Deuteronomy 16:18
You are to appoint judges and officials for your tribes in every town that the LORD your God is giving you. They are to judge the people with righteous judgment.
Impartial JudgesR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 16:18-20
Model JudgesJ. Orr Deuteronomy 16:18-21
The Administration of JusticeD. Davies Deuteronomy 16:18-22


1. They are necessary. They require to be set up "in all thy gates... throughout thy tribes."

2. They represent God (Deuteronomy 1:17). They are called "gods" (Psalm 82:1). They are clothed with a portion of God's authority (Romans 13:1).

3. They are set to uphold the sacred interests of justice.

4. They may, by wresting judgment, or by hasty and wrong decisions, inflict irremediable injury on the innocent.

5. The right discharge of their functions conduces in the highest degree to the stability, happiness, and material prosperity of society.


1. They are not to be swayed by private partialities - political, social, ecclesiastical.

2. They are not to make distinctions between rich and poor, i.e. "respect persons."

3. They are not to accept bribes.

4. They are, as administrators of a justice which is impersonal, to judge in every case according to absolute right. - J.O.

Three times in a year.
We are informed by ancient writers that the Egyptians kept many stated festivals and religious assemblies in honour to the gods, and that they held no less than six every year at different places. It is probable that this custom was of great antiquity, and observed when Israel dwelt in Egypt. Therefore, when Moses went to Pharaoh, and asked leave for the Hebrews to celebrate a feast to the Lord, the Egyptians could not say that it was an unreasonable request, since they accounted it a duty to do the like. This opens to us one reason for which these festivals were appointed in the law, namely, in compliance with the inclinations of the people, who doubtless were desirous to have their feasts and assemblies, as well as the Egyptians with whom they had dwelt.

I. THE WORK OR ACTION ENJOINED — to appear before the Lord. God condescended to take upon Him the government of the Jewish nation, and is here represented as their King; and they, as dutiful subjects, and required to come and salute Him, and present themselves before Him at certain times. The same respect which other nations showed to their princes, the Jews were to show to God, as He was their King. Thus far it was a civil or political duty. But as their King was also the Almighty, to appear before Him was a religious duty; it was to serve and worship Him in a public manner; and herein this law is moral, universal, and everlasting.

II. THE PERSONS WHO WERE TO APPEAR at these solemn feasts. "All thy males shall appear before the Lord." These words are to be understood not as excluding the females from being present at these assemblies, but as giving them leave of absence, and intimating that it might sometimes be more proper for them to stay at home. The reasons for which the females had an exemption from this solemn duty seem to have been these first, the weakness of the sex, not so fit to bear the fatigue of these frequent journeys; secondly, the care of their children and families, which could not be thus wholly abandoned; and, thirdly, the dangers to which they would be exposed in such a numerous and mixed assembly. The Egyptians, when they repaired to the feasts, sailed together upon the river Nile in large companies, men and women, and many indecencies were committed, which this law seems to have been intended to prevent. Thus were they excused from these religious journeys when it was inconvenient. But at other times, and on other occasions, they frequented the places appointed for instruction and for the worship of God; as we may conclude from such examples as are recorded in Scripture, and from that piety and gratitude which are usually more observable in them than in the other sex.

III. THE PLACE WHERE THE MEN WERE TO APPEAR — in the place which the Lord shall choose, namely, in the place where the ark and the tabernacle of God should be, which at the first was at Shiloh, in the country of Samaria and tribe of Ephraim, and afterwards at Jerusalem in the tribe of Judah, where David erected a tabernacle, and Solomon built a magnificent temple. One reason for which these festivals were appointed, and appointed at one place, was to keep up peace and friendship and unity, both in Church and State. Nothing is more likely to conduce to this end than a religious association and intercourse, and a participation of the same sacred rites.

IV. THE TIME WHEN THE JEWS WERE TO MEET TOGETHER — it was thrice in the year; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles. From these religious institutions it may he observed that the hallowing unto God more days in the week than one is not, as some have fancied, against the design and meaning of the Fourth Commandment. For by these three solemn feasts, which were each of them of a week's continuance at least, it is manifest that "Six days thou shalt labour" was no commandment, but expressed only an ordinary permission of working; and to think that God would contradict His own law by a contrary ordinance is inconceivable. As, therefore, when He commanded the Jews to give Him the tenth part of their increase, He forbade not free-will offerings; so, when He enjoined them to keep holy one day in seven, this hindered not but that they might hallow unto Him other days even of the six. Hence it is concluded that the Christian Church hath likewise a power to set apart days for the more solemn service of God. But this should be done sparingly, discreetly, and cautiously; it should rather be recommended than required, and never without manifest reasons.

V. A PARTICULAR DUTY REQUIRED of all the people when they came to worship God at these feasts, namely, not to appear empty. It was a custom in those parts of the world when subjects came before their king, to make him a present; and even a little fruit, or a single flower, was favourably accepted from one who was not in circumstances to offer more. The Jews were commanded to bring a present; not a burnt offering or a sacrifice by fire; for these, though at the same time they were also required, yet were of another nature, and for another end; but a heave offering, a freewill offering, which was a tribute of thankfulness to God, and likewise an acknowledgment of His supreme lordship and dominion over all.

(J. Jortin, D. D.)

They shall not appear before the Lord empty
Empty in one sense, empty of blessing, none of us can appear before the Lord, or our prayer has mocked Him, and our praise. Crowned with His goodness, you have come up hither; crown His goodness in return with praise.

I. A leading feature, the leading feature of the Old Testament revelation is, THAT LIFE AND ALL THAT CROWNS IT — its crown of blessings — IS THE GIFT OF A LIVING INTELLIGENT BEING, AND COMES TO US BEARING THE SEAL OF HIS LOVE, The Jews were separated to this end, that God's methods and purposes with all men might be laid bare; that for once the Hand might be clearly manifest which is busy about every life.

II. THE MOTIVE WHICH IS PLEADED FOR ALL THE NOBLEST HUMAN EFFORT IS GOD'S EXAMPLE. God has done thus and thus for you: "Go ye and do likewise" for your fellow men. It is the plea which is constantly urged in the Old Testament, which we accuse of low and material views, both of man and of God. It is the highest witness to man's essential God-likeness which can be conceived. Man's nature only finds free, that is joyful play, when it is doing God-like things, when it is striving to think, will, and act like God. The only complete form of man's life is the life which is also Divine.

III. THE EXHORTATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURE ARE AMPLY SUSTAINED BY OUR OWN EXPERIENCE OF LIFE. There is no joy that fills man's heart which is comparable with that which he shares with God. He who does a deed purely unselfish, who yields free play to the most generous, heavenly impulses.

IV. Part of this God-like duty finds expression in the text. "NONE SHALL APPEAR BEFORE THE LORD EMPTY." The Lord has filled you with good; you are "fearfully and wonderfully made," and in fearful and wonderful harmony with the world. Your organs, exquisitely fashioned, and all the beauty and splendour of the creation, form a concord which at once expresses God's loving kindness, and is to you a fountain of intense delight. And there is an inner harmony which He is striving to develop by uniting your heart to fear His name, which will make this great universe a Father's house, and the awful future all eternal home. Help God, for His great mercy's sake, to help the world.

V. Another great thought of the Old Testament is THE HELP WHICH IT IS IN MAN'S POWER TO RENDER TO GOD. His ends can never be reached without us, in the way in which His wisdom has ordered the world. He might have ruled as a despot; He has chosen to seek rather to rule — as the Bishop of Argyll has happily phrased it as a constitutional king.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

? —


1. All have been blessed; all are under obligations to recognise this fact by giving. Everyone should help. It is the mites that make the great aggregations.

2. Giving in accordance with God's command is husbanding — it is investing. Said a great millionaire when asked, "Where can I safely invest my money?" "Give to God's cause, where I have put uncounted thousands, and I find that the interest due is always promptly paid, and the investment is perfectly safe. I shall meet it beyond the river, laid up in heaven, and shall enjoy it forever."

II. THIS COMMAND REQUIRES US TO GIVE AS NECESSITY REQUIRES AND ACCORDING to blessings received. Give, because you have received. Bless, because you have been blessed. Love, because you have been loved. Help, because you have been helped. Be liberal, because you thus glorify your Benefactor. The great giver is a great gatherer. He gathers love, power, influence, and revels in the smile of God.

(J. D. Fulton, D. D.)

One day an Indian asked Bishop Whipple to give him two one-dollar bills for a two-dollar note. The Bishop asked, "Why?" He said, "One dollar for me to give to Jesus, and one dollar for my wife to give." The Bishop asked him if it was all the money he had. He said, "Yes." The Bishop was about to tell him, "It is too much," when an Indian clergyman who was standing by whispered, "It might be too much for a white man to give, but not too much for an Indian who has this year heard for the first time of the love of Jesus."

Christian Age.
A minister was about to leave his own congregation for the purpose of visiting London, on what was by no means a pleasant errand — to beg on behalf of his place of worship. Previous to his departure he called together the principal persons connected with his charge, and said to them, "Now, I shall be asked whether we have conscientiously done all that we can for the removal of the debt. What answer am I to give? Brother So-and-so, can you in conscience say that you have given all you can?" "Why, sir," he replied, "if you come to conscience, I don't know that I can." The same question he put to a second, and a third, and so on, and similar answers were returned, until the whole sum required was subscribed, and there was no longer any need for their pastor to wear out his soul in going to London on any such unpleasant excursion.

(Christian Age.)

Levites, Moses
Beth-baal-peor, Egypt
Appoint, Authorities, Fairly, Gates, Gives, Giveth, Giving, Judge, Judged, Judges, Judging, Judgment, Officers, Officials, Overseers, Righteous, Righteousness, Throughout, Town, Towns, Tribe, Tribes, Upright, Within
1. The feast of the Passover
9. of weeks
13. of tabernacles
16. Every male must offer, as he is able, at these three feasts
18. Of judges and justice
21. Asherah poles and images are forbidden

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Deuteronomy 16:18

     5358   judges
     5360   justice, God
     5376   law, purpose of
     5586   town
     8245   ethics, incentives

Deuteronomy 16:18-19

     8471   respect, for human beings

Deuteronomy 16:18-20

     5238   bribery
     5361   justice, human
     5378   law, OT
     5593   trial
     5897   judging others

The Age of the Apostles (Ad 33-100)
The beginning of the Christian Church is reckoned from the great day on which the Holy Ghost came down, according as our Lord had promised to His Apostles. At that time, "Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven," were gathered together at Jerusalem, to keep the Feast of Pentecost (or Feast of Weeks), which was one of the three holy seasons at which God required His people to appear before Him in the place which He had chosen (Deuteronomy xvi. 16). Many of these devout men there converted
J. C. Roberston—Sketches of Church History, from AD 33 to the Reformation

Whether Six Daughters are Fittingly Assigned to Gluttony?
Objection 1: It would seem that six daughters are unfittingly assigned to gluttony, to wit, "unseemly joy, scurrility, uncleanness, loquaciousness, and dullness of mind as regards the understanding." For unseemly joy results from every sin, according to Prov. 2:14, "Who are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in most wicked things." Likewise dullness of mind is associated with every sin, according to Prov. 14:22, "They err that work evil." Therefore they are unfittingly reckoned to be daughters
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Pride Should be Reckoned a Capital vice?
Objection 1: It would seem that pride should be reckoned a capital vice, since Isidore [*Comment. in Deut. xvi] and Cassian [*De Inst. Caenob. v, 1: Collat. v, 2] number pride among the capital vices. Objection 2: Further, pride is apparently the same as vainglory, since both covet excellence. Now vainglory is reckoned a capital vice. Therefore pride also should be reckoned a capital vice. Objection 3: Further, Augustine says (De Virginit. xxxi) that "pride begets envy, nor is it ever without this
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Passing and the Permanent
'For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.'--ISAIAH liv, 10.-- There is something of music in the very sound of these words. The stately march of the grand English translation lends itself with wonderful beauty to the melody of Isaiah's words. But the thought that lies below them, sweeping as it does through the whole creation, and parting all things
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments.' Deut 27: 9, 10. What is the duty which God requireth of man? Obedience to his revealed will. It is not enough to hear God's voice, but we must obey. Obedience is a part of the honour we owe to God. If then I be a Father, where is my honour?' Mal 1: 6. Obedience carries in it the life-blood of religion. Obey the voice of the Lord
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.' Exod 20: 4-6. I. Thou shalt not
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Appeal to the Christian Women of the South
BY A.E. GRIMKE. "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. And Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:--and so will I go in unto the king,
Angelina Emily Grimke—An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

The Life and Death of Mr. Badman,
Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. By John Bunyan ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. The life of Badman is a very interesting description, a true and lively portraiture, of the demoralized classes of the trading community in the reign of King Charles II; a subject which naturally led the author to use expressions familiar among such persons, but which are now either obsolete or considered as vulgar. In fact it is the only work proceeding from the prolific
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Owing to the comparatively loose nature of the connection between consecutive passages in the legislative section, it is difficult to present an adequate summary of the book of Deuteronomy. In the first section, i.-iv. 40, Moses, after reviewing the recent history of the people, and showing how it reveals Jehovah's love for Israel, earnestly urges upon them the duty of keeping His laws, reminding them of His spirituality and absoluteness. Then follows the appointment, iv. 41-43--here irrelevant (cf.
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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