Leviticus 19:15 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(15) Do no unrighteousness in judgment.—That is, the judges are not to abuse the authority vested in them by virtue of their office, by administering what ought to be justice in an arbitrary manner.
Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor.—The general statement in the preceding clause is here more minutely defined. The consideration for the infirm enjoined in Lev. 19:14 is not to influence the decision of the judge, who is to administer justice, even if the poor is thereby reduced to greater poverty, and though the rich party to the suit may benevolently desire a verdict against himself to save the needy (Exo. 23:3). The authorities during the second Temple illustrate it as follows:—“If the rich man should say I am by law obliged to provide for the poor, I will therefore let him win the suit, and he will thus have his wants supplied without being subjected to the humiliation of receiving alms; for this reason it is said thou shalt not respect the person of the poor.”
Nor honour the person of the mighty.—Jewish juries, in their extreme desire to be impartial, have gone so far as to urge, that whilst the case between a rich man and a poor is being tried, they should both be dressed alike, both alike should either stand or sit, both should have the same right of speech, and both should be addressed by the judge in the same courteous manner. “If ye have respect to persons,” says the Apostle, in allusion to this passage, “ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (Jas. 2:9, with Lev. 19:2-4).
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.