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Judicial Committee

Insight on the Scriptures Volume 1 p.475 City

On entering the gates, one found himself in a large open place, the city's marketplace, the public square, where all kinds of selling and buying were carried on, and where contracts were made and sealed before witnesses. (Ge 23:10-18; 2Ki 7:1; Na 2:4) Here was the public forum where news was received and passed on (Ne 8:1, 3; Jer 17:19), where the elders held court (Ru 4:1-10), and where the traveler might spend the night if perchance private hospitality was not extended to him.

[Emphasis Added]

Insight on the Scriptures Volume 1 p.198 Assembly

At times, the people of Israel were represented in gatherings by "chieftains of the assembly" (Ex 16:22; Nu 4:34; 31:13; 32:2; Jos 9:15, 18; 22:30), or "older men." (Ex 12:21; 17:5; 24:1) When judicial matters required attention, a number of persons might assemble at the city gate. However, whether gathered there or elsewhere, they would not all vote on the case under consideration in a democratic fashion. Instead, theocratically, respected older men would weigh matters in the light of God's law and then announce their decision. (De 16:18; 17:8-13) Similarly, the early Christian congregation was represented in such matters by those placed in positions of responsibility by the holy spirit. (Ac 20:28) In Israel, if the wrongdoing required the death sentence, the whole assembly might execute it.óLe 24:14; Nu 15:32-36; De 21:18-21.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1976 December 1 p.732 Giving Reproof "Before All Onlookers"

The Bible regulations and accounts indicate that cases of wrongdoing came before the city elders at the gates primarily when controversies were involved, as in cases where an offender would not acknowledge having wronged another, and also when the community as a whole was seriously affected or endangered by the wrongdoing.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1995 November 15 p.13 Cities of Refuge-God's Merciful Provision

Though you were received hospitably, you would have to state your case to the elders at the gate of the refuge city. After entering the city, you would be sent back to stand trial before the elders representing the congregation of Israel at the gates of the city having jurisdiction over the area where the killing occurred. There you would have an opportunity to prove your innocence.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1980 March 15 p.30 Why Look to Jehovah in All You Undertake?

Since the city elders judged in the open area near the gates, it would be there that the sons would speak with opponents in a legal case, successfully putting to silence baseless accusations and false testimony.

[Emphasis Added]

Reference Bible John 3:19-21

Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. 20 For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved. 21 But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.

[Emphasis Added]

Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock (book) Unit 5(b) p.110

[This book is available only to active elders]

If the accused wishes to bring witnesses who can speak in his defense regarding the matter, he may do so.

However, observers are not permitted.

No tape-recording devices are allowed.

[Emphasis Added]

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