Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Devarim (Deut.) 16:18-21:9
HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
NT Matt. 5:38-42; 18:15-20; Acts 3:13-26; 7:35-53; I Cor 5:9-13; I Tim 5:17-22; Hebrews 10:28-31
Today I want us to look at Devarim 16:18 to begin our discussion. This verse says to set up judges and policemen in all your gates. First, I would like to look at this on its surface and see how this was applied in both Judaism and Christianity. In the Land in the time of Yeshua every Jewish town had a panel of at least three people considered to be knowledgeable and honest to handle the legal questions that arose in the town. They were to apply Torah principles in their decisions. On a national level there was the Sanhedrin that dealt with the most difficult questions. One rule observed by the people was to bring their cases only before a Jewish court. To take it elsewhere was seen as a great sin. Why? Other Gentile courts would not hand down rulings based on Torah but based on their own system. In I Cor. 6:1-6 we read where Paul uses the same reasoning when speaking to the church at Corinth admonishing them to not go before unbelievers to decide a matter of justice. Why, for the same reason. So early believers were urged to follow the pattern of their roots on this question of judges.