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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Justice as a topic in the Bible

How does the Bible use the word, justice? Below is the result of a search. I used the ESV for the search, but the scripture quotations below are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain. A search of the entire Bible returned 136 occurrences, with only a few in the New Testament. These are below:

Matthew 12:18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen;
my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased:
I will put my Spirit on him.
He will proclaim justice to the nations.

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. (Repeated in Luke 11:42.)

Luke 18:1 He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, 2 saying, “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God, and didn’t respect man. 3  A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ 4  He wouldn’t for a while, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, 5  yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’ ”
6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7  Won’t God avenge his chosen ones who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? [The ESV uses the word, justice, four times in this passage.]

Acts 8:33 In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away.
Who will declare His generation?
For his life is taken from the earth.” [The ESV uses
justice, rather thanjudgment. This is a quotation from Isaiah 53.]

Hebrews 11:33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, [The ESV uses enforced justice, rather than worked out righteousness.]

The Old Testament uses justice many times, mostly in warnings against the rich and powerful, for exploiting the poor and powerless.

In Amos: 5:11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor,
and take taxes from him of wheat:
You have built houses of cut stone,
but you will not dwell in them.
You have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many your offenses,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the just,
who take a bribe,
and who turn away the needy in the courts.

Amos 5:24 But let justice roll on like rivers,
and righteousness like a mighty stream. [This was quoted by Martin Luther King, jr., in his
I Have a Dream speech.]

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good.
What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly,
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Do Justice!

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