I came across this verse:

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:17, KJV)

What does it mean to judge the fatherless?

  • 2
    My view on the KJV is that when a translation needs a translation and you know you have more a better sources it is time to put it in a place of reverence and to admire its poetic value but not to rely on it for clear and sound understanding of the text. I've noticed quite a few "in the KJV..." questions on here which are easily answered by looking at other translations. Nov 27, 2014 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


The KJV uses judge, whereas the others use 'Defend', 'relieve', 'take up the cause of'.

The use of the word judge in the KJV relates ushering them judgments, similar to a court of law. Not all judgments are punishment, however. If you were taking someone to court and won, the judge would rule in your favor. Similarly, when judgments in every day life are done, we judge in thus sense, positive or negative.

Judge, in this case, indicates helping them. Do them good, help them get what they can't get on their own, or is harder. Hence, defend, relieve, and plead the cause of.

  • Just what i thought. But I wanted clarification so thank you.
    – jay_t55
    Nov 27, 2014 at 15:49
  • I would say that it's not about helping or doing good, necessarily, it's about getting justice for them. Nov 27, 2014 at 16:46
  • @DJClayworth Probably better language there, yes, with the implication of for good. Obviously, if they were bad, justice wouldn't help them, but in the context it is to help.
    – user16825
    Nov 27, 2014 at 16:50

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