Morning Devotional: 5 Interesting Ancient Torah Court Laws/Customs

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#5 Settle Out of Court If You Can.
In Matthew 5:25-26, Yahushua says “If someone sues you, come to terms with him quickly, while you and he are on the way to court; or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer of the court, and you may be thrown in jail! Yes indeed! I tell you, you will certainly not get out until you have paid the last penny.” This is interesting, because today settling out of court leads the public to assume that the one being sued has something to hide (keeps evidence and records private). Most people care consumed with proving their innocence (in some cases you must).

During this time, people were thrown into court if he (most likely a “he”) was even in debt! Remember the parable of the unmerciful servant? The man who owed the large sum had the man who owed the small sum thrown in jail because he could not repay him. How different from today.

#4  A person who sells a home and/or property can take the property back within a year of the sale.
Yep, you heard me. If a person changed his mind, he could buy back his property. If the new owner began avoiding the seller (b.k.a. old owner) and was never at home, the seller could leave the money at the temple with the priests and the deed would be transferred back. If applicable, the new home owner would have to vacate.
 
#3 The Sanhedrin (another name for the ancient Jewish court system) had 71 judges, but no lawyers. 
The accused (defendant) and the accuser (plaintiff) each brought forth their own witnesses. It took 2 witnesses having a consistent story to convict a suspect.
 
#2 Judges had to be at least 40 years old, but not “too old” because he may be too “severe.” 
The same was with a man who  was sterile or never had children. I’m inferring that the assumption here was the latter was that a person who has been a father before will have more experience managing people and may extend more grace in situations.
 
According to the U.S. constitution, there is no age requirement to be a Supreme court judge. In fact, judges don’t even have to be lawyers or a law school graduate, so long as he or she is “trained in the law”. There have been Supreme Court Judges who did not hold law degrees and have served. 
 
#1 It was preferred that judges know all the languages that Jews spoke from around the world. 
This is because the judges must hear all testimony directly, and not through an interpreter. If interpretation was needed, 3 interpreters would be brought in to confirm consistency of message.
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