Blaine Robison, M.A.
Delivered 2 September 2017
Differing Weights Banned
not to have in your house differing measures, large and small, 15 but you
shall have a full and just weight, a full and just measure you shall have:
in order that your days may be lengthened in the land which ADONAI
your God gives to you. 16 For all who do such things, all who do injustice,
are an abomination to ADONAI
your God." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 25:14-16 mine)
"5 For your Maker is your husband, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name, and your
Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, will be called God of all the earth. … 7
For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great mercies I will gather you.
8 In a moment of wrath I hid My face from you, but with everlasting covenant
loyalty I will have compassion," says ADONAI
your Redeemer." (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54:5, 7-8 mine)
Kee Tetze provides guidelines for a wide variety of subjects and the
thread that runs through all of them is the concern for doing justice. The
particular passage before us concerns the practice of buying and selling
using a scale and in particular the fraudulent practice of using unequal
weights, the lighter to sell with and the heavier to buy with. In verse 14
and 15 the word "measure" is eiphah, which refers to a measure used
by farmers to sell grain. The prophet Amos criticized his hearers for making
the eiphah small and the shekel great (Amos 8:5). In modern culture
we call this practice price gouging, which is charging greatly inflated
prices for basic necessities. We've heard stories of it recently in relation
to the disaster in Texas.
God called price gouging an abomination. The Hebrew word toebah in
its normal meaning referred to something that stinks in the nostrils and is
totally repulsive. In the Torah there are a number of behaviors God
considers detestable. Most of them are capital crimes requiring the death
penalty. Therefore God classifies price gouging and dishonest business
practices as among the worst sins, as Solomon said, "Dishonest scales are an
abomination to ADONAI,
but an accurate weight is His delight" (Prov 11:1 TLV).
15 God used two adjectives to describe the kind of measure He wants. The
first word Heb. shaleim, refers to giving a full or accurate weight.
The second adjective is tsedeq, which means rightness, righteous or
just. In relation to the weight tsedeq implies being right according
to a defined standard. A few versions translate tsedeq with "fair"
instead of "just," but in my view "fair" is an inadequate interpretation. In
modern language "fairness" generally means getting what I want. However,
justice is getting what God wants. There's a big difference between the two
prefers one measure or one standard, not differing standards for His people.
It is noteworthy that verse 14 says "in your house," which can be taken in
two ways. Many times in the Tanakh the nation is referred to has the "house
of Israel," meaning the household of Jacob (Isa 46:3). The Haftarah reminds
us that ADONAI
was the maker of the house of Israel, but it was because of their
abominations that He hid His face from them. That is, He did not prevent the
nation from suffering the wages of sin.
even in judgment ADONAI
promised everlasting faithfulness to His covenant. God intended to gather
His people back to Himself and back to their Land. In order to be brought
back Israel would have to stop having differing weights. As Elijah
challenged the people of his day, "How long will you waver between two
opinions? If ADONAI
is God, follow Him; but if Baal is, follow him" (1Kgs 18:21 TLV).
should also consider that "house" is meant to be individual and personal. My
house. Your house. God expects that our marriages and our homes will be
characterized by a single unifying value system, at the center of which is
devotion to the God of Israel. This is why God prohibited Israel from
intermarrying with the idolatrous pagan tribes [Deut 7:3] and Paul echoed
this rule for believers not to be unequally yoked [2Cor
6:14]. No house can survive being pulled in opposite directions.
Differing weights is like being double-minded, which
Yeshua's brother Jacob warned
brings instability [Jas 1:8]. Being double minded refers to being
indecisive. I realize that is a weakness of men on a lot of subjects, but
there should be no uncertainty in our basic values. God desires that we have
a pure heart [Matt 5:8], that is, a heart that is single toward Him.
offered a good motivation to obey His law. Doing justice and equity will
bring down the blessing and presence of God. The way to have our days
lengthened, and to prosper, is to live by His standard and be just and
loving in all our dealings. To
do that we need the commitment of Joshua, "As for me and my household
we will serve ADONAI"
(Josh 24:15 TLV).
Copyright © 2017 by
Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.