Bibliography. It is striking to see how often God is introduced as the defender of these vulnerable groups. It's derived from צדק / tsedek, the word used for "justice" in both Modern and Biblical Hebrew. It does not mean sinlessness or moral perfection. Our God is a God of justice and He cares deeply about those who are vulnerable. Tzedakah [ts(e)daˈka] (Hebrew: צדקה ‎) is a Hebrew word meaning "righteousness", but commonly used to signify charity. This is one of the main things He does in the world. In general this justice is contrasted with that wickedness which "feared not God, and regarded not man" (Luke 18:2). In English, however, the word “charity” conveys a good but optional activity. God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. Justice here becomes mercy. But this view does not fit in with the strength or balance of the biblical teaching. This is the common rendering, and in about half the cases where we have "just" and "justice" in the King James Version, the American Standard Revised Version has changed to "righteous" and "righteousness." Thus God remains a righteous judge even as he justifies those sinners who believe in Christ ( Luke 18:14 ; Gal 3:11-13 ). One day we were standing at the copier and he told me that he was about to move into Sandtown, one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Baltimore. How Should You Spend Money During the Holidays? He is "a just God and a Saviour" (Isaiah 45:21). When I asked him why, he said simply, “To do justice.”. Thus it is that God is at the same time "just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). He is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Reason for God, and most recently, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering. However, it is close in meaning to צודק / tsodek, which more accurately means "just". The Hebrew word for justice in Scripture refers to equitable treatment in which of the following categories? The justice of God is reaffirmed in the New Testament ( Rom 3:5-6 ; 9:14 ; 1 John 1:9 ; Rev 16:5-7 ; 19:11 ). Matt 23:23 ).Justice must lead to honesty, even in mundane business transactions ( Lev 19:35-36 ; Hosea 12:7 ). Charity cannot be a requirement, for then it would not be charity. A breach of justice consists of a verdict that runs contrary to the law or that does not accord with the known facts ( Exod 23:1-9 ; Deut 25:1-3 ). In a larger sense justice is not only giving to others their rights, but involves the active duty of establishing their rights. Every weekday, get our new Deeper Walk devotional delivered to your inbox! To not “share his bread” and his assets with the poor would be unrighteous, a sin against God, and therefore by definition a violation of God’s justice. God does not take bribes ( Deut 10:17 ) or pervert justice in any way ( Gen 18:25 ; 2 Chron 19:7 ). Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel by E. Calvin Beisner examines the modern concept of social justice and contrasts it to the biblical ideal.While Beisner offers many more insights than I can summarize here, his discussion of Hebrew and Greek words appearing in the Bible that relate to the idea of justice is vital. Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”. The Hebrew word “tirdof” literally means to chase or run after. It is not a lack of humility or dependence upon God when the Psalmist asks to be judged according to his righteousness. This support is described as “the priests’ mishpat,” which means their due or their right. The word mishpat (משפט) is the Hebrew word that is used throughout the Bible to mean “judgment” and “justice.” I’ve recently learned about this word from my favorite guys at the BibleProject. In a culture where judges, not juries, render a verdict, false accusations, bribery, and influence peddling are the favored devices of injustice ( Deut 16:18-20 ; 1 Sam 8:3 ; Prov 17:23 ; 19:28 ; Isa 5:23 ; Jer 5:28 ; Ezek 22:29 ; Amos 2:6-7 ; Zech 7:9-10 ). "I bring near my righteousness (or "justice") .... and my salvation shall not tarry" (Isaiah 46:13; compare Psalms 51:14; 103:17; 71:15; 116:5; Isaiah 51:5,6). It could also mean a group of families from the more prosperous side of town adopting the public school in a poor community and making generous donations of money and pro bono work in order to improve the quality of education there. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures most often conceive God's justice, or righteousness, as the action of His mercy. (The word does not appear in the New Testament in the KJV.) At the same time, justice is not a virtue for judges and kings alone; all Israel is to follow in the "paths of justice" ( Gen 18:19 ; Psalm 106:3 ; Prov 21:15 ; Isaiah 1:17 Isaiah 1:59 ).Pursuing justice in life is of greater worth than religious ritual ( Prov 21:3 ; Micah 6:8 ; cf. The gospel promises escape from God's just wrath against sin ( Rom 1:32 ). When most modern people see the word “righteousness” in the Bible, they tend to think of it in terms of private morality, such as sexual chastity or diligence in prayer and Bible study. Realize, then, how significant it is that the biblical writers introduce God as “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:4-5). 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Deuteronomy 18 directs that the priests of the tabernacle should be supported by a certain percentage of the people’s income. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Va. Bible Dictionaries - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Justice, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Bible Dictionaries - Easton's Bible Dictionary - Justice, Encyclopedias - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Justice, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Looked under the main words 'justice', 'righteousness' and counted the number of verses translated from each Hebrew and Greek word into these words. When people ask me, “How do you want to be introduced?” I usually propose they say, “This is Tim Keller, minister at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.” Of course, I am many other things, but that is the main thing I spend my time doing in public life. We are to be merciful, and that to all. … At times it is better to suffer injustice than to bring the gospel into disrepute by taking a brother to court ( 1Cor 6:7-8 ). The Hebrew word for justice appears over 200 times in the Old Testament. He takes up their cause. This is a supporting page for the Character of God and the Gospel Glossary entry for justice. All rights reserved. The biblical Hebrew word for “Righteousness,” is tsedeqah, and 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. The Son of Man "shall render unto every man according to his deeds" (Matthew 16:27; compare Matthew 25:14-46; Luke 12:45-48; Romans 2:2-16; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:24,25; 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Hebrews 2:2,3; 10:26-31). ... justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man) ordinance ; decision (in law) right, privilege, due (legal) proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan . "He is faithful and righteous (or "just"; see the King James Version) to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). Yahweh is to show her to be in the right as over against the nations. In the New Testament, the love of justice is a virtue ( 2 Col 7:11 ; Php 4:8 ), yet Christians may not take justice into their own hands ( 1 Thess 4:6 ). The great prophets, Isaiah, Micah, Amos, Hosea, all insist upon Yahweh's demand for righteousness. If you are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable. Bibliography Information We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Their prayers may even take the form of a complaint ( Hab 1:2-4 ),although people must not challenge God's essential justice ( Job 40:8 ; Mal 2:17 ). Definition and meaning:JUSTICE jus'-tis (tsedhaqah; tsedheq; dikaiosune): The original Hebrew and Greek words are the same as those rendered 'righteousness. Don’t miss the significance of this. This does not mean they think believers should be indifferent to the plight of the poor, but they would insist that helping the needy through generous giving should be called mercy, compassion or charity—not justice. 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Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep … Isaiah 1:16-19 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before … Before human judges the Savior was unjustly tried and executed ( Isa 53:8 ; John 7:24 ; Acts 3:14 ). Extending protection ... On Biblical Justice Question Title * 1. When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is “social justice.”. Under the monarchy, the king is the final arbiter of justice ( 2 Sam 8:15 ; 15:3-4 ; 1 Kings 10:9 ; Prov 20:8 ). Copyright © 2020, Bible Study Tools. Justice had primarily to do with conduct in relation to others, especially with regard to the rights of others. We get more insight when we consider a second Hebrew word that can be translated as “being just,” though it usually translated as “being righteous.” The word is tzadeqah, and it refers to a life of right relationships. The idea of justice or righteousness (remembering that these are essentially the same) becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament. Justice in the New Testament. But this is not the main aspect of God's justice. Hebrew Word for “Justice,” mishpat. The New Testament, too, does not lack the idea of retributive justice. The just person lives a life of honesty, equity and generosity in every aspect of his or her life. Shown below are (1) results from various Hebrew dictionaries (taken from Logos), and (2) all such occurrences in the Old Testament, taken from Justice is rooted in the very nature of God ( Isa 40:14 ). 1:9; Jude 1:7) as “punishment meted out as legal penalty.” Psalm 72 is a prayer for a king who would protect the poor, a psalm that looks beyond Solomon to an ideal just king. Or it could mean the establishment of new nonprofits to serve the interests of these classes of persons. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. "Justice, justice shalt thou follow" (Deuteronomy 16:20; compare Deuteronomy 16:18-20; Exodus 23:1-3,6-9). The Hebrew word for “justice,” mishpat, occurs in its various forms more than 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. A third facet of biblical justice is significant, life-changing advocacy for the poor. In 1989, he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Unfortunately, in many translations the word dikaios is translated as righteousness and not justice. Not giving generously, then, is not stinginess but unrighteousness, a violation of God’s law. In this conception of justice the full meaning of the New Testament is not yet reached. Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care. Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. And so Israel sings of the justice, or judgments, or righteousness of Yahweh (they are the same), and proclaims her trust in these (Psalms 7:17; 35:23,24,28; 36:6; 140:12,13; 50:5,6; 94:14,15; 103:6; 143:1). Torah Misinai (TOH-rah mee-see-NAI) "Torah from Mount Sinai." Human judges do well to remember God in their courts. Its most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. For 'justice' found 'tsedeq', 'tsaddiq', 'tsadaq', 'tsedeqa', etc. Primary justice, or tzadeqah, may mean taking the time personally to meet the needs of the handicapped, the elderly or the hungry in our neighborhoods. Tim: Yeah, courtrooms … of New Testament Greek. jus'-tis (tsedhaqah; tsedheq; dikaiosune): The original Hebrew and Greek words are the same as those rendered "righteousness." As Holtzmann says, "The keynote of the Sermon on the Mount is justitia and not jus.". Just law is law that reflects God's standards( Gen 9:5-6 ; Deut 1:17 ), and not mere human reasoning ( Hab1:7 ). 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The Hebrew word "tirdof" literally means to chase or run after. When I was professor at a theological seminary in the mid-eighties, one of my students was a young man named Mark Gornik. Shoplifting Food and Hygiene Products Is on the Rise in the U.S. as Financial Aid Runs Out, Some Giving Tuesday Organizations That Could Use Your Donations, Trump Has Stripped Protections From America’s Gray Wolves, How to Avoid Apathy in a World Overrun by Causes, Here Are the Current Events America Searched the Bible For in 2020, All Six Southern Baptist Seminary Presidents Have Released a Joint Statement Condemning Critical Race Theory, Woman’s Attempt to Restore Valuable Painting Is Mostly Perfect, Rick Warren Cancels “Presidential Forum” at Saddleback. It is because God is concerned about them. Rectifying justice, or mishpat, in our world could mean prosecuting the men who batter, exploit and rob poor women. It is a matter of character, and God's own spirit is the standard (1John 3:7; Matthew 5:48). To "seek justice" means to "relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17; compare Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 22:15,16; Psalms 82:2-4). In the book of Job, we see Job call every failure to help the poor a sin, offensive to God’s splendor (Job 31:23) and deserving of judgment and punishment (v. 28). From the divine perspective, however, Jesus' death satisfied God's justice ( Rom 3:26 ). But mishpat means more than just the punishment of wrongdoing. Any neglect shown to the needs of the members of this quartet is not called merely a lack of mercy or charity but a violation of justice, of mishpat. Its most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. Neither station nor bribe nor popular clamor shall influence judge or witness. And the parable of Matthew 20:1-15 gives at length the deathblow to the whole Judaistic scheme of merit and reward. "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". Biblical justice involves making individuals, communities, and the cosmos whole, by upholding both goodness and impartiality.It stands at the center of … It must be constantly borne in mind that the two ideas are essentially the same. hebrew word study – re-establish justice – nakam נקם nun qop mem Jeremiah 11:20: “O Lord of Host, That judges righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them for unto thee have I revealed my cause.” The Hebrew word for “justice,” mishpat, occurs in its various forms more than 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The "righteous acts of Yahweh" mean His deeds of deliverance (Judges 5:11). There are no verses using the word “justice” (KJV) which support that justice means to punish sin. sedeq [q,d,x],mispat [f'P.vim];Gk. It must always be actively pursued. The righteous judge must never show partiality to the rich ( Deu 24:17 ), nor for that matter to the poor ( Lev 19:15 ); he must render true judgment at all times. It is connected to the concept of righteousness, just like the Hebrew words for justice. Salem Media Group. In the Scripture, gifts to the poor are called “acts of righteousness,” as in Matthew 6:1-2. Although Mark was living a comfortable, safe lives, he became concerned about the most vulnerable, poor and marginalized members of our society, and made long-term personal sacrifices in order to serve their interests, needs and cause. In relation to God, the just, or righteous, man is the one who holds to God and trusts in Him (Psalms 33:18-22). It has been distinguished from equity in this respect, that while justice means merely the doing what positive law demands, equity means the doing of what is fair and right in every separate case. (Heb. Once (Acts 28:4) it refers to Justice “personified as a deity” [16] and three times (Acts 25:15; 2 Thess. In the same way, Biblical Hebrew words have so much meaning, it can change your mindset about the Bible and its relevance to the 21st century. justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man) ordinance decision (in law) right, privilege, due (legal) proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement. Is It Possible to Care About Every Issue? According to the Sinai covenant, judges are to uphold the Mosaic law by acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty. Which of the following attributes does the Bible say make up the foundation of God’s throne? In the New Testament, Jesus already begins to carry out the Father's justice while on earth ( Matt 12:18-21 ; John 5:28-30 ),but it is in the future that he will execute God's will over all ( Acts 17:31 ; Rev 19:11 ). Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty. Just like every Biblical Hebrew word has a hi-story. Why Do We Get So Many Christmas Story Details Wrong. But what is justice, exactly, and who gets to define it? But in the Bible, tzadeqah refers to day-to-day living in which a person conducts all relationships in family and society with fairness, generosity and equity. Justice and the Kingdom of God. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. So, for a while there, I didn’t know who was going to shoot me first.” Yet over the years Mark, along with leaders in the community, established a church and a comprehensive set of ministries that have slowly transformed the neighborhood. The Old Testament looks forward to the time when God will exercise absolute justice over all creation ( Psalm 98:9 ; Eccl 3:16 ; Isa 28:5-6 ; 29:19-21 ). is rendering to every one that which is his due. And this word “justice” it’s the Hebrew word mishpat. I remember being quite surprised. It is applied to business, where just weights and measures are demanded (Leviticus 19:35,36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Amos 8:5; Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; Ezekiel 45:9,10). This concept of "charity" differs from the modern Western understanding of "charity." He identifies with the powerless. In Micah 6:8 the Hebrew word for just is mishpat. The Hebrew for “to act justly” is “to do mishpat (“justice”).” But, as we noted a few weeks ago, mishpat here is not a cold, legal word. Rather, it is used in parallel with hesed, “mercy.” This is arguably a word that also reflects God’s abundant covenant care and abiding faithfulness for his people. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. dike appears briefly in the New Testament. The word used to describe the first five books of the Bible. These two words roughly correspond to what some have called “primary” and “rectifying justice.” Rectifying justice is mishpat. Many readers may be asking at this point why we are calling private giving to the poor “justice.” Some Christians believe that justice is strictly mishpat—the punishment of wrongdoing, period. As … He speaks, indeed, of recompense, but it is the Father and not the judge that gives this (Matthew 6:1,4,6,18). But God's justice is far more than this. Job knows the sin in his heart (Job 13:23,26; 7:21), and yet speaks of himself as a just or righteous man (12:4; 13:18). Remarkably, Job is asserting that it would be a sin against God to think of his goods as belonging to himself alone. For the first couple of years there, it was touch and go. It is as if God was telling his people that the quest for justice never stays won. God's justice, or righteousness, is founded in His essential nature. The same idea appears in Deuteronomy 24:12,13; Psalms 37:21,26; 112:4-6, where the translation is "righteous" instead of "just.". Despite the effort to draw a line between “justice” as legal fairness and sharing as “charity,” numerous Scripture passages make radical generosity one of the marks of living justly. Thus, just as in the Old Testament, the judge is the Saviour. Kings are warned about injustice ( Prov 16:10 ; Jer 21:12 ; 22:2-3 ; Micah 3:1-3 Micah 3:9-11 ).Solomon's wisdom makes him a just king ( 1 Kings 3:11-12 1 Kings 3:28 ; 2 Chron 9:8 ). And it is no mere justice of earth, because the reward transcends all merit (Matthew 24:46,47; Mark 10:30; Luke 12:37). The Old Testament goes on to predict that the Messiah will execute justice on God's behalf ( Isa 9:7 ; 11:3-4 ; 16:4b-5 ; 28:17 ). Today, this quartet would be expanded to include the refugee, the migrant worker, the homeless and many single parents and elderly people. It had been decades since any white people had moved into Sandtown. Justice could be executing justice upon someone for something that they did, but it can also refer to restorative justice, or doing the work of making sure that all humans are treated like God’s image-bearers. The Greek word for justice used in the New Testament is dikaios, which appears over two hundred times. The idea of merit and reward is really superseded by a higher viewpoint in the teaching of Jesus. Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Clients who went into the store to buy a gun came out with a mindset change because the story of each gun had so much meaning. Psalm 41:1 says, “Blessed is the one who gives active consideration to the weak and the poor.” [27] This translation and comment is based on Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50: Word Biblical Commentary, Thomas Nelson, 2004, … That God will decisively intervene in the future is the biblical hope. word "mishpat." Is Too Much Expertise Bad For Leadership? It is His kingship establishing and maintaining the right. On the one hand is his friends' false assumption that Job's trouble must fit his crimes ( 8:3-7 ), whereas on his part, Job claims to be the victim of an injustice, and demands that God remedy the situation ( 19:7 ; 27:2 ; 29:14 ; 34:5-6 ). Jon: But while 9 out of 10 times in Hebrew it's referring to restorative justice, I. think it's way more waited for us to talk about retributive justice. Tim: Yeah. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty. The most accurate translation for "fair" is הוגן / hogen, which is indeed not Biblical. Our English word "justice" can cover both of those just like the Hebrew. Mark told a reporter, “The police thought I was a drug dealer, and the drug dealers thought I was a police officer. It is demanded in courts, where the rights of rich and poor, Israelite and sojourner, are equally to be regarded. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. The latter is typically understood as a spontaneous act of goodwill and a marker of generosity; tzedakah is an ethical obligation. This biblical justice—mishpat—is to take care of the poor and marginalized peoples around you. The ideal is righteousness, not rights. It could also mean respectfully putting pressure on a local police department until they respond to calls and crimes as quickly in the poor part of town as in the prosperous part. General Editor. Mishpat = Justice = Equality Tim Keller says “mishpat’s most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. That is, according to the Bible, what it means to “do justice.”. Because he is just, God never shows partiality or favoritism ( Matt 5:45 ; Acts 10:34-35 ; Romans 2:6 Romans 2:11 ; Eph 6:9 ; 1 Peter 1:17 ). Lex. In premodern, agrarian societies, these four groups had no social power. But, just as with man, it is not something abstract, but is seen in His relation to the world. They lived at subsistence level and were only days from starvation if there was any famine, invasion or even minor social unrest. We must have a strong concern for the poor, but there is more to the biblical idea of justice than that. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable. The word "justice" does not occur in the New Testament, and in most cases where we find "just" in the King James Version it is changed to "righteous" in the American Standard Revised Version. Divine Justice and the Justification of the Wicked. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty. The victims are disproportionately from the poor, among whom are the fatherless, the widow, and the resident alien ( Deut 27:19 ; Psalm 82 ). Learn about Mishpat original meaning in the Bible using the Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon - New American Standard. In his chapter on “ Covenant Justice: A Biblical Alternative,” (Changing Lenses, 1990), Howard Zehr explains how the core Hebrew concepts of shalom (peace) and covenant are “transforming forces” in the way that law and justice developed over time in biblical society (135). Proud member The mishpat, or justness, of a society, according to the Bible, is evaluated by how it treats these groups. This is not the later Judaistic legalism with its merit and reward, where God's justice is simply a matter of giving each man what he has earned. Why should we be concerned about the vulnerable ones? The world does not seem fair while evil still abounds, and so the oppressed petition God to intervene on their behalf ( Psalm 7:9 ; Prov 29:26 ). But mercy is opposed to justice no more here than in the Old Testament. "Justice" is a felt need in our world today, and a controversial topic. It is by the forgiveness of sins that God establishes righteousness, and this is the supreme task of justice. The Hebrew word for “Justice”– mishpat— is an important Old Testament word, occurring 421 times. So Israel waits upon God's justice or cries out: "The justice due to me (literally, "my justice") is passed away from my God" (Isaiah 40:27). There are 28 verses in the Old Testament (KJV) that use the word “justice. So, Were Mary and Joseph Actually Refugees? The Psalmist confidently depends upon the righteousness of God though he knows that no man is righteous in God's sight (Psalms 143:1,2; compare Psalms 7:8; 18:20-24). "Entry for 'JUSTICE'". Just as with man justice means the relief of the oppressed and needy, so God's justice is His kingly power engaged on behalf of men, and justice and mercy are constantly joined together. dikaiosyne [dikaiosuvnh]).God, the Righteous Judge. It is as if God was telling his people that the quest for justice never stays won. Every weekday, get RELEVANT's top five articles delivered to your inbox! Translations the word “justice” ( KJV ) that use the word used for `` ''! There are no verses using the word does not take bribes ( 10:17. Premodern, agrarian societies, these four groups had no social power, and Hebrew! €œMishpat’S most basic meaning is to treat people equitably divine perspective, however the... Himself alone of Matthew 20:1-15 gives at length the deathblow to the whole Judaistic scheme merit... His due equally to be in the Old Testament the salvation was more national and temporal, here it the... Old Testament, the concept of `` charity '' differs from the modern Western of... With steps on how to reset your password, justice shalt thou follow (. Regardless of race or social status acquitting the innocent and condemning the.. New Testament, too, does not lack the idea of justice and cares. 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Their right good and evil ( Habakkuk 1:13 ) where the rights of others Tim: Yeah, …. Bibliography information Orr, James, M.A., D.D days from starvation if was... The LORD than sacrifice the Psalmist asks to be merciful, and their three sons justice. ” and Gospel! There is more to the poor, but there is more to the LORD than sacrifice generosity in aspect! Your password remains a righteous judge even as he justifies those sinners who believe in (.