Jeremiah and Justice

These passages speak for themselves. They have much to say to modern politics.

Jeremiah 22:13-14 Woe to him who builds his palace unfairly, its upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbor work for free and will not give him his wages; who says, ‘I will build me a spacious palace with airy upper rooms,’ then makes windows and cedar panels painted with vermilion!

Jeremiah 22:15-16 Your cedar may be excellent, but that doesn’t make you a better king. True, your father ate and drank, but he also did what was right and just, so things went well with him. He upheld the cause of the poor and the weak, so everything went well. Isn’t that what knowing me is all about?” says ADONAI.

Jeremiah 22:17 “In contrast, your eyes and heart are controlled entirely by your greed, your desire for shedding innocent blood, oppressing and extorting.”

Woe to the citizens who are ruled by those controlled by greed.


To be sure, "upholding the cause of the poor and weak" does not include "oppressing and extorting" the rich, nor "making him work for free" by taking his money on account of him having a lot.

Romans 13:9 For the commandments, “Don’t commit adultery,” “Don’t murder,” “Don’t steal,” “Don’t covet,” and any others are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He who wishes to "tax the rich for the benefit of the poor, thereby making them pair their fair share" should ask himself if he wants to be treated in the same way. In God's eyes, being poor does not lend him a license to break into the homes of the wealthy to take their goods. What if the poorer robbed the poor. Would the poor enjoy that? If the poor do not want to be robbed by the poorer, then they should treat the more wealthy in the same manner.

Romans 13 shows clearly what the task of government is.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are no terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you like to be unafraid of the person in authority? Then simply do what is good, and you will win his approval;

Romans 13:4 for he is God’s servant, there for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid! Because it is not for nothing that he holds the power of the sword; for he is God’s servant, there as an avenger to punish wrongdoers.

If government is punishing the wrong-doer, he is upholding justice. If government is punishing one who has done no wrong, then the government promotes injustice.

Author: Scott Wallace Brians
Date: March 2012
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Bible Text: Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern