Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
Unlike what we have today, people in Bible days didn’t have GPS systems to determine property lines. In ancient days about the only way to mark off one’s property was with stones. Sometimes, instead of just an engraved stone or two, stone pillars might be erected to designate the boundary to one’s property.
The problem with stone landmarks is that they can be moved. All one had to do in order to expand one’s territory would be to move his neighbor’s landmark, but that was a dangerous thing to do. A person could be put to death for moving stones.
When orphans and widows inherited property, especially if there were no other men in the family, it was common for neighbors to move the landmarks. Many times the only way to keep one’s property was to daily walk the borders, and for many widows, especially orphaned children, that was impossible.
Many people today treat the fatherless in the same way. Greedy crooks find ways to take advantage of the helpless in order to have access to their inheritances. Unless someone can come alongside to guide and protect, many orphans lose what is left to them. Fortunately, their is a legal system in place, but the fatherless still needs a good lawyer to plead their case.
The message of this proverb should be taken seriously. It is a warning to stay away from the boundaries of the fatherless; don’t even enter into their fields.
Many laugh at how easy it is to skirt the law. It is not uncommon, even, for lawmakers to change boundaries in order to get what they want. They claim “immanent domain” and take away widows’ and orphans’ homes and farms. They enter into the fields and remove the landmarks.
But God is not pleased. As a matter of fact, He is not only an attorney that has never lost a case, but He is the Judge who will decide the guilty’s fate. Those who take advantage of the helpless won’t laugh forever.
- Moving the Goalposts (proverbialthought.com)