Themes in Proverbs: Partiality and Favoritism

Proverbs 24:23-25

             23       These also are sayings of the wise.

                           To show partiality in judgment is not good.

               24       He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,”

                           Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him;

               25       But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight,

                          And a good blessing will come upon them.


Godly wisdom shows no partiality in respect to the administration of justice. Such “respect of persons” (lit., the recognition of faces) is forbidden in the law (Lev 19:15; Deut 16:19). Peoples shall “curse” officials who declare the wicked to be “righteous,” i.e., innocent. Miscarriages of justice make citizens feel insecure. On the other hand, magistrates who “reprove,” i.e., convict, the wicked “shall be a delight,” i.e., shall fare well. “A blessing of good” fortune shall come upon those just officials (James E. Smith – The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms).

Sadly, when sin is seen in our close social groups (friends, family, congregation), it can be hard to denounce. We, many times, would rather show preferential treatment to those that are close to us. God calls us to be better than that. Sin is sin no matter the offender. Who better than us, a close friend, family member, or fellow brother or sister in Christ to help an erring one to get back on track.