FAQ: Biblical Justice as an Example of Hebraic Thought

Common conceptions of justice in our culture include the ideas of seeking retribution or punishing wrongdoing. Many people familiar with the Hebrew Bible are inclined to quote “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24). Could it be, however, that the Biblical authors have a different definition and application of justice than our immediate presuppositions?

In this episode of the Center for Hebraic Thought Podcast, Dr. Dru Johnson and Abby Smith discuss how “biblical justice” has been understood and misunderstood in our culture. Dr. Johnson reveals the “one impulse” underlying justice in the Biblical narratives and law: its surprising emphasis on the vulnerable.


  • 0:44 Problems with common definitions of justice
  • 1:59 Justice as restoration
  • 4:00 The “one impulse” of justice across Hebrew Scriptures: caring for the vulnerable
  • 6:40 Applying Biblical justice to our modern world
  • 9:00 Interpretation of the “eye for an eye” passage in Exodus 21

Credits for the music used in the CHT podcast can be found at: hebraicthought.org/credits