Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

Righteousness – Hebrew: Tzadakah

The Hebrew word for ‘righteousness’ is tzadak. ‘Righteousness’ is found 130 times in the Hebrew Scriptures.


Tzadaqah is the Hebrew word for ‘righteousness’ meaning ‘to be justified, to be loyal, honest, lawful.’ Righteousness can simply mean ‘acting rightly before the Lawgiver’ with truthfulness and mercy. Melchizedek in Hebrew is Melech Tzadek meaning ‘King of Righteousness.’

“One the one hand, the relationships among people and of a man to his God can be described as sadaq, supposing the parties are faithful to each other’s expectations.  It is a relational word…. The word ‘righteousness’ embodies all that God expects of His people.  One judges, deals, sacrifices, and speaks righteously; and one learns, teaches, and pursues after righteousness.” Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, pg. 206

“He believed in Adonai, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

“It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to obey all these mitzvot before ADONAI our God, just as he ordered us to do” (Deuteronomy 6:25).

“I will restore your judges as at first and your advisers as at the beginning. After that, you will be called the City of Righteousness, Faithful City” (Isaiah 1:26).

“But those who can discern will shine like the brightness of heaven’s dome, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tzadik is a picture of a Fishhook and means ‘to pull toward’

Dalet is a picture of a Door and means ‘pathway’

Koof is a picture of the Back of the Head and means ‘what is final’

Hey is a picture of a Window and means ‘reveal’

tzadakah – pulling toward the final pathway

In Greek ‘righteousness’ is dikaiosune and means ‘whatever conforms to the revealed will of God,’ or whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man.’

““How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness! for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

“For it is by the power of the Spirit, who works in us because we trust and are faithful, that we confidently expect our hope of attaining righteousness to be fulfilled” (Galatians 5:5).

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Psalm 119:137-144 (Tzadik)

Psalm 119 is about loving God’s Torah, His statutes, commands and precepts.  It is broken up into sections with strange looking words or letters which are the Hebrew alphabet.  In the Hebrew Scriptures, each line of each section starts with a word beginning with this letter.  This is called an acrostic poem.    Each Hebrew letter also has a  word picture associated with it giving greater meaning and symbolism to each line of the specific letter-ed section.

Word Picture - A Fishhook

צ Tzadik – A Fish Hook

To pull toward, something inescapable, desire (hooked on), trouble, harvest

“You are righteous, Adonai; and your rulings are upright. You have commanded your instructions in righteousness and great faithfulness. My zeal is destroying me, because my foes have forgotten your words. Your word is refined to complete purity, and your servant loves it.  I may be small and despised, but I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is eternal righteousness, and your Torah is truth. Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but your mitzvot are my delight. Your instruction is righteous forever; give me understanding, and I will live.”

Most, if not all English translations like the Amplified, the King James and New International Version, use the word ‘law’ in verse 142.  However, if one uses a concordance to find the exact Hebrew word that King David used, it is torah.  King David knew and understood that torah was synonymous with the Word of God and there was no confusion between the two (‘law of sin and death’ and God’s teachings and instructions).   He speaks of the Word/Torah as being refined to complete purity.

In John 17:17, Yeshua says, “Sanctify them by your word, your word is truth.”  The Greek for ‘word’ in this verse is logos and means that which is spoken, commanded, taught, instructed. Yeshua is saying that those things which God has spoken, commanded, taught and instructed, is torah,  and torah sanctifys us.  The Hebrew word kadosh meaning ‘sanctify or holy’  is also used in the sense of making one pure and having met all of God’s requirements when worshipping Him.   There is no difference between what King David said about the Torah and what Yeshua said about God’s Word.  They are one and the same; they are truth; they both sanctify us.  

Three words stand out to me in this passage are righteousness, faithfulness and delight.   In Hebrew, the word righteousness tzadak comes from the letter tzadik and means ‘to be in the right, be justified, be just.’  Though this is one nuance of the word, it isn’t used often in Scripture and is found mostly in the book of Job.

The basic meaning of the verb tzadak is ‘to be righteous’, a legal term which involves God’s process of justice when He makes a divine pronouncement of guilt or innocence on the wicked or righteous.  In Genesis, Abraham meets Melchizedek or Melek Tzadek – ‘King of Righteousness” and they share bread and wine.   This type of tzadek is the righteousness credited to Abraham because he believed the Lord’s  promises.  Tzadek is the type of relationship where two people or a person and God are faithful to one another as seen in the relationship between Melek Tzadek and Abraham.  Tzadek brings with it the idea of loyalty and faithfulness and embodies all that God expects of His people.

There are at least these two views of righteousness and both are aspects of torah.  One view is where a person judges, deals, sacrifices and speaks righteously using torah as a guideline.  The other is where a person learns, teaches, and pursues after righteousness using torah as a guideline.  Both symbolize the fishhook.  In the word pictures,   righteousness is being hooked to the path of life that you follow – straight and without turning back.    Like King David we are to delight in God’s Word, His precepts, His instructions so that we are hooked on God’s righteousness walk in faithfulness as did our father Abraham and our living Torah example, Yeshua.

““Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). 

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.