Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 26, 2022

“You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, … Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue”

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:1-3.

“You shall not bear a false report;  do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;  nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”  Exodus 23:1-3.


“You shall not distort justice;  you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.  Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”  Deuteronomy 16:19-20.

Today’s Scripture presents specific examples and specific dangers of being a false witness which are within the scope of the ninth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Exodus 20:16.

“16 There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19.

We can easily understand how the wicked can use a false witness to be malicious.  We can easily understand how masses can be stirred up to do evil and pervert justice by false witnesses.  We can easily understand how some can be tempted to be partial to the poor, thinking that they were doing good by, so to speak, pressing down the scale of justice in favor of the poor thus balancing the scales of justices, in their perverted sense of justice.  

As one example, we remember what some did to Stephen.

“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.  But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.  But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.  Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”  And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.  They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;  for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.”  Acts 6:8-14.

“A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.” Proverbs 16:27.

But, there is hope!

“and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”  Ephesians 4:24-25. 


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