Mixed wine. Since the process of distillation had not yet been invented, the wine of ancient Palestine had a low alcoholic content. Sometimes, people added various herbs and spices to the wine to increase its potency. The drunkenness described in 23:29–35 could have been caused by drinking such “mixed wine” (v. 30).
Landmarks (22:28) were boundary stones placed on each corner of a person’s property to show where it began and ended.
The concept of weighing the heart (21:2) originated in Egypt. Egyptians believed that when a person died, the gods placed that person’s heart on a set of golden scales along with the Feather of Truth. If the heart weighed less than the feather, the person was admitted into the afterlife. It is possible that the Israelites brought this imagery with them when they left Egypt and replaced the Egyptian gods with Yahweh, who is the true judge of the heart.
A false witnesses is someone who testifies dishonestly against another person (19:5).
Casting lots. Though quarrels were often settled by a judge’s decision, sometimes there was not enough evidence to reach a verdict. In such cases, the parties involved might cast lots, trusting that the Lord himself would decide the result (18:18). Lots were like the dice used in various games today.
A bribe is anything that is given with the intent of persuading someone to act in a person’s favor. Bribes were forbidden in Ex. 23:8. The poor often lost their cases in court because they could not afford to bribe the judge (Prov. 17:23).
The fountains of ancient Israel (16:22) were not the decorative kind seen today. A fountain was a natural spring-fed pool and was considered a treasure in the arid climate. Cities were often built around such water sources.