Leviticus 19:11, 13, 15, 16, 35, 36
You shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
The Jews have always been considered a cunning and crafty race; they have been credited with a willingness to overreach in business dealings. Men would rather have transactions with others than with them, lest they should find themselves worsted in the bargain. This suspicion may be well founded; but if it be so, it ought to be remembered that it is the consequence of the long and cruel disadvantages under which they have suffered, and is not clue to anything in their own blood or to any defect in their venerable Law. From the beginning they have been as strictly charged to live honourable and upright lives before man as to engage regularly in the worship of God. They have been as much bound to integrity of conduct as to devoutness of spirit. In these few verses we find them called to -
I. INTEGRITY IN DAILY TRANSACTIONS - HONESTY. "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely" (verse 11). "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him" (verse 13; see verses 35, 36). Nothing could be more explicit than this, nothing more comprehensive in suggestion. No member of the Hebrew commonwealth could
(1) deliberately appropriate what he knew was not his own, or
(2) rob his neighbour in the act of trading, or
(3) deal falsely or unrighteously in any transaction or in any relation, without consciously breaking the Law and coming under the displeasure of Jehovah.
The words of the Law are clear and strong, going straight to the understanding and to the conscience. Every man amongst them must have known, as every one amongst us knows well, that dishonesty is sin in the sight of God.
II. INTEGRITY IN OFFICIAL DUTY - JUSTICE. (Verse 15.) It is a pitiful thought that, in every nation, justice has been open to corruption; that men placed in honourable posts in order to do justice between man and man have either sold it to the highest bidder or surrendered and betrayed it from craven fear. God's clear word condemns such rank injustice, and his high displeasure follows the perpetrator of it. He who undertakes to judge his fellows must do so in the fear of God, and if he swerves from his integrity in his public acts, he must lay his account with heaven if not with man.
III. INTEGRITY IN WORD - TRUTH. "Ye shall not lie one to another" (verse 11). This, too, is a universal sin. Some nations may be more prone to it than others, The weak and the oppressed are too ready to take refuge in it; it is the resort of the feeble and the fearful But it is also used with shameful freedom and shocking unconcern, as an instrument of gain and power. God has revealed his holy hatred of it. "Ye shall not lie." "Lying lips are abomination to the Lord;" "the Lord hateth a lying tongue" (Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 6:17). Under the gospel of Christ, we are earnestly warned against it (Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9). We are reminded that it is
(1) a wrong done to our fellow-men ("we are members," etc.), and
(2) closely associated with heather habits (the "old man," etc.); and we may remember that it is
(3) a habit most demoralizing to ourselves, as well as
(4) something which utterly separates us from our Lord, being so contrary to his Spirit and so grievous in his sight. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.