Here are seven Bible verses for Judges to study.
Deuteronomy 16:19 “You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.”
The Book of Deuteronomy, particularly chapter 16, is the book that contains the most frequent references about judges, and all of these deal with the Lord’s command to judge the people in equity, fairness, and righteousness. Bribes weren’t just a problem then, they are still a problem today, but sadly, most of the bribes are never discovered, but someday God will judge each one of us, judges included, for every ruling they have ever done. Everything that’s hidden today will come to light in the day of His righteous judgment. That should put the fear of the Lord in judge’s hearts, or at least it should.
Leviticus 19:15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”
God will hold the judges of the land accountable for their rulings, either judging in fairness or not, and God’s judgement will be stricter on those who are in such positions of authority, because as Jesus said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48).
Deuteronomy 16:18 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.”
Once again, we return to the Book of Deuteronomy, because this book contains voluminous amounts of instructions for the civil leaders and how they are to judge with a godly standard and not a human one. Once more, God mentions the command to judge with righteous judgment, for there should be no partiality in the courts of law, then, and of course today. These laws are not part of the Mosaic Law, but part of the civil law, therefore the judges were expected to rule with fairness, just as God always does, for He will judge them someday and hold them accountable.
Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
The Bible teaches that every citizen of every nation must be subject to the governing authorities, and only unless they conflict with God’s law, are they to be obeyed. Even judges are to be in subjection to those whom they serve, for they are either appointed or voted in by the people, therefore they are accountable to the people, but more so, they are accountable to God.
Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.”
The overriding theme of the Book of Deuteronomy concerns the civil laws, codes, and statutes, but again, God is concerned that judges take no bribes. The word “bribes” is almost always associated with those who have authority over the people, and God mentions bribes so often because, as the Creator, He knows our natural tendencies to rule in our own favor and distort justice for our own benefit, therefore, since there is no partiality (or favoritism) with God, there should be no favoritism shown, particularly judges.
John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Two mothers came before King Solomon and both claimed to be the mother of a child, so King Solomon has to decide which mother the child really belongs too since both claimed him as their own. This caused Solomon to try something drastic. He says to the women, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other” (1st Kings 3:25), and it was only then that it became clear who the actual mother of the child was, because the real mother was willing to give up her child to the other woman rather than have the child killed (which Solomon wasn’t really going to do), so “the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him” (1st Kings 3:26). Solomon made a wise decision, and in this case, made a righteous judgment.
Deuteronomy 1:16 “And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him.”
We know that God shows no partiality between people, and we read here that this includes judging between natural citizens of the land and those who are aliens or strangers. Perhaps this could apply to immigrants today who may have to have a court-appointed lawyer and those who have the means to hire powerful attorneys. It shouldn’t matter, because judges are charged (commanded) to hear the cases with no respect for their persons, and this includes everyone; national citizens and those who choose to live in this land. We are reminded in Scripture that God looks at the heart, and not the outer man or woman (1st Sam 16:7), so judges should judge, not by appearance, but by the facts presented. We should all do likewise, whether we’re sitting behind a bench or judging our next door neighbor.
I could have easily included other Scriptures that would fit the idea of having justice for all, such as God’s command, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:21), whether that is in society or in a court of law. It took time for the Jews to understand that God does not regard one nation or people over another, whether they’re Jewish or not, and why the Apostle Peter wrote, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35). May it be so with ever judge that rules. God reminded His people, and by extension, He reminds us today, that “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Lev 19:34), and since God always judges with righteousness and equity, He expects those who judge to do the very same thing.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.