- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:23
"Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good"
One of the temptations in business is to cheat those who aren't sharp enough to notice. That type of class warfare brings the condemnation of God.
In biblical times people would come to the market and purchase a certain amount of something. Each merchant would have a scale and weights that were equal to a normal measure of goods. Their weights were stones which weighed the exact amount so that when it was placed on one side of the scale, the other side could be filled with grain or goods. Some unscrupulous businessmen would carry two sets of stones with them. When a sharp business man came to trade with them, they would bring out the true weighted stone. When someone who would not check or who would not notice or who was too trusting, they would use stones that looked the same size but were actually lighter so that they would be selling less goods for the same price. In this way they made more money. It was a way of taking advantage of people. It meant that you were only honest with those people who forced you to be honest.
This type of dishonesty continues to this day where salespeople offer better deals to the shrewd and willingly charge more to those who won't force the issue. This type of two-tiered pricing structure – whether it is based on intelligence, class, race, religion, literacy, or need – is wrong and is called gouging.
Solomon says it is an abomination to the Lord. You may get away with it but God is not pleased.
This is the Hebrew word toebah, which means to abhor or loathe. God has structured the universe in such a way that certain things are extremely destructive. These things are abhorrent to Him, and He seeks to mark these out by letting us know not to move in this direction.
It is possible for people to do these actions. Doing an abominable thing is a concentration of selfishness with so little regard for others and the destructive chain of events that it sets in motion. It becomes all about you in a major way when you commit an abominable thing.
Now it is important to note that while many of the abominable things are emotionally repugnant or perverse, this action of cheating the trusting, the naive, or the handicapped is not emotional. It is just wrong. There is a theory floating through academia that all morals are basically emotional reactions. This is not true. There is no emotional reaction to cheating someone. It is just wrong, and it is singled out for particular ire when it is done knowingly with the goal of deceiving. God says here is a moral boundary line. Do not allow the corruption of business transactions to become the norm. It is destructive to society.
Many times you will have the chance to take advantage of a situation by enriching yourself at others’ expense. Don't. Deal fairly and honestly and you will be the better for it.
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