Courts of Justice

1. Have authority from God. Ro 13:1–5.

2. Superior court

a. Held first by Moses alone in the wilderness. Ex 18:13–20.

b. Consisted subsequently of priests and Levites. De 17:9; Mal 2:7.

c. Presided over by the governor or the high priest. De 17:12; Jdj 4:4, 5.

d. Held at the seat of government. De 17:8.

e. Decided on all appeals and difficult cases. Ex 18:26; De 1:17; 17:8, 9.

f. Decisions of, conclusive. De 17:10, 11.

3. Inferior court

a. In all cities. De 16:18; 2 Ch 19:5–7.

b. Held at the gates. Ge 34:20; De 16:18; 21:19; Job 5:4.

c. Judges of, appointed by the governor. Ex 18:21, 25; De 1:9–15; 2 Sa 15:3.

d. All minor cases decided by. Ex 18:26; 2 Sa 15:4.

e. All transfers of property made before. Ge 23:17–20; Ru 4:1, 2.

4. Re-established by Jehoshaphat. 2 Ch 19:5–10.

5. Re-established by Ezra. Ezr 7:25.

6. Sanhedrim or court of the seventy

a. Probably derived from the seventy elders appointed by Moses. Ex 24:9; Nu 11:16, 17, 24–30.

b. Mentioned in the latter part of sacred history. Lu 22:66; Joh 11:47; Ac 5:27.

c. Consisted of chief priest, &c. Mt 26:57, 59.

d. Presided over by high priest. Mt 26:62–66.

e. Sat in high priest’s palace. Mt 26:57, 58.

7. Of the romans in Judea

a. Presided over by the governor or deputy. Mt 27:2, 11; Ac 18:12.

b. Place of, called the hall of judgment. Joh 18:28, 33; 19:9.

c. Never interfered in any dispute about minor matters or about religion. Ac 18:14, 15.

d. Could alone award death. Joh 18:31.

e. Never examined their own citizens by torture. Ac 22:25–29.

f. Appeals from, made to the emperor. Ac 25:11; 26:32; 28:19.

8. Generally held in the morning. Jer 21:12; Mt 27:1; Lu 22:66; Ac 5:21.

9. Sometimes held in synagogues. Mt 10:17; Ac 22:19; 26:11; Jas 2:2.

10. Provided with

a. Judges. De 16:18.

b. Officers. De 16:18; Mt 5:25.

c. Tormentors or executioners. Mt 18:34.

11. Judges of

a. Called elders. De 25:7; 1 Sa 16:4.

b. Called magistrates. Lu 12:58.

c. Rode often on white asses. Jdj 5:10.

d. To judge righteously. Le 19:15; De 1:6.

e. To judge without respect of persons. Ex 23:3, 6; Le 19:15; De 1:17; Pr 22:22.

f. To investigate every case. De 19:18.

g. Not to take bribes. Ex 23:8; De 16:19.

h. To judge as for God. 2 Ch 19:6, 7, 9.

i. To decide according to the law. Eze 44:24.

j. To promote peace. Zec 8:16.

k. Sat on the judgment-seat while hearing causes. Ex 18:13; Jdj 5:10; Isa 28:6; Mt 27:19.

l. Examined the parties. Ac 24:8.

m. Conferred together before giving judgment. Ac 5:34–40; 25:12; 26:30, 31.

n. Pronounced the judgment of the court. Mt 26:65, 66; Lu 23:24; Ac 5:40.

12. Both the accusers and accused required to appear before. De 25:1; Ac 25:16.

13. Causes in, were opened by

a. The complainant. 1 Ki 3:17–21; Ac 16:19–21.

b. An advocate. Ac 24:1.

14. The accused

a. Stood before the judge. Nu 35:12; Mt 27:11.

b. Permitted to plead their own cause. 1 Ki 3:22; Ac 24:10; 26:1.

c. Might have advocates. Pr 31:8, 9; Isa 1:17.

d. Exhorted to confess. Jos 7:19.

e. Examined on oath. Le 5:1; Mt 26:63.

f. Sometimes examined by torture. Ac 22:24, 29.

g. Sometimes treated with insult. Mt 26:67; Joh 18:22, 23; Ac 23:2, 3.

h. The evidence of two or more witnesses required in. De 17:6; 19:15; Joh 8:17; 2 Co 13:1.

i. Witnesses sometimes laid their hands on the criminal’s head before punishment. Le 24:14.

15. False witnesses in to receive the punishment of the accused. De 19:19.

16. Corruption and bribery often practised in. Isa 10:1; Am 5:12; 8:6.

17. The judgment of

a. Not given till accused was heard. Joh 7:51.

b. Recorded in writing. Isa 10:1.

c. Immediately executed. De 25:2; Jos 7:25; Mr 15:15–20.

d. Witnesses first to execute. De 17:7; Ac 7:58.

e. Allusions to. Job 5:4; Ps 127:5; Mt 5:22.

f. Illustrative of the last judgment. Mt 19:28; Ro 14:10; 1 Co 6:2.

 Torrey, R. A. (2001). The new topical text book: A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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