. The kind of kingship Jesus displayed during his ministry indeed exemplified his personal knowledge and careful following of the law, his total obedience to  the law, his reverence for the law, and his humility before his disciples—all qualifications for earthly kingship “advertised” in the pericope. The Gospel of Matthew resonates with passages showing that Jesus  answered the advertisement, met the job description, and fulfilled the qualifications for kingship outlined prophetically by Moses in Deuteronomy.

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Author affiliations

Robin Branch, North-West University, South Africa


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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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