Question:

In Proverbs 20:10 it reads, "Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord." This is also stated in verse 23 of the same chapter with a reference to Deuteronomy 25:13 which reads, "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small." I know that the divers means many or various, but what does these verses mean?


Answer:

Sometimes a way to figure out an odd sounding phrase is to check the same verse in a different translation.

"Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the LORD" (Proverbs 20:10 NKJV).

"Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to the LORD" (Proverbs 20:10 NASB).

And the other passage:

"You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 25:13-15 NKJV).

"You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. 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 25:13-15 NASB).

These laws deal with standards of weights and balances. We have departments in our governments devoted to these issues. When someone sells you a pound of flour, did they give you exactly a pound? Obviously there will be unethical business people out there who will try to shave a bit off the pound hoping no one notices and thereby increasing their profits.

God is telling the Israelites not to lie with their weights. They should use consistent weights. They should not have one set for buying and another set for selling, which though marked the same are actually of differing weights.