Deuteronomy 19:14-21

Laws of Landmark and Testimony

14 “You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to [p]possess.

15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin [q]which he has committed; on the [r]evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 If a malicious witness rises up against a man to [s]accuse him of [t]wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has [u]accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.20 The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 Thus [v]you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Now, there are other passages that deal with the “eye for eye” judgments in the Old Testament law, but this one is interesting. It does not deal with someone who has done something wrong, but someone who falsely accuses someone else (which I guess is doing something wrong, but hopefully you get the point there).

Imagine our world if the prosecution would suffer the same penalty for falsely accusing someone, as if they had actually committed the crime. Now, I’m not talking about regular crimes, where police and prosecution alike are trying to solve a crime, and the justice system must decide if a person has actually committed the crime.

Rather, I’m thinking of other disputes, what we would generally call lawsuits. What if the stakes were such that if you lost, you had to pay the same penalty that you had asked for the person you accused? I think we’d see a lot fewer stupid lawsuits. To be sure, there are penalties, but I think judges are a bit too lenient, which is what allows such nonsense to continue.

While it might not seem like a “great evil”, God very clearly calls that sort of thing evil. For at it’s core, false accusations are a flat out lie, and detestable to God. Don’t get bogged down in trying to think your sins aren’t as bad as someone else’s. They are all sin, and all have the same damaging effects on your relationship to the God who created you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *