Proverbs 21:14-15, 18 – Three lessons in justice and judgment

police carLike you, I am sometimes aghast by a judgment handed down by a judge, mediator or arbitrator whose rendering left me wondering—What was the catalyst for such a judgment?   Solomon’s observation in Proverbs 21:14 suggests a motive for a judgment that might be viewed in both a negative and positive light.

Proverbs 21:14 – “A gift [present; reward; offering] in secret pacifieth [bend; tame; subdue] anger [wrath]: and a reward [bribe; gift] in the bosom [lap; fold of one’s robe above the belt] strong [fierce] wrath [anger; indignation; rage].”

Solomon is not advocating bribery; however, he is stating a reality—men and women whose love of money is greater than their passion for justice sometimes hand down inappropriate and misguided judgments in a court of law.   In contrast to an unjust judge’s rendering is an opportunity for you to appease the anger and bitterness of an acquaintance you have wronged or injured by extending a gift or compromise in private.judgment

Proverbs 21:15 – “It is joy [gladness; mirth; rejoicing] to the just [righteous; lawful] to do [create; make; wrought; accomplish] judgment [justice; righteousness]: but destruction [ruin; terror; panic] shall be to the workers [doers; makers] of iniquity [sin; wickedness; mischief].”

Verse 15 expresses an “uncommon” common sense truth:  Good men love righteousness and rejoice when justice is accomplished [that is, when the outcome of a matter is right and just].   However, those who walk the path of lawlessness and sin will invariably come to ruin.   Romans 13:3-4 states God’s standard for every court of law:

Romans 13:3-4 For rulers [law enforcement; judges] are not a terror to good works [those who keep the law], but to the evil [those who break the law]. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4  For he is the minister [servant] of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil [break the law], be afraid; for he [police; judge] beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister [servant] of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil [law-breaker; criminal].”

I close with a third proverb, which addresses the matter of justice.

Law and JusticeProverbs 21:18 – “The wicked [ungodly; guilty; morally wrong] shall be a ransom [bribe; satisfaction; perhaps a “diversion”] for the righteous [just; lawful], and the transgressor [unfaithful; deceitful] for the upright [straight; just; righteous; i.e. those pleasing in the eyes of the Lord].”

History gives ample evidence that the righteous and law-abiding are sometimes victimized by unjust, unscrupulous authorities; however, the wicked often divert the attention of law enforcement and judges by their overt, criminal ways.   Thus, the wicked often fall victim to the entrapment they have laid for the righteous and law-abiding.

Be careful my friend for God is jealous for the righteous and His justice will prevail against the wicked!

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith