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“You must not use dishonest standards in measures of length, of weight or of quantity. Bible

“dishonest standards.” Here the REV follows the translation in the NIV and NLT. The Hebrew is more literally, “unrighteousness in judgment.” But we would say that someone who cheats in business is “dishonest,” while the biblical concept is more naturally, “unrighteousness.” The “judgment” was based on “standards.” God is saying not to cheat in business by using dishonest measures.

Early in history weights and measures varied from town to town and region to region. It was the desire for trade that put pressure on the development of standardized systems of measurement across wider areas, but that was only partially successful. The weights and measures from the Middle East that have been discovered by archaeologists vary quite a bit. Early measurements were related to common things such as the width of a hand, the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, a bowshot, or how far a person could walk in a day. Eventually it was the job of the Levites to keep accurate weights and measures that could be used to standardize the ones being used by merchants in Israel (1 Chron. 23:27-29). [For more on using different weights and measures, and using the balance in trading, see commentary on Prov. 11:1].


Commentary for: Leviticus 19:35