“MAN has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Those words, recorded some 3,000 years ago, accurately describe the world in which we live. Humans tend to abuse power, no matter who they are or where they live. All too often they victimize the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. How does Jehovah feel about such injustices? We find the answer at Ezekiel 22:6, 7, 31.—Read.
In his Law to Israel, Jehovah made it clear that those in positions of authority must never misuse their power. He would bless the nation only if the leaders treated the lowly and the poor with kindness and consideration. (Deuteronomy 27:19; 28:15, 45) In Ezekiel’s day, however, chieftains in Jerusalem and Judah were abusing their power in heinous ways. What was happening?
The chieftains were using their “arm for the purpose of shedding blood.” (Verse 6) The term “arm” represents power or authority. Another translation thus says: “The princes of Israel . . . have used their power to shed blood.” How can there be justice when leaders who should preserve and promote lawfulness abuse their power and snuff out innocent lives?
Following this, Ezekiel evidently indicts not just the leaders but also those who followed them in disobeying Jehovah’s Law. “Father and mother they have treated with contempt,” says Ezekiel. (Verse 7) By disregarding the rightful place of parents, the people tore apart the basic fabric of the nation—the family.—Exodus 20:12.
The corrupt people exploited the vulnerable among them. Each unlawful act showed a disregard for the loving spirit behind God’s Law to Israel. For example, God’s Law directed the Israelites to show special consideration for the non-Israelites dwelling among them. (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33, 34) But the people “acted with defrauding” toward the alien resident.—Verse 7.
The people also maltreated those who were defenseless—the “fatherless boy and widow.” (Verse 7) Jehovah is especially sensitive to the needs of those who lose a parent or a spouse in death. God promised that he himself would execute judgment on those who afflicted a helpless child or widow.—Exodus 22:22-24.
In these and other ways, the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day broke God’s Law and trampled on the loving spirit embodied in it. What would Jehovah do? “I shall pour out my denunciation upon them,” he promised. (Verse 31) True to his word, he allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take her people captive in 607 B.C.E.
Ezekiel’s words teach us these two lessons about Jehovah and injustice: First, he hates it; second, he has compassion for its innocent victims. God has not changed. (Malachi 3:6) He promises that soon he will remove injustice and those who foment it. (Proverbs 2:21, 22) Why not learn more about the God who “is a lover of justice” and how you can draw closer to him?—Psalm 37:28.
Suggested Bible reading for August:
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Jehovah made it clear that those in positions of authority must never misuse their power