Justice · Non-Aggression Principle · Philosophy · Ten Commandments

The 10 Commandments and Justice

I’ve written several articles in relation to justice. It is one of the ideas that we currently fight over the most in our society. At the same time we can’t even agree on a basic definition of justice. This is one of the many ideas which has divided us today.

I have defined justice as the ability to own yourself and your possessions. You can read about a basic definition of what justice is and is not in my article Defending Justice from the Social Warriors . I also believe that Jesus reiterated this truth in the parable of the vineyard workers this idea of justice **(link here).


Much of what we consider just is not just. Many want forced charity and turn the Good Samaritan into a plague of government bureaucracy. If we look at the story of the Good Samaritan we see that he  was actually charitable through volunteering means, not force.

We also understand that the idea of charity can trump justice. Although there are times that we must give justice, there are times where if we are the one who is been offended we can give charity instead of justice. We can give love as the greatest Christian ethic instead of justice.

The question is, is this idea of justice new? Is this something Jesus came up with or is this something that we only find in the New Testament? I don’t believe it is. I believe that the 10 Commandments teach this idea of justice.

Let us look at the 10 Commandments. You can find a list of them in Deuteronomy 5:7-21 or Exodus 20:1-17. In many ways the Commandments are broken up into two sections: s how to love God and how to love your fellow man.

Commandments 1-4  talk about how to love God, and commandments 5-10 speak about how to love your fellow man. Let’s take a look at these last six Commandments to see if they meet the definition of justice of owning yourself and your possessions.

Commandment 5 tells us to honor our parents. This has the idea of giving someone their due or owed or that belongs to them. At some other time I will expound upon what to do if your parents are not honorable. Their possession here is their position.

Commandment 6 is pretty straight forward. We are told not to murder. Taking away someone’s life unjustly is to break the law of justice. We are literally taking away the right for them to own their own bodies (or lives).

Commandment 7 tells us not to commit adultery. To commit adultery is to possess another person’s spouse as your own. Even if the person that you would commit adultery with is not married, and you are, then you are giving away a possession that should only belong to your spouse.

Commandment 8 is the epitome of justice. Not to steal is to not take anyone’s possessions. It doesn’t get anymore straight forward than that.

Commandment 9 says that you shall not lie about anyone. To lie about someone is to say something that is not true about them. It is to ruin or in fact steal their reputation. It is to take the possession of their reputation away from them.

Commandment 10 does not necessarily break justice directly, but what it does is lead one towards ruining justice. To covet someone else’s spouse or physical possessions leads one to the path of breaking commandment six and seven.

Do you see how the Ten Commandments all fit in line with the definition of justice? All of the Commandments are going back to protecting people’s possessions and lives. It backs up the definition of justice being able to own oneself and one’s possessions. The Ten Commandments set up the foundations of justice.

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