Saturday, November 17, 2007

Justice (17) - Equity

The Hebrew word “tsedeq” is sometimes translated as equity. This is a little misleading, as it can be taken to mean that justice produces a state of equity, in which everyone is equal. That is not correct. Biblical references to equity refer to the judicial process. Equity means that legal system gives all people equal access to justice. The law should treat all people the same, regardless of race, income or relationship with the judges. The following scripture describe what it means to judge with equity.

Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Deut 16:19-20).
Bribes tend to pervert justice and undermine equity. The decisions of judges must be governed by the standard of God’s justice.

Popular opinion can undermine justice.
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd (Ex 23:2).
Judges and witness must not be swayed by public opinion. Good judges will ignore what the people think or want and decide what is right. Pilate failed to provide equity to Jesus.

Aliens and minority races should receive the same justice as everyone else.
You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 24:22).
The Hebrew word “meshar” is sometimes translated as “equity”. Its basic meaning is evenness. When referring to human behaviour, it means uprightness. “Meshar” is not used in conjunction with human judging, but is mostly used in the Psalms to describe the way that God administers justice.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Ps 98:9)
That does not mean that we all receive the same outcome, but that all people receive the same access to his justice (Ps 17:8; 99:4).

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