Social Justice Project #8

What does the Bible say about justice?

Part 5: The Prophets: Ezekiel

In the Hebrew Scriptures, prophets spoke for God, delivering His message to the two nations of Judah and Israel. They called the people to return to God and described the future penalty for failure to do so.

Sixty-two times in the seventeen prophetic books justice is mentioned. Let us briefly survey the prophet Ezekiel. He preached for about twenty-two years, beginning around 593 BC. He was a part of the group of exiles to Babylon. After the fall of Jerusalem, he preached hope to his fellow Israelites. Twice in his prophecies, he uses the word “justice.”

In Ezekiel 18:8, God gives the prophet a word in which He describes a righteous man. Such a man “carries out true justice between men.” The righteous man maintains right dealings and judgements between people.

In a later prophecy, Ezekiel hears from God that He despises the false shepherds who have led His people astray. As a result, the people are scattered. However, God will take His flock back from them and shepherd His people with justice (Ez. 34:16). He will destroy those who have abused the sheep and bring back the lost, and care for the injured and weak. Such justice will repair the wrongs done to God’s people. This will be ultimately be fulfilled in the Messiah.

Each of these usages is consistent with our definition of justice.

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