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Tsedaqah- Righteousness The Hebrew word for righteousness is TsedaqahTsedaqah is a noun in the feminine form the masculine form of the word is tsedeq To most scholars the words are interchangeable However A Jepsen contends that tsedeq means right order and that tsedaqah is the idea of human well being or right behavior Since it more often used interchangeably that is how it is taken in this paper However the passages that were taken into account for this paper used tsedaqah only The stem attached to Tsedaqah is a verb which means to be righteous to be just to be in the right or to be straight To most commentators to be straight appears to be the most accurate definition In later Jewish writings tsedaqah is most often used as a term of ethical conduct All three versions of the word the stem the feminine form and the masculine form have a variety of ways in which they are applied For example in Isaiah 4612 and in Micah 79 it means deliverance Isaiah 523 defines it as right In other Biblical books outside the eighth century prophets tsedaqah is used as vindication saving deeds saving help righteous help salvation equity uprightness prosperity and integrity Interestingly The Jerusalem Bible most frequently translates the word as integrity The common thread of all of these different renderings of the word is that it is relational Righteousness in the Old Testament is best understood from the Hebraic concept of the word Some Christian scholars think of righteousness in the Old Testament as a call to a legalistic religious system rather than to a compassionate religious system Tsedaqah was definitely a call to justness fairness and upright living but it was more a demand for a personal relationship with God More precisely righteousness in the Old Testament is the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship between God and with ones fellow people as given in the
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