That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked…
Observe the great honour which the Lord conferred upon His faithful servant. Surely this signal recognition of personal worth and faithful service speaks volumes of the esteem in which the Lord holds His servants. Observe, again, the unselfish use which Abraham made of the wonderful interview with which he was honoured. Men of the world, when ushered into the presence of royalty, only think of their own interest; they consider well how such an opportunity may be improved for their own personal advantage. How very different the conduct of Abraham! Observe, again, the nature of the plea which Abraham sets up for the preservation of the city. He points out the claims of righteousness, which the Lord, as a righteous judge, could not less than respect. "Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" And the Lord readily admitted the validity of his plea, for He said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then will I spare all the place for their sakes." Thus the only thing which God values in man is righteousness, purity of character; compared with this, the accidents of birth, possessions, attainments, are utterly insignificant in His eyes. In the conversation which followed, Abraham not only showed his intimate knowledge of God's merciful disposition, but showed also that this intimate knowledge was far from being perfect. Let us contemplate the words —
I. As AN EXPRESSION OF DOUBT. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" With regard to what the Judge of all the earth ought to do, there can be but one opinion. The position of any judge is one of dignity, authority, and responsibility; he cannot, therefore, maintain his position for a single day unless he do right, and execute justice, and act impartially. Nevertheless, a superficial view of the condition of this world — a world so full of confusion, disorder, and lawlessness — have led some to doubt the righteousness of its great Judge and Governor. Let us now glance, for a moment, at some of the circumstances which give rise to these distressing thoughts.
1. When right is defeated, and wrong is triumphant. In this world, it is might that triumphs, and not right. Read the records of the past, and see how empires grew, waxed strong, and acquired wealth. In very many instances it was the work of the sword, the result of military skill, valour, and power. What was Alexander the Great? What was Julius Caesar? What was Napoleon Buonaparte? What was the nature of the work which they severally accomplished? They were neither more nor less than conquerors; men who established the dominion of might. They may have sometimes been the champions of right, and used their splendid victories for the best purposes. Look at individuals. The mighty, the powerful, the strong, have it all their own way; while the weak are ruthlessly trampled under foot. And many a down-trodden weak one, knowing the righteousness of his cause, whispers in the bitterness of his soul, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
2. When wickedness prospers and virtue fails. There can be no dispute whatever as to which ought to prosper, and which ought to fail. It is only reasonable to suppose that the order of things established by a Creator who is infinitely wise and good, should discountenance vice and favour virtue.
3. When what we conceive to be strict order is displaced by what seems to be utter confusion. Can you look back upon the experience of a single day, and say that all things have been conformable to your own notions of propriety? Does not the most superficial review suggest many improvements? It was strange to see King Edward the Sixth, under whose beneficent reign England began to enjoy the blessings of freedom, enlightenment, and true religion, cut off a tender youth, to make room for the tyrannical and bloodthirsty Mary, who brought upon the land darkness, oppression, and despair. The only child of rich parents, who have more possessions than they can possibly use, is carried away by death, while their poor neighbour, who finds it a difficult matter to earn the bare means of existence, is allowed to rear a numerous family. Is this the way we should have arranged matters?
II. As AN EXPRESSION OF CONFIDENCE. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" There can be no doubt whatever that Abraham used them in this sense — to express his unlimited confidence in the wisdom and righteousness of God. Having trusted God, he trusted Him altogether; and never allowed even the shadow of a doubt to darken the brightness of his faith. Many considerations might be suggested here which are adapted in the highest degree to hush our doubts, and to inspire our confidence. Consider —
1. That in this world we know God's ways only in part. What may be the entire bearing, or the ultimate issue of any event, we have no means of ascertaining.
2. That whenever we have understood the whole bearing of mysterious events, we have been compelled to admit their wisdom.
3. That things which are apparently evil and unnecessary, may be really good and necessary.
(D. Rowlands, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
WEB: Be it far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn't the Judge of all the earth do right?"