Conception of Justice: Pre-Axial—Noah, Abraham and Moses

  • Abbas MirakhorEmail author
  • Hossein Askari
Part of the Political Economy of Islam book series (PEoI)


The Prophets’ conception of universal and comprehensive justice is reflected in the teachings of Noah, Abraham and Moses, and is connected to transcendent source of the rules prescribed by the Creator of all for all humanity, and became an exclusive conception focused on social and economic justice. Justice was particularized to the same areas as was the case in Mesopotamia, to protect the rights of the debtor, poor, widows and orphans. One major difference between the Mesopotamian and Bani Israel conceptions was that the latter now included demand for justice to be applied to rulers and judges. The prophets saw justice as the result of compliance with the laws of the Creator (God of Justice, who hates robbery and inequity and who manifests his holiness through justice and righteousness) and the very essence of piety.


  1. Becking, Bob, and Maejo C.A. Korpel, eds. 1999. The Crisis of Israelite Religion: Transformation of Religious Tradition in Exilic and Post-Exilic Time. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  2. Boecker, H.J. 1980. Law and the Administration of Justice in the Old Testament and Ancient East. Minneapolis, MI: Augsburg Fortress Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Busenitz, Irvin A. 1999. Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and Priestly Covenant. The Master’s Seminary Journal 10 (2): 173–189.Google Scholar
  4. Chirichigno, Gregory E. 1993. Debt-Slavery in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  5. Coggins, Richard, Anthony Phillips, and Michael Knibb. 1982. Israel’s Prophetic Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, A. 1966. The Twelve Prophets. London: The Soncino Press.Google Scholar
  7. Duchrow, Ulrich, and Franz J. Hinkelammert. 2004. Property for People, Not for Profit. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  8. Edelman, Diana Vikander. 1995. The Triumph of Elohim: From Yahwism to Judaism. The Netherlands: Kok Phares Publishing House.Google Scholar
  9. Foltz, Richard C. 2008. Spirituality in the Land of the Noble. Oxford: One World.Google Scholar
  10. Goodman, Lenn E. 1991. On Justice: An Essay in Jewish Philosophy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Graham, M.P., and Steven L. McKenzie. 1998. The Hebrew Bible Today: An Introduction to Critical Issues. Westminster: John Knox Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hamilton, Jeffries M. 1992. Social Justice and Deuteronomy: The Case of Deuteronomy 15. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press.Google Scholar
  13. Horsley, Richard A. 2009. Covenant Economics: A Biblical Vision of Justice for All. Louisville, KY: Westminster john Knox Press.Google Scholar
  14. Jaspers, Karl. 1953. The Origin and Goal of History. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  15. Lindblom, J. 1962. Prophecy in Ancient Israel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
  16. Macdonald, Nathan. 2004. Listening to Abraham-Listening to Yahweh: Divine Justice and Mercy in Genesis 18: 16–33. Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66 (1): 25–43.Google Scholar
  17. Masalha, Nur. 2016. The Concept of Palestine: The Conception of Palestine from the Late Bronze Age to the Modern Period. Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies 15 (2): 143–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mendenhall, George E. 1954. Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition. The Biblical Archaeologist 17 (3): 70–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miller, Geoffrey P. 1993. Contracts of Genesis. Journal of Legal Studies 22: 15–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Muilenburg, James. 1952. The Ethics of the Prophet. In Moral Principles of Action, ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen, 527–542. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Niehr, Herbert. 1995. The Rise of YHWH in Judahite and Israelite Religion: Methodological and Religio-Historical Aspects. In The Triumph of Elohim, ed. V.K. Edelman, 45–74. The Netherlands: Peeters Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Oeming, Manfred. 2006. Judah and Judeans in the Persian Period. Winnona Lake, IN: Eisenbrau.Google Scholar
  23. Pangle, Thomas L. 2003. Political Philosophy and the God of Abraham. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Polish, Daniel F. 1982. Judaism and Human Rights. In Human Rights in Religious Tradition, ed. Arlene Swidler, 40–50. New York: The Pilgrim Press.Google Scholar
  25. Sicker, Martin. 2004. The Trials of Abraham: The Making of a National Patriarch. Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse, Inc.Google Scholar
  26. Silver, Morris. 1995. Prophets and Markets Revisited. In Social Justice in the Ancient World, ed. K.D. Irani and M. Silver, 179–198. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  27. Stokl, Jonathan, and Caroline Waezegger. 2015. Exile and Return: The Babylonian Context. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmBH & Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tamari, M. 1987. With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  29. Taub, Jonathan. 2006. Canaanites. London: The British Museum.Google Scholar
  30. Van Seters, John. 1975. Abraham in History and Tradition. Brattleboro. Vermont: Echo Point Books & Media.Google Scholar
  31. Wagner-Tsukamoto, Sigmund. 2009. Is God an Economist: An Institutional Economic Reconstruction of the Old Testament. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Waltke, Bruce K. 1988. The Phenomenon of Conditionality. In Israel’s Apostasy and Restoration, ed. Avram Gileadi, 123–139. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.Google Scholar
  33. Weinfeld, M. 1970. The Covenant of Grant in the Old Testament and in Ancient Near East. Journal of the American Oriental Society 90 (2): 184–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yamauchi, Edwin M. 1996. Grand Rapids. Michigan: Baker Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La JuntaUSA
  2. 2.LeesburgUSA

Personalised recommendations