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According to Deuteronomy 17:14-17, there are limits to a king's possessions:

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me," you may indeed set over you a king whom the Lord your God will choose. One of your own community you may set as king over you; you are not permitted to put a foreigner over you, who is not of your own community. Even so, he must not acquire many horses for himself, or return the people to Egypt in order to acquire more horses, since the Lord has said to you, "You must never return that way again." And he must not acquire many wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; also silver and gold he must not acquire in great quantity for himself. [emphasis added]

King David appears to have had at least seven wives, and King Solomon was said to have 700. 1 Kings 11:4 notes how Solomon's wives did indeed lead him astray:

For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.

This verse seems to imply that 700 is too many, but seven is not. Is that a fair reading? Is there a way to narrow the gap?

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There does not seem to be any way to narrow the gap. This might be intentional, the intent being to establish a generally negative moral value to kings gathering harems, but allowing for the necessity of politically expedient marriages with foreign royal families.

The term "many wives" is as specific as the OT gets.

Kings 11:4 is clearly an indictment of King Solomon for infraction of the commandment.

The Deuteronomic writer is usually brief and laconic, which might mean that the lack of a specific number in 17:17 is intended to mean "many" in terms of the time in history of the application of the commandment, or even to the specifics of the king or wives. In our day this might be "more than one". For Israelite King Echov, one particular foreign wife, Isabel, was one too many.

King David is said to have had eighteen wives and concubines, seven mentioned by name in the OT and the others mentioned in the oral tradition. Since there is no statement in the OT that attributes a negative influence to this number of wives on David's piety, the Mishna deduces that at that time "many" was "more than eighteen".

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of course, David's many wives led to other problems - Absalom's uprising, the rape of his daughter, etc –  warren May 16 '12 at 15:24
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Actually, the fact that David did not marry Avishag is taken in halacha to indicate that he was married to the maximum allowable number of wives. –  J. C. Salomon Mar 19 '13 at 23:33
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