Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb צדק (sadeq) means to be just or righteous. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament confidently assures that: "this root basically connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard," but here at Abarim Publications we're pretty sure this intuitive definition is incorrect. Instead, our verb connotes synchronicity with the natural laws by which creation operates and by which mankind functions most fully and most satisfactorily for all parties involved (humans, animals, plants, the Creator and perhaps even extra-terrestrial societies).
Righteousness is not manifested in piety of legalism, but rather in a mastery of all practical matters, which ultimately results in personal and social efficiency. The opposite of righteousness is not fun-loving havoc-making but stupidity and ignorance and the loss of personal and social energy.
Such a difficult and important verb obviously occurs all over the Bible. It's used in the sense of having a just cause (Job 9:15), being justified (Job 11:2, Isaiah 43:9), or being just in general (Psalm 51:4, Job 10:15). It's used in a statutory sense (2 Samuel 15:4), a verdictive sense (Deuteronomy 25:1), even vindicative sense (Isaiah 50:8) and redemptive sense (Daniel 12:3, Genesis 44:16).
Besides this verb, the root yields a few other important derivatives:
- The adjective צדיק (saddiq), meaning just or righteous (Genesis 7:1, 2 Samuel 23:3).
- The masculine noun צדק (sedeq), meaning justice or rightness (Deuteronomy 25:15, Leviticus 19:15).
- The feminine noun צדקה (sadaqa), meaning righteousness (Isaiah 5:7, Psalm 36:6).