|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-9 In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moral feeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it is suited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one only God, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neither parties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move us to lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuse offenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing.
Verse 3. - Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. After the many precepts in favour of the poor, this injunction produces a sort of shock. But it is to be understood as simply forbidding any undue favouring of the poor because they are poor, and so as equivalent to the precept in Leviticus 19:15, "Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor." In courts of justice, strict justice is to be rendered, without any leaning either towards the rich, or towards the poor. To lean either way is to pervert judgment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. Because he is a poor man, and for that reason endeavour to carry his cause for him, right or wrong, from a foolish pity to him as a poor man, and from an affectation of gaining the applause of people on that account; or "thou shalt not honour" or "adorn" a poor man (u), by a set speech in favour of his cause, though wrong, dressed up in the best manner, and set off with all the colourings of art, to make it appear in the most plausible manner; the law is against respect of persons, as not the person of the rich, so neither is the person of the poor to be accepted, but the justice of their cause is to be regarded; so the Targum of Jonathan,"the poor that is guilty in his judgment or cause, his face (or person) thou shalt not accept to have pity on him, for no person is to be accepted in judgment.''
(u) "non honorabis", Pagninus, Vatablus, Drusius, Cartwright; "non decorabis", Montanus; "ne ornes", Tigurine version; "ne honorato", Junius & Tremellius; "ne ornato", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. countenance—adorn, embellish—thou shalt not varnish the cause even of a poor man to give it a better coloring than it merits.
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