Shofet, Jesus And God’s People

Shofet, Jesus And God’s People October 14, 2023

This week the dysfunction of the current GOP continued to play out in the news. Once again individuals in the party are obsessed with earthly power and greatness. It seems like the more popular members are only looking out for themselves, not the party or the country.

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Our Lord Jesus commanded His followers to put others first and not to abuse earthly power (Matthew 20:26-27). Jesus’ teachings contradicted the world’s ways and even those of our Jewish stepfathers. Many today practice a selfish “me”-ology instead of a humble “theo”-ology.

Our role as Christians isn’t to control others but to point them to a God Who is in control. The speaker of the house is supposed to epitomize what it means to be a servant leader.

  • Honor others
  • Empower others
  • Serve with humility
  • Practice justice

Every day the world continues to deteriorate more and more. The harsh reality of war is everywhere we look. The selfishness of man is overcoming the servanthood of Jesus. We hear more critical judgment and less loving compassion.


We all have a way of judging others by our standards and none of us are perfect. But, yet we expect others to be. It is humbling to know we aren’t perfect and need mercy and compassion every day.

I’ll be the first to admit I have been guilty of judging others. I admit I hate it when others do it to me, especially in regard to my disability!

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Jesus warned His followers about judging others hastily and wrongly (Matthew 7:1- 5). Most of us tend to accept the Greek word and understanding of judge, krinō. This word means to weigh or evaluate.

However, Jesus didn’t teach in the Greek, but in Aramaic. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for judge is shofet and it is also understood as rule or govern.


In the Old Testament God’s people consistently cried out to Him for rulers or leaders to guide them and judge between right and wrong. They wanted to be like other nations with strong leadership who would make Israel into a great nation.

Instead of being different and letting God lead them, they wanted to be like the world and follow the leadership of man. As history and the Bible show, these men often lead God’s people astray. Below are the “judges” of Israel.

  1. Othniel
  2. Ehud
  3. Shamgar
  4. Deborah
  5. Gideon
  6. Tola
  7. Jair
  8. Jephthah
  9. Ibzan
  10. Elon
  11. Abdon
  12. Samson

God’s original and ultimate plan was to lead His people Himself and He promised to send them the Messiah. In Judaism, the Messiah would be a mighty military and political leader who would judge and rule God’s people.

The nations.
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When Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews, He wasn’t going to just lead them; He is also going to be the One to judge them and us. Jesus came to do more than just judge, He came to save and bring justice for God’s people.


In Judaism, God is a God of justice—divine justice. God’s justice is right because it is by His standard, not ours. According to Judaism God is also a merciful God (Exodus 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18, 1 Kings 19:11, Psalm 25:10).

When we place too much emphasis on one over the other, our judgment becomes impaired and flawed. Jesus rebuked our Jewish stepfathers because they wanted their form of justice.

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  • Death
  • Control
  • Popularity
  • Legalism

Jesus was perfect and He showed others love (John 7:53-8:11). He defended the lowly; He gave life instead of wanting to take it. Only Jesus can truly judge (Shofet)!

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