Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings
Righteous ~ tsadiyq
By Jeff A. Benner

What is a righteous person? The word righteous is an abstract word and in order to understand this word from an Hebraic mindset we must uncover its original concrete meaning. One of the best ways to determine the original concrete meaning of a word is to find it being used in a sentence where its concrete meaning can be seen. For example the word yashar is usually translated as upright or righteous (abstracts) but is also translated as "straight". From this we can conclude that a "yashar" is one who walks a straight line. The problem with the word tsadiyq, and its verb form tsadaq, is that there are no uses of this word in its concrete meaning. The next method is to compare how the word in question is paralleled with other Hebrew words as commonly found in the poetical passages of the Bible. Sometimes these parallels will be synonyms and other times antonyms. When we look at the word tsadiyq we find that it is commonly paralleled with the word "rasha". Rasha is usually translated as "wicked" but has a concrete meaning of "to depart from the path and become lost". From this we can conclude that a tsadiyq is one who remains on the path. The path is the course through life which God has outlined for us in his word.

AHLB# 2658 (b)