Defend the poor - You are their natural protectors under God. They are oppressed: punish their oppressors, however rich or powerful: and deliver them.
Defend the poor and fatherless - literally, judge; that is, Pronounce just judgment; see that right is done to them. This is required everywhere in the Scriptures. The meaning is not that judgment is to be pronounced in their favor because they are poor, or because they are orphans, for this would be to do what they had just been charged with as in itself wrong, accepting of persons; that is, showing favor on account of condition or rank, rather than on account of a just claim. The idea is, that the poor and the fatherless, having no natural protectors, were likely to be wronged or oppressed; that they had none to defend their claims; and that magistrates, therefore, as if they were their natural protectors, should see that their rights were maintained. See the notes at Isaiah 1:17.
Do justice to the afflicted and needy - See that justice is done them; that they are not wronged by persons of wealth, of power, and of rank. Such care does religion take of those who have no natural guardians. The poor and the needy - the widow and the fatherless - owe to the religion of the Bible a debt which no language can express.
“Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.” Verses 9-11. PK 198.1
In his careful safeguarding of the rights and liberties of his subjects, Jehoshaphat emphasized the consideration that every member of the human family receives from the God of justice, who rules over all. “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods.” And those who are appointed to act as judges under Him, are to “defend the poor and fatherless;” they are to “do justice to the afflicted and needy,” and “rid them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:1, 3, 4. PK 198.2
Toward the close of Jehoshaphat's reign the kingdom of Judah was invaded by an army before whose approach the inhabitants of the land had reason to tremble. “The children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.” Tidings of this invasion reached the king through a messenger, who appeared with the startling word, “There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria: and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi.” 2 Chronicles 20:1, 2. PK 198.3Read in context »