God’s Righteousness and Justice in the Old Testament

God’s Righteousness and Justice in the Old Testament


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A semantic study of God’s righteousness and justice in the Hebrew Bible that draws exegetical, theological, and philosophical conclusions about the character of God and God’s relationship with humanity. 

God’s work of creation and salvation for the good of Israel, humanity, and the world manifests the nature of God’s being. Thus, if we can understand God’s characteristics of righteousness and justice, we can better understand God. 

In the Hebrew Bible, these aspects of God are not expressed by abstract concepts but by semantic elements within literary structures. From this premise, Jože Krašovec undertakes the present study to put semantics into dialogue with exegesis and theology to illuminate exactly how God’s righteousness and justice in the Old Testament should be understood. 

In the first part of the book, Krašovec analyzes occurrences of the Hebrew root ṣdq (meaning righteous) and other synonyms, working systematically through the entire Old Testament canon. In the second part, he builds off this lexical study with a more broadly exegetical, theological, and philosophical exploration of guilt, punishment, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Krašovec concludes, among other things, that the biblical writers use “righteousness” as an expression of God’s affection for faithful people, especially those in distress because of persecution. God’s righteousness therefore exists in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the righteousness of human individuals and communities. Justice—whether in the form of forgiveness for the penitent or punishment for those who have hardened their hearts against God—is always carried out with the goal of building better community among God’s people.

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