The eighth commandment
“You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. 7Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.”
We are familiar with the complaints that the American system of justice leans toward the wealthy and takes advantage of the poor. These concerns are not entirely without merit. When we consider how expensive it can be to hire a lawyer, how biased our society in general is toward those with means, and how the poor are often looked upon as grasping and opportunistic rather than truly needy, it’s not hard to see why many activists and reformers decry the corruption of the American legal system.
Here again the Law of God made a special point to protect those who might otherwise be taken advantage of in courts of law. Any who thought to steal justice from the poor through false charges, bogus judgments, or bribes would know that the Law of God stood ready to come to the defense of the wronged, and to bring judgment against any who showed contempt for divine standards of justice.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Book Store.