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14 You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person.[a] You must fear[b] your God; I am the Lord.

Justice, Love, and Propriety

15 “‘You[c] must not deal unjustly in judgment:[d] You must neither show partiality to the poor nor honor the rich.[e] You must judge your fellow citizen fairly.[f] 16 You must not go about as a slanderer among your people.[g] You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake.[h] I am the Lord.

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  1. Leviticus 19:14 tn Heb “You shall not curse a deaf [person] and before a blind [person] you shall not put a stumbling block.”
  2. Leviticus 19:14 tn Heb “And you shall fear.” Many English versions (e.g., KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV) regard the Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) as adversative in force here (“but”).
  3. Leviticus 19:15 tc Smr has the singular rather than the plural “you” of the MT, which brings this verb form into line with the ones surrounding it.
  4. Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “You shall not do injustice in judgment” (NASB similar); cf. NIV “do not pervert justice.”
  5. Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “You shall not lift up faces of poor [people] and you shall not honor faces of great.”
  6. Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “In righteousness you shall judge your fellow citizen.”
  7. Leviticus 19:16 tn The term רָכִיל (rakhil) is traditionally rendered “slanderer” here (so NASB, NIV, NRSV; see also J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 304, 316), but the exact meaning is uncertain (see the discussion in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 129). It is sometimes related to I רָכַל (rakhal, “to go about as a trader [or “merchant”]”; BDB 940 s.v. רָכַל), and taken to refer to cutthroat business dealings, but there may be a II רָכַל, the meaning of which is dubious (HALOT 1237 s.v. II *רכל). Some would render it “to go about as a spy.”
  8. Leviticus 19:16 tn Heb “You shall not stand on the blood of your neighbor.” This part of the verse is also difficult to interpret. The rendering here suggests that one will not allow a neighbor to be victimized, whether in court (cf. v. 15) or in any other situation (see the discussion in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 129).