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  • Alan Salwei

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 - Detestable Weight Loss Plan

It's ok to shed a few pounds, but not in a way that dupes other people.

Read / Listen

Read Deuteronomy 25:13-16

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 110

Q. What does God forbid

in the eighth commandment?

A. He forbids not only outright

theft and robbery,

punishable by law.

But in God’s sight theft also includes

cheating and swindling our neighbor

by schemes made to appear legitimate,

such as:

inaccurate measurements of

weight, size, or volume;

fraudulent merchandising;

counterfeit money;

excessive interest;

or any other means forbidden by God.

In addition he forbids all greed

and pointless squandering of his gifts.



Swindlers, cheats, and con men are not a modern phenomenon. Using deceitful tactics to take advantage of others unfortunately has been a common practice all throughout history, enough so that it was addressed in the Law of Moses. Deuteronomy 25:13-16 speaks to a time before digital scales or prepackaged goods.

Many transactions during this period used weights and measures to determine the correct weight of a product, such as a certain amount of spice. This system worked well enough when merchants and traders were honest in their dealings, however this system was also ripe for exploitation.

When Moses speaks against carrying two kinds of weights, a large and a small, this is not a matter of size but of weight. Dishonest parties would take advantage of the system of weights and measures by having two different weights that look identical but one would be heavier than the other. The lighter weight would be used when selling to give less product than the transaction demanded. The same trick was also done in reverse when buying, the heavier weight would be used to dishonestly gain more product than was agreed upon. Though these tactics could create a financial benefit for those willing to sacrifice their morals, Moses warns that those who act in such a dishonest way are an abomination to God.

Dig Deeper

The type of deception that Moses warned against feels all too common still today. A glaring example of this is the New York City commercial real estate market. Despite being illegal, it has become common practice for real estate companies to intentionally list commercial real estate as being much larger in terms of square footage than what is true. Despite the outcry from business owners looking to lease storefronts at a fair price, the practice continues because the real estate companies charge by the square foot and by faking the numbers, they can demand higher rent. Much like the false weights of Moses’ day, this practice takes advantage of those who are unwilling or unable to verify the claims for themselves.

Moses speaks to more than just the misuse of measures for dishonest gain. In verse 16 he clarifies that not only is he speaking against those who use dishonest weights but all who act dishonestly. The weights are but an example of the multitude of ways that people will lie and cheat to get ahead.

As the Catechism reminds us, these kinds of manipulative practices are forbidden by God and are a violation of the 8th commandment. In using dishonest weights, merchants were stealing a little from their trade partners in every transaction. The same is true for the multitude of ways that people lie and cheat to get ahead today. Even if the theft is something small and no one around will notice, God does. Each business transaction, no matter if it is a multi-million-dollar real estate deal or something as small as a pack of gum, is an opportunity to remain faithful to God through a commitment to honest practices.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The LORD our God, who detests all dishonesty;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will resist the temptation to cut corners or take shortcuts at the expense of others;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - John 3


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