Justice has been a recurring theme that stands out to me as I read the Bible. This video from The Bible Project is really helpful to understand the biblical themes righteousness and justice.
Humans are set apart from all other creatures as the image of God… This identity is the bedrock of the Bible’s view of justice. All humans are equal before God and have the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, no matter who you are.
Doing righteousness… what comes to mind is, being a good person. But what does that even mean, “being good”?
The biblical hebrew word for righteousness is tsĕdaqah. It’s more specific. It’s an ethical standard that refers to right relationships between people. It’s about treating others as the image of God. With the God given dignity they deserve.
And this word justice, it’s the hebrew word mishpat. It can refer to retributive justice… yet most often in the Bible, mishpat refers to restorative justice. It means going a step further. Actually seeking out vulnerable people who are being taken advantage of and helping them out. …It means taking steps to advocate for the vulnerable, and changing social structures to prevent injustice.
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
– Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)
Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
– Jeremiah 22:3 (ESV)
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
– Psalm 146:7-9 (ESV)
The behind-the-scenes is pretty cool as well.
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the LORD.
– Jeremiah 22:15-16 (ESV)