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Deuteronomy 16

Deuteronomy 16:18

18. 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.

18. Judices et praefectos constitues tibi intra omnes portas tuas quas Jehova Deus tuus dabit tibi per tribus tuas, qui judicent populum judicio justitiae, hoc est recto.

 

18. Judges and officers shalt thou make. I have placed this passage among the Supplements of the Fifth Commandment, for, if it pleases God that judges should be appointed for ruling the people, it follows that their laws and edicts should be obeyed; and thus the parental authority extends also to them. But, in order that the people may more readily submit themselves to judges, God reminds them that the human race could not otherwise be preserved. Public utility, therefore, renders the authority of magistrates pleasant and agreeable, though it would else be hateful. But, although it be not conceded to all to elect their judges, because God honored His chosen people with this prerogative, still he here recommends in general a regular government, since He signifies that human society cannot hold together unless the lawful rulers have authority to execute justice. Whether, then, magistrates are appointed by the suffrages of the people, or imposed in any other way, let us learn that they are the necessary ministers of God, to confine all men under the yoke of the laws. The latter passage, which I have annexed from Deuteronomy 7, refers to the same thing, viz., that even in war discipline is necessary, lest all things should be thrown into confusion. Now, if it pleases God that certain superior officers should have the command, it follows that they must be obeyed; for it would be ridiculous to appoint governors, if it were lawful to despise them with impunity. When, therefore, God sets military commanders over the people, He enforces the duty of humble submission.

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