Scales and weights were often part of an ancient businessman’s shop equipment. This verse reminds us that God hates it when we cheat others and loves it when we treat each other honestly.
The fact that He says this so frequently – it is a common theme in the Law (Lev 19:35-36; Dt 25:13-16), Prophets (Ezek 45:10; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11) and Proverbs (16:11; 20:10, 23) – is probably significant. Apparently, God’s people had a tendency to not deal fairly with each other. This verse indicates that such behavior really ticks God off!
BENEATH THE SURFACE
A “double pan” scale that did not work accurately is the idea in this verse. At issue would be that the amount of product or payment being weighed in one pan did not equally balance with the known and marked weight stone in the other pan.
Also at issue are accurate weights. Apparently weights were not always accurate, suggesting two weights were marked as equal, but were not. An unscrupulous businessman would buy and sell product with different weights which were supposed to be the same. Presumably he used a heavier weight to buy and a lighter weight to sell. Here at Helping Up Mission, the guys would call this “a dope-fiend move!”
Excavations in Israel have uncovered ancient store-front shops and we now have multiple weights marked with the same value. In Old Testament times, weights were made by chipping stones into round balls and then marked accordingly. Some archaeologist decided it would be a good idea to actually weigh them (maybe because of this verse!). When they were measured, weights of the same value were found to be different.
Honest, Open and Willing,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director