The Administration of Justice
Deuteronomy 16:18-22
Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, throughout your tribes…

True religion is related to true morality as the parent is related to the child. God cares as much that right dispositions should prevail between man and man as between man and God. By an eternal decree, religion and morality have been conjoined, and no man can put them asunder. He that loves God will love his brother also.

I. THE ADMINISTRATION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IS ENTRUSTED TO IMPERFECT MEN. The laws of the Jews were framed in heaven, and were conveyed to men by the mediation of angels, but the administration and execution of these laws were imposed on men selected from among themselves. What men cannot do God will do for them; what men can do for themselves, God requires them to accomplish. This administration of Divine Law by men was a magnificent training for higher once. In the best sense, God desires that men "should be as gods." By handling the affairs of justice, they would best grow in the understanding of the Divine government.

II. EVERY TOWN WAS A TYPE OF THE WHOLE KINGDOM. Magistrates were to be appointed in every community, who should be kings in their sphere of jurisdiction. Such magistrates were the people's choice, and thus they were initiated into the art of self-government. Justice well administered in every town would secure the order and well-being of the nation. The burden of governing the whole nation would thus be reduced to a thousand infinitesimal burdens - each one easily to be borne. Duty well done in every individual sphere would make the world happy and prosperous.

III. THE SACRED INTERESTS OF JUSTICE OUTWEIGH ALL PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS. Gifts from friends are not to be despised; but if they have the feeblest tendency to weaken our sense of right or to bring discredit on public justice, they must be declined. If a man accepts the office of a ruler, he must be prepared to forego many private advantages and pleasures. He is the steward of public interests - the servant of justice. He is no longer his own master. Personal friendships must be forgotten in the judicial court. No regard must be had to any other interest save the interest of righteousness. One thing the magistrate must do, and one only; he must be the mouthpiece of eternal righteousness. He may err, but he must be honest. Simple integrity of purpose is the chief qualification to rule. He who candidly desires to do right will be guided by an unerring hand.

IV. THE CAUSE OF PUBLIC JUSTICE IS SERVED BY PUBLICITY. The administration of justice was to be in the gate - in the place of public concourse. From the free conflict of public opinion sparks of truth will be elicited. So weak and vacillating is ofttimes human purpose, that the blaze of mortal eyes is needed to keep that purpose steadfast. This mode of administering justice had also a deterrent influence on the immature and the vile; it educated the public conscience.

V. JUSTICE HONESTLY ADMINISTERED SECURES NATIONAL PROSPERITY. It is the lesson of universal history that official injustice loosens all the bonds of society, and brings a kingdom into utter ruin. Men will patiently tolerate many abuses of power, but the public abuse of justice quickly brings deadly retribution. On the other hand, an honest and prompt administration of righteous law is the seed of order, content, and mutual confidence. It gives a sense of security; it fosters patriotism; it develops courage; it brings the smile and benediction of God. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.

WEB: You shall make judges and officers in all your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you, according to your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.

Model Judges
Top of Page
Top of Page