Have you ever experienced observing someone, especially a friend or family member, doing something you know is wrong and confronting them with it? Have they ever responded with, "judge not lest ye be judged?" Did you then suddenly capture the emotions of the Boston strangler? I am sure that most of us have heard that response. Is that the context of the verse they are quoting? Do most people who say those words even know from what passage of scripture they are quoting? Just for grins let's put it up there.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:1-5Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

This is a subject for a series of lengthy articles and not the Word of the Week, which has become the semiannual Word. Sorry 'bout that. I want to address the meaning of the Hebrew word behind our English word judgment. Even at a glance one can see that the sound bite that is extracted from this context has little to do with confronting someone with something that you discern is wrong. The Hebrew word generally translated as judgment or sometimes even to plead is shaphat (שפט). This word is made up of a shin(ש), a peh(פ) and a tet (ט). In its pictographic or childlike form it is to surround (tet) the mouth (peh) again (shin). One of the first occurrences of this word is in Shemot (Exodus) 21 just after the commandments are given. The word command in Hebrew dominantly comes from the word peh or mouth. In chapter 21 the judgments follow. Shoftiym, or judgments, are rulings from our Creator based upon the commandments. When righteous judges make a ruling they go back to the commandments. They are not to make judgments based upon what they perceive to be right or wrong, but rather the Scriptures. This is the background for Yeshua‘s comments in Yochanan (John) 7:

Yochanan 7:23-24If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

As followers of the God of Israel we have an obligation to judge, but to do so righteously surrounded by His precious commandments. In my opinion, the sooner the body of Messiah moves in righteous judgment, the sooner we will agree on the minor issues that we currently divide ourselves over.

Mattityahu 23:23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Shalom Alecheim!