Proverbs 18:5

The Wrong Side of Justice

5a It is not good to accept the person of the wicked

A. Not Good

1. Good: Good; well-pleasing; fruitful; morally correct; proper; favorable; that which is appealing and pleasant to the senses; good in a moral sense as opposed to evil.

2. In this proverb, Solomon describes a situation which is morally INCORRECT… WRONG…

a. It is not pleasing or appealing to the senses… we sense something out of line here…

b. It is not proper… not correct… not right.

c. He describes a situation that ought to upset our sense of right and wrong… it should cause moral people a certain level of discomfort… even outrage.

3. Solomon was KING and JUDGE in Israel.

a. The situation he describes is one he may have observed in many different settings… but especially so in the governing of the Kingdom.

b. He would have seen many examples of this in all the politicking that went on in Israel… as well as in the judicial system.

c. No doubt as the King this disturbed him.

d. He was aware of how destabilizing this could be for the country… how quickly it could degenerate into anarchy…

e. He knew from observation that this was an issue that needed to be addressed.

f. I Tim. 2:1-2 – We are told to PRAY for those that are in authority in our land.
• Here is something specific to pray FOR: pray that our leaders would not be on the wrong side of justice.
• This is HOW we can lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

B. The Wicked

1. Wicked: criminal; guilty one, unrighteous; violator of the law; one who is in the wrong; enemies of God and of righteousness; a transgressor.

2. This term describes a person who is WRONG or in the wrong… on the wrong side… the wrong side of justice.

C. Accepting the Person of the Wicked

1. Accept: “To lift up and carry” hence, to support; endure; bear with; aid; assist; respect; lift up honor; raise up; exalt…

2. Accepting the person (lit = face) means to support or assist the wicked in some way.

a. It could be active assistance… helping out… providing aid and assistance… voting for… honoring… approving…

b. It could be passive assistance in the sense of tolerating… enduring… bearing with… even though you may disagree… passively putting up with the wicked… without voicing concern or displeasure…

c. For us as Americans we might be guilty of this by NOT voting against him… and giving the wicked a free ride… unopposed.

d. We SHOULD oppose the wicked…

3. Solomon states that it is not good—improper—to accept (either actively or passively) the person who wrong… guilty… a transgressor… is on the wrong side… a violator of the law.

D. WHY Would Anyone Do Such a Thing?

1. Financial gain personally

a. You stand to make a financial killing by supporting him.

b. You will get a raise if he gets in power—even if it is to the damage of the company… or the country…

2. Emotion; feelings

a. This is especially if it is YOUR son or daughter!

b. It is so very easy to overlook wickedness on the part of one we love… and support them IN their wrong choices…

c. Many a time I have seen families from fundamental churches who took a strong stand… suddenly change their views against New Evangelicalism when their child begins attending a Neo church.

d. It is relatively easy to take a “theoretical” stand for that which is right. But once family gets involved, and emotions cloud one’s vision, it is surprising how often folks will “accept the person of the wicked.”

3. Position and power

a. Others will accept the person of the wicked if it means they will advance. (Happens daily in American politics.)

b. “I’ll support the crook because it will be helpful for me to get a promotion… or for me to advance in politics…”

c. It is easy to put self advancement over principle… the principle of justice.

4. The end justifies the means

a. Again, folks are willing to support a crook if he will bring the bacon home to their district.

b. They may not like him, but they will hold their nose and support him because of the favorable END

5. Respect of persons

a. Folks will also support someone who is wicked because “he’s one of us; we share a common heritage; he’s a friend; he’s in my political party.”

b. Out of respect of persons, some will support a crook…

E. It is NOT Good

1. Whatever reasons we may devise for supporting the wicked, they are not good in God’s sight.

5b To overthrow the righteous in judgment.

A. Overthrow Defined

1. Lit = to stretch; to extend.

2. It has 16 different usages or various meanings.

3. This verb is translated 35 different ways in the KJV alone!

4. As an idiom, (as seems to be the case here) it means to stretch out one’s hand against someone; to act in a hostile manner toward that person.

B. Overthrowing the Righteous

1. Righteous: lawful; righteous; just; innocent; correct; right.

2. This speaks of OPPOSING the righteous… opposing or standing in the way of those who are correct… acting in a hostile manner towards those who are innocent and just.

C. In Judgment

1. Judgment = Justice; ordinance; in the execution of justice; litigation.

a. Used of a court of law – Deut. 25:1.

b. Used of an official legal verdict (I Kings 20:40).

c. Wherever judgments or decisions are made to settle disputes between people… do NOT oppose the innocent or the righteous.

d. Be on their side! Defend them! Support that which is right and just and fair.

e. Don’t ever oppose justice… in any setting!

2. But especially in the judicial system of a land.

a. However wrong it is, it happens all too often.

b. Sometimes it happens because of bigotry and racism.

c. Sometimes it happens because of bribes or the power of filthy lucre… money easily perverts justice.

d. Ex. 23:6 – God made a law against it: “Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.”
• Evidently some men used the legal system to trample over the poor… to take their lands and goods…
• The poor are not always treated fairly in our country either… and it is not good.
• When the verdict depends upon one’s ability to hire an expensive lawyer, something is wrong with the system. It is not good!

D. This too is Not Good

1. It is not good for the judicial system. It won’t be respected. It could result in riots or anarchy.

2. It is not good for the country as a whole either. It will serve to undermine the country… to cause it to unravel…

3. It is not good for relationships among the various groups of people in a land. It can polarize and turn one group against another.

4. It is not good in God’s sight either. It is an offense to Him.

5. Ps. 82:1-4 –

a. God stands among the “gods” – authorities in Israel… namely, the rulers and judges.

b. God specifically commanded them to care for the poor and needy in the land… in the judicial system…

c. This was because He knew the tendency in man to trample over them.

6. There is NOTHING good about standing in opposition to justice being carried out.

7. Solomon mentioned this truth often in Proverbs.

a. Evidently he observed it often as he ruled the Kingdom.

b. He saw what damage it did… lives ruined by it…

c. He learned to HATE injustice. So should we.

d. Prov. 17:26 – punishing the just is not good… ever!

e. Prov. 17:15 – not only is it not good, it is an abomination!

f. Prov. 17:23 – using bribes to pervert justice.

g. This point is made often from a slightly different angle: respect of persons in judgment. This too is not good.

h. Lev. 19:15 – There should be no respect given to the poor or to the wealthy.
• Justice should be absolutely blind… so as not too see the wealth of a person, or his color, or his position…
• Justice should be completely impartial… not political, not partisan, siding ONLY with the truth.
• Judgment in a case should be made solely on the MERIT of the case… not the wealth or influence of the person.
• It is so easy to be biased for one side or another.
• Prov. 18:17 – That’s why Solomon speaks repeatedly about the importance of hearing BOTH sides before rushing into a decision or making a judgment on the case. That is a respect of persons…

i. Anything less than blind impartiality is a travesty of justice… an abomination.

j. II Sam. 23:3 – “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
• This is God’s standard for rulers and judges.
• We should pray for this in America.
• We should BE this kind of citizen… one who stands and supports that which is RIGHT, TRUE and FAIR… and not that which will benefit me.