Proverbs 22:28

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
– Proverbs 22:28

The saying of this verse stands alone, giving the simple imperative, “Do not.” No reasons or consequences are given, though those can be found elsewhere in Scripture. The word for landmark literally means a twisted cord. The word is used by implication to refer to a border, edge, or boundary. The word appears over 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is most often translated border or coast. In a few places it is translated as landmark or bound. In the law, the word refers to the property boundaries given to the tribes by allotment from God. The inheritance was to remain in the families and the borders were important to be maintained. The law forbade falsifying property boundaries (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:27). This very act brought God’s judgment on the people (Hosea 5:10).

Wisdom reinforces the command of law. Moving a boundary marker was lying and stealing. The law did not provide a specific penalty inflicted by man, but did warn the sin would incur the curse of God (Deuteronomy 27:27). Proverbs echoes this warning by assuring Yahweh will “establish the border of the widow” (Proverbs 15:25) and will “plead their [the fatherless] cause” (Proverbs 23:10-11). This proverb is another stern warning against oppressing, extorting, and defrauding of the weak and vulnerable.

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