Israel’s Judicial Reform

God does not sin or play favorites with people, and He will not take bribes!  We love and obey Him.

January 22, 2022

"Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts."

2 Chronicles 19:7

Moses, the Children of Israel’s leader for 40 years, set up the nation’s court system.  By the time Jehoshaphat became King of Judah, the nation of Israel had split and was being punished for her sins.  God chose Jehoshaphat to be the man to make changes in Judah.  It was time for judicial reform that honored the Lord and treated the people fairly.  Jehoshaphat loved the Lord, and he was determined to do what he could to lead the people back to Jehovah.

“He fixed local courts in each of the fortified cities, these being the provincial capitals of every district…” [1] (JFB).

This was Moses’ work, setting up the courts at the beginning of the nation, as they were going into the new land.

“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment” (Deuteronomy 16:18).

By using a godly judicial system, Jehoshaphat’s goal was to point his people to the God who met their needs are provided for them over so many years.  He was concerned for their spiritual welfare.

“…all that was effected by the commission which Jehoshaphat had sent throughout the land being regarded as his work.  The instruction of the people in the law was intended to lead them back to the Lord.  Jehoshaphat now again took up his work of reformation, in order to complete the work he had begun, by ordering and improving the administration of justice” [2] (K&D).

“Part of Jehoshaphat’s program of reform was his personally traveling through Judah to encourage people to turn back to the Lord.  He also appointed godly judges throughout the land, arbiters whose task it was to judge without partiality or bribery (… Deuteronomy 16:18–20)” [3] (BKC).

Our verse for today points out how these judges were to handle their cases and why.

1.  These judges were to be men that feared the Lord.

2.  These judges are to be God’s representatives, they were to obey the LORD, and since God does not sin, they were expected not to sin in their office as judges.

3.  They were to show “no respect of persons” – everyone was to be treated fairly, according to the law.

4.  They were never to take bribes, for God cannot be bought off!


As these judges went out to their respective cities, Jehoshaphat gave them a particular challenge –

“And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart” (2 Chronicles 19:9).

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the men and women in our nation who sit on the benches in our courts were like these judges that Jehoshaphat commissioned for God?!  We need to pray for our judges.

Dear believers, the circumstances in our land are not that different from the people of Israel a couple of millennia ago.  But regardless of our circumstances, God calls His people to a life of faithfulness, honesty, and righteous living.  Let’s show our friends and neighbors how believers live for God in difficult times.  Let them see how good our God is!


Quote: “In appointing regional judges, Jehoshaphat reminded them of two things: that God would be watching them, and that God was the model for impartiality.” [4] (CSB).

“Stop judging by the way things look.  Be fair and judge by what is really right” [5] (John 7:24, HSB).




[1] JFB, Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997).  Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 275).  Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[2] KDC – Keil & Delitzsch.  Keil & Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament, the electronic version in eSword.
[3] BKC, Merrill, E. H. (1985).  2 Chronicles.  In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 634).  Victor Books.  The emphasis is theirs.
[4] CSB, Corduan, W. (2017).  2 Chronicles.  In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 669).  Holman Bible Publishers.  The emphasis is mine.
[5] HSB is the Harvest Study Bible from Harvest Ministries in Guam.