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The Supreme Judge Holds Court

Psalm 82:3 (ESV) … “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.”

The poor, of course, have never had a square deal—neither under capitalism, colonialism, nor communism. The rich get richer; the poor get poorer. In court, they cannot afford the best lawyers; their cases are assigned to court-appointed attorneys who usually see no prospect of wealth or honor in taking up their cases.

So the judge is to defend the poor and make sure they are dealt with fairly. The word for “poor” is the usual Old Testament word for the oppressed. Under a repressive regime, the plight of the downtrodden is even worse.

David, with all his faults, is one of the Bible’s great examples of a just judge. He had great compassion for the poor and the oppressed. Even in his sin, he retained a burning heart for those victimized by the wealthy. It came as much as anything from being so long oppressed himself. We remember what happened when Nathan the prophet came to him with his story of the rich man who had stolen the poor man’s solitary lamb. David’s wrath blazed out: “The man shall die; he shall repay fourfold; he is not fit to live!” David’s sense of justice was outraged. He always had a heart for the poor and oppressed, which is why, despite his own sin, he is called “a man after God’s own heart.” The supreme Judge tells judges that their job is to defend the poor.[1]

[1] Phillips, J. (2009). Exploring Psalms 1–88: An Expository Commentary (Vol. 1, Ps 82:3). Kregel Publications; WORDsearch Corp.

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