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).