XII. (70) The third commandment given to a judge is to investigate the transactions themselves, in preference to showing any regard to the parties to the suit; and to attempt, in every imaginable manner, to separate himself from all respect of persons; constraining himself to an ignorance and forgetfulness of all those things of which he has any knowledge or recollection; such as relations, friends, countrymen or foreigners, enemies or hereditary connections, so that neither affection nor hatred may overshadow his knowledge of justice; for he must stumble like a blind man, who is advancing without a staff, and who has no one to guide him in whom he can rely firmly. (71) For which reason it is fitting that a righteous judge should have it even concealed from him who the parties to the suit are, and that he should look at the undisguised, simple nature of the transactions themselves; so as not to be liable to judge in accordance with random opinion, but according to real truth, and to be guided by such an opinion as this, that judgment is of God; {12}{#de 1:17.} and that the judge is the minister and steward of his judgment; and a steward is not allowed to give away the things of his master, as he has received as a pledge the most excellent of all the things which exist in human life, from the most excellent of all beings.

XIII. (72) And in addition to what has already been said, there is another most admirable precept given which enjoins the judge “not to show pity upon the poor man in his Judgment.”{13}{#ex 23:3.} While in other precepts the lawgiver has filled nearly the whole of the law with precepts of mercy and humanity, and has uttered great threats against arrogant and insolent men, and has proposed great rewards for those who endeavour to make amends for the misfortunes of their neighbours, and who look upon their superfluities not as their own exclusive possessions, but as the common property of every one in want; (73) for it was a felicitous and true saying of one of the wise men of old, that men never act in a manner more resembling the gods than when they are bestowing benefits; and what can be a greater good than for mortal men to imitate the everlasting God? (74) Let not then the rich man collect in his house vast quantities of silver and gold, and store them up, but let him bring them forward freely in order by his cheerful bounty to soften the hard condition of the poor; nor let any man be puffed up with vain glory, and raise himself and boast himself in pride and arrogance, but let a man rather honour equality, and allow freedom of speech to those of low estate. And let the man who enjoys vigour of body be the prop of those who are weaker, and let him not like the men at the gymnastic contests strive by every means to overthrow those who are inferior in strength, but let him be willing and eager to assist with his own power those who, as far as they themselves are concerned, are ready to faint. (75) For all those who have drunk deep of the fountains of wisdom, having banished envy entirely out of their minds, are of their own accord, and without any prompting, ready to undertake the assistance of their neighbours, pouring the streams of their words into their souls through their ears, so as to impart to them a participation in similar knowledge with themselves. And when they see young men of good dispositions springing up like flourishing and vigorous shoots of a vine, they rejoice, thinking that they have found proper inheritors for this wealth of their souls, which is the only real riches, and having taken them they cultivate their souls with doctrines and good meditations, until they arrive at full strength and maturity, so as to bring forth the fruit of excellence. (76) Many such ornaments as these are woven into and inserted among the laws, in order to enrich the poor on whom it is always proper to have compassion except at the time of giving judgment, for compassion is due to misfortunes; but he who behaves wickedly with deliberate purpose is not unfortunate but unrighteous, (77) and punishment is due to the unrighteous just as honours should be confirmed to the just, so that no wicked man who is in difficulties, and who conceals the truth, ought to escape punishment through the pity excited by his poverty, since he has done what deserves not pity (how should it?) but great anger. And let the man who undertakes the duty of a judge, like a skilful money-changer, divide and distinguish between the natures of things, in order that confusion may not be caused by the mixing together of what is good with what is spurious. (78) And there are many other things which may be said with respect to false witnesses and judges; but for the sake of avoiding prolixity we must proceed now to the last of the ten commandments, which is delivered also in a concise and summary form as each of the others is: and this commandment is, “Thou shalt not covet.”