Friday, February 9, 2018

Just Rules, Just People - An Interpretation of Exodus 23:1-9 (Mishpatim)- February 9, 2018

Just rules try to assure that only words that are true are believed, even when those who know they are guilty seek to use words to subvert the truth. 
Just people refrain from spreading false information and making accusations with no basis whatsoever, refusing to join any person or group who would perpetuate a hurtful lie.

Just rules attempt to prevent people with power from skewing the process of due justice.
Just people realize that preserving a just society requires them not to bow or to give in to anyone only because of the power they possess. 

Just rules demand impartial judgment, whether one is rich or poor, well-known or little-known.
Just people believe in holding all people accountable for their actions, no matter what their status in society or their place in life.

Just rules are blind to whether people approach one another in friendship or in animosity, directing everyone to treat others with decency.
Just people approach friends, acquaintances and “enemies” alike with respect and full consideration when their assistance could be valuable and crucial.

Just rules do not present one set of standards for those who are well-to-do and another set of laws for those who are in dire straits.
Just people do all they can to be sure that people of all means have the possibility of competent advocacy for their case in the midst of a dispute.

Just rules intend to prevent untrue accusations from leading to a conviction and sentence that cannot be undone.
Just people seek to uncover charges that are inaccurate and untrue, and try to assure that the system of justice will, as much as possible, protect those who are innocent.

Just rules prohibit promises of money, power, or favors to produce a result not based in fairness and honesty.
Just people do not offer or take bribes, and seek to expose those who do.

Just rules treat all people living in a community with equal consideration, whether they are native or newcomer, resident or visitor.
Just people try to be welcoming and respectful, helpful and generous, always remembering from where they came.

Exodus 23:1-9
1] You must not carry false rumors; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness: [2] You shall neither side with the mighty to do wrong - you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to pervert it in favor of the mighty, [3] nor shall you show deference to a poor man in his dispute. [4] When you encounter your enemy's ox or donkey wandering, you must take it back to him. [5] When you see the donkey of your enemy lying under its burden and would refrain from raising it, you must nevertheless raise it with him. [6] You shall not subvert the rights of your needy in their disputes.   [7] Keep far from a false charge; do not bring death on the innocent and the righteous, for I will not acquit the wrongdoer.  [8] Do not take bribes, for bribes blind the clear-sighted and upset the pleas of the just. [9] You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.                 

No comments:

Post a Comment