Impartial Judges
Deuteronomy 16:18-20
Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, throughout your tribes…

We have here the election of judges or magistrates laid down as a duty. In the election they are to secure impartial and incorruptible men. A bribe is not to be thought of by the judges - nor are they to respect persons. And here let us notice -

I. THAT ALL JUDGMENT AMONG MEN IS THE FORESHADOWING OF A DIVINE JUDGMENT AT THE LAST. We live under a moral Governor who has not yet delivered final judgment upon his creatures. That final review of life is naturally expected from the imperfect justice of the world. Men in their judgments can at best only approximate to what will be the Divine decision.

II. GOD DEMANDS IMPARTIAL JUDGES FROM HIS PEOPLE BECAUSE HE IS THE IMPARTIAL JUDGE HIMSELF. The impartiality of God's administration will be vindicated at last. All seeming violations of the principle will be exhibited in their true light. For instance, God's plan of salvation is the very essence of impartiality, since it proposes to save men without regard to any personal consideration, as a matter of free grace alone. Whosoever takes exception to this is taking exception to the Divine impartiality. Again, in providence we shall doubtless find that, by a series of compensations and of drawbacks, each person's lot in life is impartially and graciously ordered. The "favorites of fortune" find some drop of bitterness in their cup, and the sweetness is more apparent than real.

III. MEN NEED NOT TRY TO BRIBE GOD, HOWEVER THEY MAY SUCCEED WITH MEN. For although this may seem a strong way of putting it, it is nevertheless the attempt that sinners thoughtlessly make. For instance, when an anxious soul thinks that a certain amount of conviction of sin, a certain amount of penitence, a certain amount of frames and feelings, will secure acceptance and peace, he is proposing to bribe God. It is as if an insane person tried to corrupt a judge on the bench by the present of a bundle of rags - "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." God will take no bribe. He will accept no man's person. Unless we give up the idea of personal claim and personal fitness for his reception of us, we cannot be accepted.

IV. WE MAY EXPECT AN IMPARTIAL JUDGMENT AT THE LAST. It is Jesus who is to sit on the throne when the appeal cases from the injustice of earth to the justice of heaven are heard. He knows our cases so thoroughly that he cannot, as he would not, err. All wrongs shall then be righted; all unfair advantage taken shall then be condemned. "Behold, the judge standeth at the door"' Let us see to it that we learn of him impartiality, and men shall regard us as truly Godlike in our dealings with them! - R.M.E.

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.

The Law of Gifts in the Pentateuch
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