8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. ~ Proverbs 31:8-9
I have spent 31 days going through the Proverbs and to me this is a perfect way to close it out. Speak up — Ensure Justice for those being crushed…. see that they get justice!! All of the Proverbs are about wisdom, knowledge, how to live life, treat family and friends and here he ends it to stretch out to ALL of the world.
What does justice mean? (taken from the Bible Encyclopedia)
jus’-tis (tsedhaqah; tsedheq; dikaiosune): The original Hebrew and Greek words are the same as those rendered “righteousness.” 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.” It must be constantly borne in mind that the two ideas are essentially the same.
1. Human Justice:
Justice had primarily to do with conduct in relation to others, especially with regard to the rights of others. It is applied to business, where just weights and measures are demanded (Lev 19:35,36; Dt 25:13-16; Am 8:5; Prov 11:1; 16:11; Ezek 45:9,10). It is demanded in courts, where the rights of rich and poor, Israelite and sojourner, are equally to be regarded. Neither station nor bribe nor popular clamor shall influence judge or witness. “Justice, justice shalt thou follow” (Dt 16:20 m; compare 16:18-20; Ex 23:1-3,6-9). In general this justice is contrasted with that wickedness which “feared not God, and regarded not man” (Lk 18:2).
In a larger sense justice is not only giving to others their rights, but involves the active duty of establishing their rights. So Israel waits upon God’s justice or cries out: “The justice due to me (literally, “my justice”) is passed away from my God” (Isa 40:27). Yahweh is to show her to be in the right as over against the nations. Justice here becomes mercy. To “seek justice” means to “relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isa 1:17; compare 11:4; Jer 22:15,16; Ps 82:2-4). The same idea appears in Dt 24:12,13; Ps 37:21,26; 112:4-6, where the translation is “righteous” instead of “just.”
In this conception of justice the full meaning of the New Testament is not yet reached. It does not mean sinlessness or moral perfection. 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). The Psalmist confidently depends upon the righteousness of God though he knows that no man is righteous in God’s sight (Ps 143:1,2; compare 7:8; 18:20-24). It is not a lack of humility or dependence upon God when the Psalmist asks to be judged according to his righteousness. In relation to God, the just, or righteous, man is the one who holds to God and trusts in Him (Ps 33:18-22). 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.
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. The idea of justice or righteousness (remembering that these are essentially the same) becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament. It is a matter of character, and God’s own spirit is the standard (1 Jn 3:7; Mt 5:48). The mere give-and-take justice is not enough. We are to be merciful, and that to all. The ideal is righteousness, not rights. As Holtzmann says, “The keynote of the Sermon on the Mount is justitia and not jus.”
This says it all — help those who are being oppressed, hurt, not able to speak. The list is endless in this world.
Now go out and have an EPIC day today!!!