By Venansio Ahabwe
In the field of socioeconomics, which focuses on the relationship between social behavior and the economy, we study how people’s norms, ethics and culture affect the welfare of the community. It has been said that defending the rights of others brings opportunity cost, whereby you might suffer loss or inconvenience in order for others to benefit. Therefore, respecting and defending the rights of other people becomes a public good, from which the defender also benefits. As scripture reveals, “…if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10). The Holy Bible richly shows the value of defending others but, in this commentary, we will focus on three characters: Daniel, Esther and Jonathan.
Daniel rescued Susanna from death:
Joakim’s wife, Susanna, was strikingly beautiful and very faithful to the Lord. Two elders, who were judges appointed to dispense justice in the community were often at Joakim’s house in the long run. Seeing Susanna, they were overcome with lust and planned to compel her into adultery. God-fearing as she was, Susanna fiercely resisted and upset the elders, leaving them embarrassed. To cover up their wickedness, they falsely testified to the people gathered at Joakim’s compound that they had caught Susanna committing adultery with a young man in the family garden. While all the people believed the elders’ story, and agreed that Susanna should be killed, a boy named Daniel objected. He questioned the elders separately and they contradicted each other in front of everyone. The malicious elders were put to death instead of the innocent woman, Susanna. Daniel stepped out and saved innocent blood (Daniel 13:1- 64). As scripture teaches, “Giving help to the poor is like loaning money to the Lord…..” (Proverbs 19:17). When Daniel was delivered to the den of hungry lions, later in life, “God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of lions” (Daniel 6:22). Daniel greatly prospered, received countless gifts, became a governor of the whole province of Babylon and a chief prefect wise men in Babylon” (Daniel 2:48-49).
Esther saved Mordecai and other Jews:
The book of Esther shows that King Ahasuerus who occupied the royal throne in the citadel of Susa, promoted a man, named Haman, to a senior rank. Whenever Haman appeared, all the officials at the king’s gate would kneel and bow down to him. However, one man, Mordecai refused to act like all others. This annoyed Haman. He planned to have Mordecai hanged because of his disrespect. In fact, he wished to kill all Jews. At a certain point, however, Mordecai had saved the king’s life when he reported a plot to assassinate him, leading to the capture of the conspirators. Learning about Haman’s evil plot, the Queen, Esther persuaded the king to spare Mordecai. As a result, Haman was hanged ‘on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai’ (Esther 7:10). In addition, the king confiscated Haman’s property and bestowed it on Mordecai.
Jonathan and Michal secured David’s life:
When David defeated the Philistines by felling titanic Goliath, women of Israel praised him more than Saul, the king. Saul was annoyed and sought to kill David so that he could remain unrivalled. However, Saul’s son, Jonathan alerted David about how the king planned the murder, and advised him to hide. In the meantime, Jonathan persuaded his father that David was not
merely innocent; he also had been a great resource, who secured infinite victory for Israel. After listening to Jonathan, Saul swore, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death” (1 Samuel 19:16). Later on, Saul again plotted to kill David but Michal, Saul’s daughter, alerted David about it and helped him to flee through a window (1 Samuel 19:11-12). A prophet advocated for justice thus: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other” (Zechariah 7:8- 10). The stories of Daniel, Esther, Jonathan and Michal show that every person is another’s keeper. By defending the rights of others and promoting their welfare, you ultimately improve your own conditions. We are safe only if others are safe. A Christian must be a mirror through which the image of God is seen by other people. God is not selfish, so man should imitate God’s infinite generosity. We are required to promote the welfare of others, without making personal benefits a priority.
The 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama once said,“our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks ‘what’s in it for me’, a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals…!” Besides, a celebrated author and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou has stated, “It is impossible to struggle for … equal rights for blacks without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it.” Therefore, protecting the welfare of others amounts to protecting our own.
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