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In the Gates

The Least of These

The Least of These--We note also the special attention given to caring for widows and orphans.

 The eighth commandment

Deuteronomy 24.17, 18

“‘You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.’”

Deuteronomy 10.18, 19; Malachi 3.5

Exodus 22.21-24

You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.”

We note also the special attention given to caring for widows and orphans. Both Paul (1 Tim. 5) and James (Jms. 1.27) explained that true religion cares for “the least of these”, especially when they are members of the believing community (Gal. 6.10). Christians took the lead, early on in Church history, in caring for those who could not care for themselves, including widows, orphans, travellers, the poor, and strangers. Jesus commended those who showed love for the least of these because, in so doing, they showed love for God and His Law. Conversely, those who think to practice true religion without an active concern for those in need actually demonstrate contempt for Christ and His Law and, in spite of their professions of orthodoxy, can expect to meet with judgment on the day Christ returns (Matt. 25.31-46).

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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