As Israel was being set up in the Promised Land, God gave the nation a stern warning against corruption and the need for honest weights and measures.
14 You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. 15 You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Deuteronomy 25:14-15 NASV)
Weights were used to measure goods being presented for taxes and temple sacrifices and as well in the trade of goods.
But notice how God warned about having two weights, a large and small weight. One of them was undoubtedly the correct weight and the second a slightly smaller false weight, as the verse calls for a full and just weight.
So, it would seem that a just weight was used for some people and an unjust weight for others.
Now the difference in these two weights would not be huge. It had to be small enough so people would not notice the discrepancy. Yet it was real and people were being treated differently.
Recently, archaeologists working for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) discovered an ancient weight in Jerusalem dated to the time of King Solomon’s temple. The recently discovered weight was the equivalent of two shekalim, and was found near the Western Wall.
The small round weight with a flat base was made of limestone and the archaeologists were shocked about by how accurate it was.
Speaking on behalf of IAA, Dr. Monnickendam-Givon said:
“According to previous finds, the known weight of a single shekel is 11.5 grams, thus a double shekel should weigh 23 grams – exactly as this weight does. The accuracy of the weight attests to advanced technological skills as well as to the weight given to precise trade and commerce in ancient Jerusalem. Coins were not yet in use during this period, therefore the accuracy of the weights played a significant role in business,”
Because God warned that false weights could lead to expulsion from the Promised Land, the Israelis took meticulous care in creating this two shekalim weight.
But I don’t think having two sets of weights applies to just the trade of goods, it can apply to many things in life that result in us treating people differently.
You should have only one weight in our house by which we measure all people. Favouring one person over another is comparable to using a false weight and a sin before God (James 2:8-9).
As Timothy was starting out as pastor in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul warned him about favouring people:
“I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favouritism.” (1 Timothy 5:21 ESV)
In Leviticus, God warned against treating the rich better than the poorer, and even the poorer better than the rich (Leviticus 19:15).
And it includes race, as the Apostle Peter acknowledged the problem when he brought the Gospel to the gentiles meeting in the home of Cornelius:
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34 ESV)