A Christian Perspective

On widows and orphans

Iain Provan probes the Old Testament’s emphasis on looking after the vulnerable.

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Summary

Iain Provan probes the Old Testament’s emphasis on looking after the vulnerable.

Transcript

In terms of looking after those marginalised people, as we would nowadays call them I guess, those who are vulnerable in society – so widows, orphans, foreigners, who of course are famously vulnerable in the world we live in as well – it’s rather extraordinary, the extent to which Old Testament law pushes people to treat those folks well, appropriately, look after them.

In fact, the king is particularly tasked with the job of looking after the marginalised, which in the ancient Near Eastern context is rather extraordinary because you basically have a very hierarchical society in which the king is a demi- or semi-god and the peasants are the peasants, as it were. So one of the great things in the Old Testament, one of the motivations is, remember that you were slaves in Egypt. Remember that you were once those people. Therefore, you should look after those people.