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David Bokovoy

Social Justice in the Bible

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David Bokovoy    394

One of the most important scholars of the book of Deuteronomy, Moshe Weinfeld, has an extremely important book entitled Social Justice in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1995). In his study, Weinfeld demonstrates that

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frankenstein    160

werent they also commanded to do certain things so that there were no poor among them?

not directly related to "social justice" but I find the command that they were to build a wall on their roof very instructive as to how they were to act toward their neighbor.

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USU78    2,881

Whom was Amos addressing?

Amos 5:21-27 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts.

Who is responsible for the public worship being corrupted? Who is responsible for the "backsliding?" Who is responsible for perversion of judgment and creeping unrighteousness?

As I understand it, Jeroboam's successors' kingly covenant is being here confirmed, and those successors excoriated for their lousy job shepherding a people that's supposed to be holy.

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David Bokovoy    394

Whom was Amos addressing?

Who is responsible for the public worship being corrupted? Who is responsible for the "backsliding?" Who is responsible for perversion of judgment and creeping unrighteousness?

As I understand it, Jeroboam's successors' kingly covenant is being here confirmed, and those successors excoriated for their lousy job shepherding a people that's supposed to be holy.

As is the case with many prophetic oracles, the original audience for Amos' criticisms is difficult to determine. What is clear, is the fact that Amos spoke against the leaders in Israel who were not living up to their responsibility to promote social justice and equity. Hence, Amos uses the "Day of the Lord" motif against these political/religious leaders, for though in many biblical texts, the Day of the Lord appears as a time of deliverance for Israel from her enemies, Amos' prophetic speech suggests that this would instead be a day in which Israel would be conquered and exiled for failing to promote justice and righteousness.

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MorningStar    2,662

What is your definition of "social justice and equity"?

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David Bokovoy    394

werent they also commanded to do certain things so that there were no poor among them?

Indeed, see Leviticus 25-26, i.e. the Year of Jubilee.

The Bible calls for a cyclical overhaul of the economy. In the year of Jubilee, there was a complete release of all debts, a Sabbath rest for land and people, and redistribution of lands lost by the poor due to debt. This system was designed to eradicate long term poverty and establish social justice.

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Vance    950

I don't think the "social justice" of the Bible is the same "social justice" preached by today's race hustlers and wanna be government do gooders.

I am just saying.

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David Bokovoy    394

What is your definition of "social justice and equity"?

My definition? I don't know that I have a definition. As a student of the Bible, I'm interested in the biblical definition of social justice and equality, and as a Latter-day Saint, I'm interested in the way modern revelation defines the concept. As illustrated in the opening post, the notion of social justice and equity from a biblical perspective appears directly linked with taking care of the poor and needy by forgiving their debts, and making sure that they had enough food, clothing, and shelter to live comfortably. This concept of social justice is the very focus of the kingdom of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

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MorningStar    2,662

I'm just curious how you interpret it. "Do justice" could be taken as "help the poor and needy" or "help the poor and needy who are willing to help themselves". I have met poor and needy people who struggle and do everything they can. I have met other poor and needy people who just want a hand out. My husband used to work for an organization that provided low cost repairs for those in poverty. He helped a lot of wonderful people who had worked hard and were now too elderly to do everything or afford to hire someone. But in some of the houses, there were able bodied teenagers and young adults doing nothing but watching Judge Judy all day and mooching off of their poor elderly grandmother. He actually had to install a lock on this poor woman's bedroom door because they kept stealing from her.

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Vance    950

I'm just curious how you interpret it. "Do justice" could be taken as "help the poor and needy" or "help the poor and needy who are willing to help themselves". I have met poor and needy people who struggle and do everything they can. I have met other poor and needy people who just want a hand out. My husband used to work for an organization that provided low cost repairs for those in poverty. He helped a lot of wonderful people who had worked hard and were now too elderly to do everything or afford to hire someone. But in some of the houses, there were able bodied teenagers and young adults doing nothing but watching Judge Judy all day and mooching off of their poor elderly grandmother. He actually had to install a lock on this poor woman's bedroom door because they kept stealing from her.

That was simply a case of "redistribution of wealth". :P

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Indeed, a careful reading of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) reveals that maintaining social justice and equality in society reflects a central, reoccurring biblical theme.
These notions should not prove surprising to Latter-day Saints, for as Amulek in the Book of Mormon declared, there exists a direct link between the Kingdom of God and social justice:
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BCSpace    957
I don't think the "social justice" of the Bible is the same "social justice" preached by today's race hustlers and wanna be government do gooders.

I am just saying.

True enough. Furthermore, Moshe Weinfeld is not the LDS Church whose doctrine on the subject is far more important than any private interpretation.

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The Nehor    13,548

The term "social justice," as commonly used in contemporary political, economic, and philosophical discourse is well understood to be simply a code term, or euphemistic expression designating "socialism." The term "social justice" has no doctrinal relation to any concepts or teachings within the restored gospel or within the teachings of the Lord's servants in our age, and can only be seen in the scriptures in the way Catholic theologians see the exegetical evidence confirming Mariological symbolism, or the way in which Protestants see salvation by grace alone in their chosen proof texts.

I think he was using the basic meaning of 'social justice' not any code term. It refers to a society that is just and David is trying to figure out what the Lord thinks is just.

"Social justice" bastardizes and corrupts the very concept of "justice" by making it inhere in collectives, not in individuals and their personal relation to others and to gospel standards regarding claims to justice based in moral law. "Justice," however, cannot inhere in groups any more than can righteousness or wickedness. There is no, and cannot be, if the idea of the plan of salvation and the doctrine of free agency are to be taken seriously, any such thing as group justice any more than there can there be group sanctification, or group faith, or group salvation, or group exaltation, or group damnation.

"I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other

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BCSpace    957
This sounds like a kind of group salvation. We need them and they need us.

The Lord groups people salvationally according to how much fruit they bear or in other words, how productive they. What's nice about this is that it appears to be relative; whether or not one takes advantage of all the opportunities of the Atonement within their abilities. But it certainly isn't similar to Marx's notions for example.

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The Nehor    13,548

The Lord groups people salvationally according to how much fruit they bear or in other words, how productive they.

I disagree here. The parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard seems to say otherwise.

But it certainly isn't similar to Marx's notions for example.

I don't think anyone here is arguing for some kind of communistic salvation in any sense Marx would recognize.

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I think he was using the basic meaning of 'social justice' not any code term. It refers to a society that is just and David is trying to figure out what the Lord thinks is just.

I'm not aware of any contemporary usage of the term not fundamentally carrying that connotation.

"I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other

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volgadon    4,511

One of the most important scholars of the book of Deuteronomy, Moshe Weinfeld, has an extremely important book entitled Social Justice in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1995). In his study, Weinfeld demonstrates that

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volgadon    4,511

My definition? I don't know that I have a definition. As a student of the Bible, I'm interested in the biblical definition of social justice and equality, and as a Latter-day Saint, I'm interested in the way modern revelation defines the concept. As illustrated in the opening post, the notion of social justice and equity from a biblical perspective appears directly linked with taking care of the poor and needy by forgiving their debts, and making sure that they had enough food, clothing, and shelter to live comfortably. This concept of social justice is the very focus of the kingdom of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Lord's prayer in the original would have brought out the theological implications of the bolded portion. Debts in Aramaic had the connotation of sin as well.

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Moshe Weinfeld was actually pretty important for me personally in my approach to the Bible. My parents had bought the excellent multi-volume Olam ha-Tanach commentary which he edited, so that was something I sort of grew up with. Seeing a post relating to him is great. I agree whole-heartedly with your thread. A simple perusal of the book of Psalms will reveal this overwhelming concern with social justice. Psalm 82 is a great example. If YHWH humiliates and banishes the gods for perverting social justice among the nations, then the earthly rulers in Israel have everything to fear if they do the same.

The underlying theology of this biblical insistence on social justice is the theology based on kinship traditions. God is the divine kinsman who insists on his kin caring for and protecting the other members of the kinship group. The BoM reflects a similar understanding.

1. Where does the term "social justice" appear in Psalm 82?

2. How are you defining the concept?

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I disagree here. The parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard seems to say otherwise.

I don't think anyone here is arguing for some kind of communistic salvation in any sense Marx would recognize.

The terms and concepts David (and a number of others) have used to argue his case here can, contrary to your assertion above, only be understood in terms derived from or similar to a Marxian/leftist template. They are not gospel concepts and do not originate in the Restoration.

I would go back and refer to the "United Firm" thread of some months ago to get a good grasp of where David is coming from. If anything, he's been pretty clear and concise in the ideas he's wanted to convey.

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The Nehor    13,548

I'm not aware of any contemporary usage of the term not fundamentally carrying that connotation.

I am. It simply means trying to create a society based on equality, usually involves a basic acceptance of human rights, and that recognizes basic human dignity. Nothing 'Marxist' or 'Socialist' about it.

Yes, but only those individuals who actually, as individuals, to their Temple work, and then accept it (or are worthy and capable of accepting it) in the Spirit world have any such actual need fulfilled. Groups as such are not saved, only individuals (who form the individuated members of groups) grounded in individual agency and the individual freedom to choose against a range of alternatives. There is no such gospel concept as group, or collective agency,or choice (nor is the concept even intelligible, except perhaps to a committed Marxist).

I would argue Zion is such a concept.

Come now Nehor. Nations can become "ripe" in iniquity, and then be judged as nations. Even in this case, however, gospel knowledge and rational thought beg us to accept that each member of such a "ripe" nation will be judged individually for his own sins, or contribution to the downfall of that society, not as a cog in a larger moral/spiritual pool of which he is only a moral constituent part partaking of a moral commons that seeps into him by some spiritual osmotic process of which he is only ambiguously accountable.

I agree with you in regards to answering for their own sins in the end but nevertheless God does often take vengeance on groups. Also, individual

I'm sorry, but the wedding of the idea of "social justice" to the Church of Jesus Christ would produce the same kinds of effects it has produced in the World. The result would be apostasy due to a kind of secular heresy very much paralleling the infusion of Hellenistic philosophy into the ancient church.

Only if you insist on giving it the connotations you added to the term. I am for social justice. I don't think I'm for what you mean by the term but I find your definition nebulous.

This argument has been burned at the stake and its ashes scattered far too many times to be rehabilitated for another go around. For some reason, which is quite beyond me, this idea will not die a natural death, and no matter how many scriptures, how many General Authority statements, and no matter how many official Church published sources are thrown at this shibboleth, it keeps coming back like Freddie Kruger.

I suspect your meaning for 'social justice' has been. Not mine.

?

I suspect that in heaven everyone rejoices at every success and triumph as if it were their own. Every enjoyment, every pleasure, every bit of happiness is shared. Yet we are gloriously individuals partaking in this great bounty together. A theory of mine based on what I've read and experienced.

Social justice is injustice! You're finally catching on Nehor! War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Socialism is serfdom. Equality is tyranny. Multiculturalism is intellectual national socialism. Affirmative action is compensatory racism. "Civil rights" is ethnic chauvinism. "Gay" marriage is the end of marriage. That's how the Left has always worked Nehor. Its all a house of distorted mirrors. Only in the end do you find out the truth.

I wasn't talking about the left. I doubt they'd accept your definition of 'social justice' either nor do I believe that they are all so blatantly dishonest and/or ignorant that they believe it to be so.

Well, thanks at least for being honest about the fact that you would happily preside over and accept the destruction of the economy and the return of living standards (with all this implies Nehor) to 19th century agrarian poverty or, if we were lucky, to early 20th century levels.

I would honestly prefer a more advanced standard of living then we have now and I don't believe living the gospel would lead to technological degradation. It might destroy the 'modern economy' as you understand it but I would consider Zion with its consecration infinitely preferable in any case. I suspect Zion would advance more quickly then we are now if it is to grow in beauty, knowledge, and all the rest as prophesied.

Still, I'd rather have the gospel then the modern economy. That I do admit.

Its interesting that only a dynamic, capitalistic economy capable of generating such levels of affluence, prosperity and opportunity as we enjoy could also create the kind of mindless idealism that gestates and matures among the ease, comfort and peace and plenty of such a society.

I don't accept your premises.

Environmentalism as we know it was engendered under exactly these same conditions.

I don't have a beef with all environmentalism (though some of their actions are too extreme for my taste or are so poorly orchestrated they seem calculated to fail). I am not happy at how much beauty I have seen destroyed in my lifetime to improve efficiency, extract resources, and produce goods and services.

Decadence is the term I'm looking for here.

And I don't agree that decadence is the source of everything opposed to 'dynamic capitalism'.

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The Nehor    13,548

The terms and concepts David has used to argue his case for much of the last year or so here can, contrary to your assertion above, only be understood in terms derived from or similar to a Marxian template. They are not gospel concepts and do not originate in the Restoration.

I disagree completely.

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TAO    577

Yes, social justice is in the Bible - there is even something saying 'don't oppress hirelings in their wages' or something of that sort. It's definitely there.

At the same time, it's not one sided - the Bible is also very supportive of the concept of working for what you earn, and that if you don't work, you won't earn.

Going back though, it also says that people may not always earn the same for doing the same though, as it is God's wisdom who needs what.

Kinda confusing, but also intriguing =).

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frankenstein    160

Precisely. From each according to...

Well, you know how it goes.

yes, the phrase fits quite nicely with the LoC/United Order.

Everyone contributes according to their abilities, and everyone receives according their righteous need; All work with the goal in mind that their be no poor among them.

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