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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Oppression

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o - presh´un : Used in the King James Version to translate a variety of Hebrew words, all of which, however, agree in the general sense of wrong done by violence to others. There are a few cases where the reference is to the oppression of Israel by foreigners, as by their Egyptian masters ( Exodus 3:9; Deuteronomy 26:7 ), or by Syria (2 Kings 13:4 ), or by an unmentioned nation (Isaiah 30:20 King James Version, margin). In all these cases the Hebrew original is להץ , laḥac . But in the vast number of cases the reference is to social oppression of one kind or another within Israel's own body. It is frequently theme of psalmist and prophet and wise man. The poor and weak must have suffered greatly at the hands of the stronger and more fortunate. The word laḥac , various forms of the root עשׁק , ‛āshaḳ , and other words are used by the writers as they express their sorrow and indignation over the wrongs of their afflicted brethren. In his own sorrow, Job remembers the suffering of the oppressed (Job 35:9; Job 36:15 ); it is a frequent subject of song in the Psalms (Psalm 12:5; Psalm 42:9; Psalm 43:2; Psalm 44:24; Psalm 55:3; Psalm 119:134 ); the preacher observes and reflects upon its prevalence (Ecclesiastes 4:1; Ecclesiastes 5:8; Ecclesiastes 7:7 the King James Version); the prophets Amos ( Amos 3:9 ), Isaiah (Isaiah 5:7; Isaiah 59:13 ), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 6:6; Jeremiah 22:17 ) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 22:7 , Ezekiel 22:29 ) thundered against it. It was exercised toward strangers and also toward the Israelites themselves, and was never wholly overcome. In James 2:6 , "oppress" is the rendering of καταδυναστεύω , katadunasteúō , "to exercise harsh control over one," "to use one's power against one."

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Oppression'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/o/oppression.html. 1915.

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