3 However, there is some good in you, for you have purged the land of the sacred posts and have dedicated yourself to worship Hashem.”
ג אֲבָל דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים נִמְצְאוּ עִמָּךְ כִּי־בִעַרְתָּ הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת מִן־הָאָרֶץ וַהֲכִינוֹתָ לְבָבְךָ לִדְרֹשׁ הָאֱלֹהִים׃
5 He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified towns of Yehuda, in each and every town.
va-ya-a-MAYD sho-f’-TEEM ba-A-ratz b’-khol a-RAY y’-hu-DAH ha-b’-tzu-ROT l’-EER va-EER
ה וַיַּעֲמֵד שֹׁפְטִים בָּאָרֶץ בְּכָל־עָרֵי יְהוּדָה הַבְּצֻרוֹת לְעִיר וָעִיר׃
19:5 He appointed judges in the land
Yehoshafat understands the importance of justice in the land. As he has dedicated himself to worship Hashem (verse 3) he not only prays and offers sacrifices, but also places a strong emphasis on seeking justice. He appoints judges throughout the land to judge “on behalf of Hashem” (verse 6), and warns them about being honest and against taking bribes. He understands that part of serving God in the Land of Israel is pursuing justice and righteousness. In fact, the prophets emphasize that it was when the Jewish people stopped acting with justice that their troubles in the land, culminating with the destruction and exile, really began. Therefore, as part of the ultimate redemption, Yeshayahu teaches that Hashem “will restore your magistrates as of old, and your counselors as of yore. After that you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City.” He continues, “Tzion shall be saved in the judgment, her repentant ones, in the retribution” (Isaiah 1:26-27).1 comment
6 He charged the judges: “Consider what you are doing, for you judge not on behalf of man, but on behalf of Hashem, and He is with you when you pass judgment.
ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הַשֹּׁפְטִים רְאוּ מָה־אַתֶּם עֹשִׂים כִּי לֹא לְאָדָם תִּשְׁפְּטוּ כִּי לַיהֹוָה וְעִמָּכֶם בִּדְבַר מִשְׁפָּט׃
7 Now let the dread of Hashem be upon you; act with care, for there is no injustice or favoritism or bribe-taking with Hashem our God.”
ז וְעַתָּה יְהִי פַחַד־יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם שִׁמְרוּ וַעֲשׂוּ כִּי־אֵין עִם־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַוְלָה וּמַשֹּׂא פָנִים וּמִקַּח־שֹׁחַד׃
8 Yehoshafat also appointed in Yerushalayim some Leviim and Kohanim and heads of the clans of Israelites for rendering judgment in matters of Hashem, and for disputes. Then they returned to Yerushalayim.
9 He charged them, “This is how you shall act: in fear of Hashem, with fidelity, and with whole heart.
ט וַיְצַו עֲלֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּן בְּיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה בֶּאֱמוּנָה וּבְלֵבָב שָׁלֵם׃
10 When a dispute comes before you from your brothers living in their towns, whether about homicide, or about ritual, or laws or rules, you must instruct them so that they do not incur guilt before Hashem and wrath be upon you and your brothers. Act so and you will not incur guilt.
י וְכָל־רִיב אֲשֶׁר־יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם מֵאֲחֵיכֶם הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָרֵיהֶם בֵּין־דָּם לְדָם בֵּין־תּוֹרָה לְמִצְוָה לְחֻקִּים וּלְמִשְׁפָּטִים וְהִזְהַרְתֶּם אֹתָם וְלֹא יֶאְשְׁמוּ לַיהֹוָה וְהָיָה־קֶצֶף עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל־אֲחֵיכֶם כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּן וְלֹא תֶאְשָׁמוּ׃
11 See, Amariah the chief Kohen is over you in all cases concerning Hashem, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael is the commander of the house of Yehuda in all cases concerning the king; the Levitical officials are at your disposal; act with resolve and Hashem be with the good.”