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Sedeq and Sedaqah in the Hebrew Bible

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Ahuva Ho

Up till now Sedeq was generally interpreted as «justice» and Sedaqah as «righteousness» without using comparative research to go beyond the dogmatic interpretation. This first-time in-depth research has shown not only that the three genres (Narrative, Wisdom and the Prophets) use both terms as two separate distinct meanings, but also a clear development and branching-out of meanings (especially of Sedaqah) throughout the Biblical era, a period of about 1000 years. It has also found a definite inter-dependency and influence between Wisdom and the Prophets literatures. Sedeq and Sedaqah are concepts in terms of relationships: between man and man according to social customs and norms, and between man and God according to a special covenant. Contrary to prior interpretation and to the contemporary meaning, there is no evidence that the Biblical Sedaqah took the meaning of «Charity.»