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. (NIV)
Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. (KJV)
You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. (NASB)
Justice is the quality of dealing with people fairly. Judges particularly were expected to reflect God's just nature (32:4) by not dealing with the accused on the basis of discrimination, false witness, or hearsay. A bribe is any gift that might change the balance in favor of the giver, thus tipping the scales of justice (Ex. 23:8).
Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson's new illustrated Bible commentary (Dt 16:19). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
Deuteronomy reads like a contract with God. Bible experts say the outline of Deuteronomy follows the format of ancient treaties between kings and their subjects.
In these treaties, such as those of the Hittites in the time of Moses, the king outlines what he expects of the people and what he will give them in return. The treaty also warns the people what will happen if they break their part of the bargain.
Here's the basic outline of ancient treaties, compared to the sections of Deuteronomy that seem to fit the pattern.
1. Preamble, which identifies the ruler (1:1-5).
2. Prologue, describing history of the relationship between ruler and servant (1:6-3:29).
3. Rules of the treaty (chapters 4-26).
4. Oath of allegiance, with benefits of keeping the treaty and consequences for breaking it (chapters 27-30).
5. Instructions for observing the treaty, such as periodically reading it in public (chapters 31-34).
Miller, S. M., & Gross, P. (1998). How to get into the Bible. Includes index. (59). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
Crosses by Brian
Creator of crosses that carry a message to be proclaimed with courage.