Deuteronomy 16:19

Deuteronomy 16:19

Thou shall not wrest judgment
Or pervert it, pass a wrong sentence, or act contrary to justice; this is said to the judges as a direction to them, and so what follows:

thou shalt not respect persons;
so as to give the cause on account of outward circumstances and relations; as in favour of a rich man against a poor man merely for that reason, or of a near relation or intimate friend and acquaintance against a stranger, but justice should be administered without favour or affection to any; as Jarchi puts it, he was to make no difference in his address and behaviour to contending parties before him; he was not to be tender and soft to one and hard to the other, or let one stand and another sit:

neither take a gift:
as a bribe to give the cause wrong: at Thebes, in Egypt, as Diodorus Siculus F25 relates, in a court on a wall, were images of judges to the number of thirty; in the midst of them was the chief judge; having Truth hanging down from his neck (which seems to be in imitation of the Urim of the high priest of the Jews), his eyes shut, and many books by him; by which image was shown, that judges should receive nothing, and that the chief judge should look to truth only:

for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of
the righteous;
see ( Exodus 23:8 ) the Jews have a saying, that a judge that takes a bribe, and perverts judgment, does not die of old age, or till his eyes become dim F26.


F25 Bibliothec. l. 1. c. 45.
F26 Misn. Peah, c. 8. sect. 9.