Moses said to Israel: After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you that become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don’t take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars.
You must always be fair. You must not favor some people over other people. You must not take money to change your mind in judgment. Money blinds the eyes of wise people and changes what a good person will say.
Do not ·judge unfairly [distort justice] or ·take sides [show partiality/favoritism]. Do not ·let people pay you to make wrong decisions [take bribes], because ·that kind of payment [bribes] makes wise people seem blind, and it ·changes the words of good people [undermines the cause of the innocent; Ex. 23:8; Ps. 5:5; Prov. 6:35; 17:8, 23; 21:14; Eccl. 7:7].
Appoint judges and officers, organized by tribes, in all the towns that God, your God, is giving you. They are to judge the people fairly and honestly. Don’t twist the law. Don’t play favorites. Don’t take a bribe—a bribe blinds even a wise person; it undermines the intentions of the best of people.
Do what is right. Treat everyone the same. Don’t take money from people who want special favors. It makes those who are wise close their eyes to the truth. It twists the words of those who have done nothing wrong.
(to these future judges) Don’t bend the rules for anyone. Don’t favor the rich and powerful, and never take a bribe! A bribe makes people who would decide cases wisely overlook injustice, and it makes people who would be honest give false testimony.
and bow they not into the other part for favour, either gift. Thou shalt not take a person, neither gifts, for why gifts blind the eyes of wise men, and change the words of just men (Thou shalt not show favour to anyone, nor take a bribe, or a gift, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise, and change the words of the just).
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