A Handbook of Bible Law - Law and justice
Copyright 1991 by Charles A. Weisman. 2nd Edition: Aug., 1992;
3rd Edition: Dec., 1994
Comments: All law and order, all societies, rests upon
some legal authority. There must be a source or foundation for the laws and
jurisprudence of a nation. Many different modes of law and justice have been
devised, yet after thousands of years of struggle along these lines the world
has failed to find any system of law and justice which can compare with that
which is taught in the Bible.
Human legal systems come and go and are continually in the
process of reform and change, but the eternal principles of justice, truth and
righteousness established by God for man are unchanged. They have endured the
test of time by way of their proven effectiveness. Thus, all equitable codes of
jurisprudence are founded upon Biblical teachings and principles, and indeed
must conform to them, as Sir William Blackstone well says:
Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation
[scripture], depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be
suffered to contradict these (1 B1. Comm. 42).
Blackstone further stipulates that human laws are only
declaratory of, and act in subordination to, divine and natural laws; and
should any human law allow or enjoin us to do what divine law has
prohibited, we are bound to transgress that human law. (1 Bl.
Comm. 42-43). Man's observance of divine law is essential in his moral conduct,
economic well-being, and social order, just as the physical laws are essential
in an orderly universe.
The Bible contains those precepts and commands which constitute
the legal and moral authority to guide human conduct. There is no
doubtful authority contained in the words: "Thus saith the LORD." This is
the authority all law and justice must be founded upon.
Diblical justice consists of an exact and scrupulous regard for
the rights of others, with a deliberate purpose to preserve them on all
occasions sacred and inviolate, and for the perpetual disposition to render
every man his due.
The Bible also contains many rules, regulations and laws for
the creation, maintenance and enforcement of oaths and contracts, which are
essential acts for both conducting daily business and in administering justice.
Laws of Biblical society held that one who had undertaken a duty or obligation,
in legal form, must fully and exactly perform it, at all regards. If a man
acted, he did so at his own risk. It was his duty to keep his eyes open and
abide by the consequences of his agreement and the law of the land.
Biblical justice stresses the importance of requiring two or
more witnesses in order to condemn a person of some offense. In Biblical law, as
it is today, it is mandatory that witnesses give their testimony in the presence
of the accused and that they testify by oath.
Law and justice are to exist as fixed and standard rules. They
never were to be determined by what any individual or Judge believed was right
or wrong, good or bad; but by what was right or wrong according to what God
You shall not follow other gods (ways, laws, etc.) ... You shall
diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, His testimonies, and His
statutes which He commanded you.
And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may
be well with you. (Deut. 6:14-18).
With the law established, it is imperative it be publicized,
for it has been a recognized maxim throughout the ages that; A law is not
obligatory unless it be promulgated. When God gave Israel the law, He
verbally pronounced it to them (Exod. 20). Later He had Moses pronounce the laws
to the people (Exod. 24:3). If the law was not made public, and instead placed
directly in the 'Ark of the Covenant' (which no one was allowed to touch), the
people would never have been obliged to keep the law.
That we might not be ignorant of the law and justice God
requires of us, He had performed one of His greatest works- the recording of His
word on these matters in the Bible and preserving that word throughout the ages.
- The laws, statutes, commandments and judgments of God are to be kept
throughout the land. Lev. 18:4-5; Deut. 5:32-33; Ezek. 20:19.
- There is to be one law applied to the citizen and the stranger. Exod.
12:49; Lev. 24:22; Num. 9:14.
- Foreigners to abide by and obey God's law. Lev. 16:29; Lev. 17:12-15;
Lev. 18:26; Lev. 24:16; Lev. 25:6; Num. 15:30; Num. 35:15; Deut. 1:16; Deut.
5:14; Deut. 24:17; Deut. 27:19; Deut. 31:12: Josh. 8:33-35.
- The LORD is our lawgiver. Isa. 33:22; James 4:12.
- You shall not follow the laws and ordinances of other nations in your
land. Lev. 18:3; Mic. 6:16; 2 Kings 17:19-20.
- He who does any thing defiantly and with contempt for the law, that person
shall be cut off from among his people. Num. 15:29-31.
- All must confirm the words of the law by doing them. Deut 27:26; Gal.
- Laws and decrees that are contrary to Divine law or justice, or oppress
the rights of persons, are repugnant and void. Isa. 10:1-2; Isa. 24:5-6;
Dan. 3:10-30; Dan. 6:5-22.
- We are to remember the ancient events and principles of the past which
formed the law of the land. 1 Sam. 24:13; Job 8:8; Isa. 51:2; Jer. 18:15.
- The law is to be revealed to the people; it is not to be kept secret, or
made obscure, or hidden in any manner. Deut. 29:29; Deut. 30:11.
- The law is to be publicly written, displayed and recorded. Exod. 17:14;
Exod. 31:18; Deut 27:1-3,8; Deut 31:9, 24-26; Josh. 8:32; Josh. 24:25-26.
- Every seven years, on the year of release, the law is to be read before
all the people that they may learn and observe all the words of the law.
- The Law is to be taught and instructed privately and publicly. Deut.
5:31; Deut. 6:7-8, 20-25; Neh. 8:1-9; Jer. 36:6; Acts 13:15.
- The law is to be displayed on door posts of homes and on city gates.
Deut. 6:9; Deut 11:20.
- The law is to be publicly read to remind the people of the law and that it
is to be observed. Exod. 24:7; Exod. 35:1; Deut. 5:1; Josh. 8:34-35; Neh.
8:2-6, 13-14; Neh. 13:1-3.
- You are not to take a gift or money offered as a bribe. Deut. 16:19; 2
Chron. 19:7; Isa. 33:15.
- Bribery condemned as being wicked and perverting justice and judgment.
1 Sam. 8:3; Job. 15:34; Psa. 26:9-10; Prov. 17:23; Eccl. 7:7; Isa. 1:23;
Isa. 5:23; Ezek. 13:19; Amos 5:12; Matt. 26:14-15.
- He who takes a bribe against the innocent may not dwell in the LORD's holy
nation. Psa. 15:1, 5.
- You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the wise and subverts the
cause of the just. Exod. 23:8.
- Those in government who take bribes overthrows the justice and stability
established in the land. Prov. 29:4.
- They are cursed who take reward against the innocent. Deut. 27:25; Psa.
- He that hates gifts is blessed. Prov. 15:27.
- It is iniquity for judges to pronounce judgment for a bribe or reward.
|4D - Oaths, Vows and
- If you swear or take an oath you shall do so in God's name. Gen. 24:3;
Deut 6:13; Deut 10:20.
- You shall make no false or deceitful oath or covenant. Psa. 24:4; Jer.
7:9; Zech. 8:17; Hos. 10:4.
- You shall not swear by God's name falsely. Lev. 19:12.
- When one fully performs all the terms of an oath or contract, he is clear
of all obligation to it. Gen. 24:8.
- If a man makes a vow to God or swears an oath to bind himself by contract
or binding obligation, he shall not violate his word but shall do all that he
stated. Num. 30:2; Josh. 9:20; Judges 11:30-36; 2 Sam. 15:7-9.
- You are to keep your word. Deut. 23:23.
- When you make a vow unto God, you shall not delay to pay it, for God will
require you to keep your word. Deut. 23:21; Psa. 65:1; Psa. 66:13; Psa.
76:11; Psa. 116:18; Eccl. 5:4-5.
- If you refrain from vowing there is no sin in not performing what you said
you would do. Deut. 23:22.
- If a young woman, who is under her father's house, makes a vow and her
father hears it but says nothing then all her vows shall stand. Num.
- A father can cancel the obligations of a vow or contract by his daughter
who is in his house. Num. 30:5.
- A husband can allow or annul the vows or contracts made by his wife.
- A vow of a widow or divorced woman shall stand against her. Num. 30:9.
- If a divorced woman makes a vow while in her husband's house, her husband
can affirm or annul the vow. Num. 30:10-14.
- We should avoid making any oaths so that you may not fall under judgment.
Matt. 5:34-37; James 5:12.
- God will judge and punish false swearers. Zech. 5:4; Mal. 3:5.
- If a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good,
and whatever he pronounced by the oath is hidden or unknown to him, when he
comes to know it, then he shall be guilty in these matters and shall confess
them. Lev. 5:4-5.
|4E - Witnesses and
- You shall not bear false witness against another nor raise a false report.
Exod. 20:16; Exod. 23:1; Deut 5:20; Luke 3:14; Luke 18:20.
- A faithful witness speaks the truth and saves lives, but a false witness
speaks lies. Prov. 14:5, 25.
- One witness shall not condemn a man for any iniquity or crime he commits.
Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; Deut. 19:15.
- Do not join your hand with a wicked man to be an unrighteous witness.
- False witness is an abomination and condemned. Prov. 6:16, 19; Prov.
12:17; Prov. 25:18; Jer. 7:9-10.
- Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause. Prov. 24:28.
- A false witness is to be punished. Prov. 19:5, 9; Prov. 21:28; Zech.
- Physical proofs and facts can serve as a witness or evidence in certain
cases. Exod. 22:13; Deut. 22:15, 17, 20.
- You shall not testify in a dispute for the sake of following the majority
and thus pervert justice. Exod. 23:2.
- At the testimony of two or three witnesses shall the fact of the matter be
established. Deut. 17:6; Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1;
1 Tim. 5:19: Heb. 10:28.
- We are not to be a witness against another without cause. Prov. 24:28.
- If someone gives contrary testimony, then the judges shall make diligent
inquisition between both men to see if the witness is a false witness.
- If a witness is found to be a false witness by testifying falsely against
his brother, then he shall receive the punishment that the accused brethren
would have received if guilty. Deut. 19:18-19.
- When a person who is a witness sins when he has taken an oath, about an
event he saw or knew, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.
- A disreputable witness scorns justice. Prov. 19:28.
|4F - Justice In Law and
- You are not to twist, distort or pervert justice. Deut 16:19.
- You shall not be unjust but shall follow that which is just and righteous
in matters of law and judgment. Lev. 19:15,35; Deut 16:20; Jer. 22:3.
- You are not to be partial towards anyone or a respecter of persons in
exacting justice, whether they be poor or rich, small or great. Exod. 23:3;
Lev. 19:15: Deut. 16:19; 2 Chron. 19:7; Prov. 28:21.
- Judgment to be quickly executed upon those violating the law of God or the
law of the land. Ezra. 7:26; Jer. 21:12.
- Seek good, and not evil; hate the evil, and love the good, and establish
justice in your courts. Amos 5:14-15.
- You shall keep far from a false matter. Exod. 23:7.
- Injustice of the least kind is condemned. Luke 16:10.
- You shall do no injustice regarding the measurement of length, weight or
volume, but shall adhere to a just and standard measurement. Lev. 19:35-36;
- They are condemned who call evil good, and good evil. Isa. 5:20.
- We are commanded to act justly and pursue justice. Deut 16:20; Prov.
21:3: Isa. 56:1; Mic. 6:8; Phil. 4:8.
- You shall not pervert the judgment of the stranger, the widow, the
oppressed nor of the fatherless. Exod 22:21-23; Deut 24:17; Deut. 27:19;
Psa. 10:18; Psa. 82:2-4; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 22:3.
- You shall not pervert judgment of the poor or needy in his cause but judge
them righteously and deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. Exod.
23:6; Prov. 29:4; Psa. 82:2-4; Prov. 31:9.
- Doing injustice by justifying the wicked and condemning the righteous is
an abomination and condemned by God. Prov. 17:15; Prov. 18:5; Prov. 20:10;
Prov. 24:24-25; Prov. 29:27; Psa. 82:2; Lam. 3:35-36; Mic. 3:9.
- Blessed are those who keep justice. Psa. 106:3.
- Punishment required for injustice. Prov. 11:7; Amos 5:11-12.
- You shall not turn aside the needy from judgment, or take away the rights
from the poor by unrighteous decrees. Isa. 10: 1 -2.
- When the wicked surround the righteous, the law becomes ignored, justice
is never upheld, and wrong judgment is rendered. Hab. 1:4.