A person who has the authority to settle disputes and restore justice. In the early period of Israelite history those who acted in this official capacity were the heads of families or the elders of the tribe. With the coming of the monarchy, judges included the king as supreme authority in the land, leading citizens and professional magistrates delegated by him, and priests in matters strictly religious or in special cases. OT tradition associates the institution of the office of judge with Moses. Judges in Israel ruled with the authority delegated to them by Yahweh, “the Judge of all the earth” (Gen 18:25). Those selected to be judges were to be capable and God-fearing persons who were trustworthy and incorruptible (Exod 18:21). Codes for the conduct of judges stress the importance of absolute fairness and impartial judgment (Exod 23:1-3; Exod 6-9:1; Lev 19:15-16; Lev 19:35-36, Deut 16:19-20; Deut 17:8-13). In a special sense, the title “judge” is also applied to heroic persons who delivered the Israelites from their oppressors during the turbulent times of the settlement into the land of Canaan (Deborah, Gideon, Samson, et al.). These persons are sometimes called the “major judges.”

Gen 18:25

25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Ju ... View more

Exod 18:21

21You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over th ... View more

Exod 23:1-3

Justice for All
1You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.2You shall not follow a majority in ... View more

Exod 6-9:1

Israel's Deliverance Assured
1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a migh ... View more

Lev 19:15-16

15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.16You shall no ... View more

Lev 19:35-36

35You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight, or quantity.36You shall have honest balances, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lo ... View more

Deut 16:19-20

19You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of ... View more

Deut 17:8-13

Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges
8If a judicial decision is too difficult for you to make between one kind of bloodshed and another, one kind of legal righ ... View more

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