As the biblical authors address the ethics of political leaders and believers in general, they state that it is the treatment of the most disadvantaged members of society-the orphans-that is to distinguish them as God’s people. The Lord paved the way of this moral high road by identifying himself as the one who is the provider of food and clothing for the fatherless (Deut 10:18). He is the helper, defender, and father of the orphan (Psa 10:14, 18; 68:5; 146:9).

Furthermore, the Lord demanded that his public representatives sustain a similar demeanor and criticized them roundly when they failed (Psa 82:3; Isa 1:23; Jer 22:3; Ezek 22:7).

No one was to take advantage of the fatherless in any way (Exod 22:22-24; Deut 27:19; Prov 23:10) Job picked up this ethical thread and used it to defend his innocence before those who wished to prove his misfortunes in life were the product of his immoral lifestyle.

He separated himself from those who cast lots for orphans, drove their donkeys away, or snatched them from their mother’s breast as debt slaves (Job 6:27; 24:3,9). Instead Job asserted that he had rescued orphans, provided food for them, and defended their legal rights (Job 29:12, 31:17, 21). The prophets warned God’s people that this failure in their ethical behavior warranted divine judgment (Isa 1:17; 10:1-2; Jer 5:28; 7:6-7; Zech 7:10; Mal 3:5). And least Christians think that concern for those who are socially at risk is just an old-fashioned notion, James issued this challenge: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).

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