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What is Biblical Justice? (Every Bible Verse)

Tim Arndt

I provide every Bible verse that uses the word “justice” below as well as links to the verses so you can do further contextual research on individual passages.


I was inspired to do this word study because of the current debates among Christians on how to understand social justice and Biblical justice.


While I do not comment on those debates in this article, my hope is for all to look to the Scriptures and come to a better understanding of justice.



It only makes sense.


If we want to understand what “Biblical justice” is, we should start by looking to the Bible.


The list below shows facts about justice based on observations in my word study, I also share some big-picture takeaways, and then you can see the entire list of Bible passages at the bottom of this article.



Biblical justice in the Bible, hebrew, greek, old testament, new testament, words for justice, chart (Image from Accordance Bible software)

Facts about Biblical justice

Note: While I usually give one reference, there are usually multiple references in support of the facts below. Also, every other fact is bolded not for emphasis but in order to help the reader not lose their place while reading.


  1. “Justice” is used 135 times in the Bible (Strong’s with ESV & NET).
  2. “Justice” is used far more in the Old Testament (124 occurrences) while it is only used 11 times in the New Testament.
  3. The most common word for “justice” is the Hebrew word מִשְׁפָּט mishpat, mish-pawt´ which is used 112 times (See the figure above).
  4. To “do justice” is to “keep the way of the Lord” (Genesis 18:19).
  5. God “executes justice” (Deuteronomy 10:18).
  6. “Justice” is something to be followed (Deuteronomy 16:19).
  7. “Justice” is something that must not be perverted (Exodus 23:2).
  8. Rulers “administer justice” (2 Samuel 8:15).
  9. God’s throne is established for justice (Psalms 9:7).
  10. God loves justice (Psalms 33:5).
  11. The righteous speak justice (Psalms 37:30).
  12. Justice is a good thing for a righteous person to receive (Psalms 94:15).
  13. God’s justice is something worth singing about (Psalms 101:1).
  14. God works justice for the oppressed (Psalms 103:6).
  15. Those who “observe justice” are blessed while those who pervert justice are cursed (Psalms 106:3, Deuteronomy 27:19, Proverbs 21:15).
  16. To “do justice” is more acceptable to God than sacrifice (Proverbs 21:3).
  17. “Righteousness” and “justice” are paired together very often in scripture (Proverbs 2:8).
  18. Only those who seek the Lord understand justice (Proverbs 28:5).
  19. While people seek for justice from rulers, they will ultimately receive it from God (Proverbs 29:26).
  20. God’s justice is a standard or measurement (Isaiah 28:17).
  21. God’s “servant”, who many would interpret to be Christ, would bring forth justice on the earth (Isaiah 42:1-3).
  22. “Truth” and “justice” are commonly paired together in scripture (Jeremiah 5:1).
  23. God will “feed” his people in justice (Ezekiel 34:16).
  24. God’s people will be “betrothed” to him in justice (Hosea 2:19).
  25. Jesus proclaims justice to the Gentiles (Matthew 12:18).
  26. Justice is one of the “weightier matters of the law” which the Pharisees neglected (Matthew 23:23).
  27. The saints of old enforced justice through faith (Hebrews 11:33).
  28. The Greek word for “Justice” δίκη dike, dee´-kay, which is used only once in Acts 28:4, is not a reference to the abstract idea of justice but is referencing the name of a Greek goddess of justice named “Dike”.

Big-picture takeaways

  1. Justice is good.
  2. God hates when justice is perverted.
  3. There is both “positive justice” and “negative justice” in the sense that it can have positive or negative consequences.
  4. There is no justice apart from righteousness.
  5. There is no justice apart from God.
  6. We cannot understand true justice apart from God.
  7. We cannot enforce justice without faith.




An Admonition

If you care about justice, you need to take God seriously.


You need to seek God and know God, otherwise, in your pursuit of justice you may end up perverting justice instead.


God can be known through his son Jesus Christ who took the curses we justly deserve and gives us the blessings he justly deserves.


He is calling you to come to him. Listen to his call and go:


“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” -Matthew 11:28-29



All The Bible Passages on Biblical Justice

Links

Verses

Gen. 18:19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”


Ex. 23:2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,


Ex. 23:6   “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit.


Deut. 10:18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.


Deut. 16:19 You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, hand you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.


Deut. 24:17   “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge,


Deut. 27:19   “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’


Deut. 32:4   “The Rock, his work is perfect,

for all his ways are justice.

A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,

just and upright is he.


Deut. 33:21 He chose the best of the land for himself,

for there a commander’s portion was reserved;

and he came with the heads of the people,

with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,

and his judgments for Israel.”


1Sam. 8:3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.


2Sam. 8:15   So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people.


2Sam. 15:4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.”


1Kings 3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that athe wisdom of God was in him to do justice.


1Kings 10:9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”


1Chr. 18:14   So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people.


2Chr. 9:8 Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you hand set you on his throne as king for the LORD your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”


Job 8:3 Does God pervert justice?

Or does the Almighty pervert the right?


Job 9:19 If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!

If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?


Job 19:7 Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;

I call for help, but there is no justice.


Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.


Job 34:12 Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,

and the Almighty will not pervert justice.


Job 34:17 Shall one who hates justice govern?

Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,


Job 36:17   “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;

judgment and justice seize you.


Job 37:23 The Almighty—we cannot find him;

he is great in power;

justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.


Psa. 9:7   But the LORD sits enthroned forever;

he has established his throne for justice,


Psa. 10:18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


Psa. 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.


Psa. 37:6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

and your justice as the noonday.


Psa. 37:28 For the LORD loves justice;

he will not forsake his saints.

They are preserved forever,

but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.


Psa. 37:30   The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,

and his tongue speaks justice.


Psa. 72:1   Give the king your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the royal son!

2 May he judge your people with righteousness,

and your poor with justice!


Psa. 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;

maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.


Psa. 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;

steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.


Psa. 94:15 for justice will return to the righteous,

and all the upright in heart will follow it.


Psa. 97:2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;

righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.


Psa. 99:4 The King in his might bloves justice.

You have established equity;

you have executed justice

and righteousness in Jacob.


Psa. 101:1   I will sing of steadfast love and justice;

to you, O LORD, I will make music.


Psa. 103:6   The LORD works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.


Psa. 106:3 Blessed are they who observe justice,

Who do righteousness at all times!


Psa. 112:5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;

who conducts his affairs with justice.


Psa. 119:149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;

O LORD, according to your justice give me life.


Psa. 140:12   I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,

and will execute justice for the needy.


Psa. 146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed,

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;


Prov. 1:3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,

in righteousness, justice, and equity;


Prov. 2:8 guarding the paths of justice

and watching over the way of his saints.

9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice

and equity, every good path;


Prov. 8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness,

in the paths of justice,


Prov. 17:23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret

to pervert the ways of justice.


Prov. 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked

or to deprive the righteous of justice.


Prov. 19:28 A worthless witness mocks at justice,

and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.


Prov. 21:3 To do righteousness and justice

is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.


Prov. 21:15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous

but terror to evildoers.


Prov. 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice,

but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.


Prov. 29:4 By justice a king builds up the land,

but he who exacts gifts tears it down.


Prov. 29:26 Many seek the face of a ruler,

but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.


Eccl. 3:16   Moreover, jI saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even kthere was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.


Eccl. 5:8   If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.


Is. 1:17 learn to do good;

seek justice,

correct oppression;

bring justice to the fatherless,

plead the widow’s cause.


Is. 1:21   How the faithful city

has become a whore,

she who was full of justice!

Righteousness lodged in her,

but now murderers.


Is. 1:23 Your princes are rebels

and companions of thieves.

Everyone loves a bribe

and runs after gifts.

They do not bring justice to the fatherless,

and the widow’s cause does not come to them.


Is. 1:27   Zion shall be redeemed by justice,

and those in her who repent, by righteousness.


Is. 5:7   For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts

is the house of Israel,

and the men of Judah

are his pleasant planting;

and he looked for justice,

but behold, bloodshed;

for righteousness,

but behold, an outcry!


Is. 5:16 But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice,

and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.


Is. 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.


Is. 10:2 to turn aside the needy from justice

and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be their spoil,

and that they may make the fatherless their prey!


Is. 16:3   “Give counsel;

grant justice;

make your shade like night

at the height of noon;

shelter the outcasts;

do not reveal the fugitive;


Is. 16:5 then a throne will be established in steadfast love,

and on it will sit in faithfulness

in the tent of David

one who judges and seeks justice

and is swift to do righteousness.”


Is. 28:6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,

and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.


Is. 28:17 And I will make justice the line,

and righteousness the plumb line;

and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,

and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”


Is. 30:18   Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,

and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

For the LORD is a God of justice;

blessed are all those who wait for him.


Is. 32:1   Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,

and princes will rule in justice.


Is. 32:16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,

and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.


Is. 33:5   The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;

he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,


Is. 40:14 Whom did he consult,

and who made him understand?

Who taught him the path of justice,

and taught him knowledge,

and showed him the way of understanding?


Is. 42:1   Behold fmy servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him;

he will bring forth justice to the nations.


Is. 42:3 a bruised reed he will not break,

and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.

4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged

till he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his law.


Is. 51:4   “Give attention to me, my people,

and give ear to me, my nation;

for a law will go out from me,

and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.


Is. 56:1   Thus says the LORD:

“Keep justice, and do righteousness,

for soon my salvation will come,

and my righteousness be revealed.


Is. 59:8 The way of peace they do not know,

and there is no justice in their paths;

they have made their roads crooked;

ino one who treads on them knows peace.


Is. 59:9   Therefore justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not overtake us;

we hope for light, and behold, darkness,

and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.


Is. 59:11 We all growl like bears;

we moan and moan like doves;

we hope for justice, but there is none;

for salvation, but it is far from us.


Is. 59:14 Justice is turned back,

and righteousness stands far away;

for truth has stumbled in the public squares,

and uprightness cannot enter.

15 Truth is lacking,

and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

The LORD saw it, and it displeased him

that there was no justice.


Is. 61:8   For I the LORD love justice;

I hate robbery and wrong;

I will faithfully give them their recompense,

and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.


Jer. 4:2 and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’

in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,

then nations shall bless themselves in him,

and in him shall they glory.”


Jer. 5:1   Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,

look and take note!

Search her squares to see

if you can find a man,

one who does justice

and seeks truth,

that I may pardon her.


Jer. 5:4   Then I said, “These are only the poor;

they have no sense;

for they do not know the way of the LORD,

the justice of their God.

5 I will go to the great

and will speak to them,

for they know the way of the LORD,

the justice of their God.”

But they all alike had broken the yoke;

they had burst the bonds.


Jer. 5:28 they have grown fat and sleek.

They know no bounds in deeds of evil;

they judge not with justice

the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,

and they do not defend the rights of the needy.


Jer. 7:5   “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another,


Jer. 9:24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”


Jer. 10:24 Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;

not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.


Jer. 17:11   Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,

so is he who gets riches but not by justice;

in the midst of his days they will leave him,

and at his end he will be a fool.


Jer. 21:12 O house of David! Thus says the LORD:

“ ‘Execute justice pin the morning,

and deliver from the hand of the oppressor

him who has been robbed,

lest my wrath go forth like fire,

and burn with none to quench it,

because of your evil deeds.’”


Jer. 22:3 Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor ashed innocent blood in this place.


Jer. 22:15 Do you think you are a king

because you compete in cedar?

Did not your father eat and drink

and do justice and righteousness?

Then it was well with him.


Jer. 23:5   “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.


Jer. 33:15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.


Lam. 3:35 to deny a man justice

in the presence of the Most High,


Ezek. 18:8 does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man,


Ezek. 22:29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice.


Ezek. 34:16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.


Ezek. 45:9   “Thus says the Lord GOD: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord GOD.


Dan. 3:2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.


Hos. 2:19 And I will betroth you to me mforever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.


Hos. 12:6 “So you, by the help of your God, return,

hold fast to love and justice,

and wait continually for your God.”


Amos 5:7 O you who turn justice to wormwood

and cast down righteousness to the earth!


Amos 5:15 Hate evil, and love good,

and establish justice in the gate;

it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,

will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.


Amos 5:24 But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


Amos 6:12 Do horses run on rocks?

Does one plow there with oxen?

But you have turned justice into poison

and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood—


Mic. 3:1   And I said:

Hear, you heads of Jacob

and rulers of the house of Israel!

Is it not for you to know justice?—


Mic. 3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power,

with the Spirit of the LORD,

and with justice and might,

to declare to Jacob ahis transgression

and to Israel his sin.


Mic. 3:9   Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob

and rulers of the house of Israel,

who detest justice

and make crooked all that is straight,


Mic. 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?


Hab. 1:4 So the law is paralyzed,

and justice never goes forth.

For the wicked surround the righteous;

so justice goes forth perverted.


Hab. 1:7 They are dreaded and fearsome;

their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.


Zeph. 3:5 The LORD within her is righteous;

he does no injustice;

every morning he shows forth his justice;

each dawn he does not fail;

but the unjust knows no shame.


Mal. 2:17   You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”


Matt. 12:18   “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.

I will put my Spirit upon him,

and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.


Matt. 12:20 a bruised reed he will not break,

and a smoldering wick he will not quench,

until he brings justice to victory;


Matt. 23:23   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.


Luke 11:42   o“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.


Luke 18:3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’


Luke 18:5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”


Luke 18:7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”


Acts 8:33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”


Acts 28:4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”


Heb. 11:33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,



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Tim is the senior editor for the ABC Voices blog. He is the director of the Michigan Apologetics Network and is the chapter director of Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry, at Grand Valley State University. Tim, his wife Alexandra, and children MaryKate, Oliver, and Sunny attend Allendale Baptist Church where Tim is also an Assistant Pastor. Anyone who meets Tim easily remembers him as the tallest Filipino they've ever met.