New American Standard Bible (©1995)
'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
"Whoever deprives foreigners, orphans, or widows of justice will be cursed." Then all the people will say amen.
King James Bible
Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
American Standard Version
Cursed be he that wresteth the justice due to the sojourner, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Bible in Basic English
Cursed is he who gives a wrong decision in the cause of a man from a strange land, or of one without a father, or of a widow. And let all the people say, So be it.
World English Bible
'Cursed is he who wrests the justice [due] to the foreigner, fatherless, and widow.' All the people shall say, 'Amen.'
Young's Literal Translation
Cursed is he who is turning aside the judgment of fatherless, sojourner, and widow, -- and all the people have said, Amen.
The word translated "cursed" is 'arar, which simply means cursed. Perverting the cause of the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow is asking for trouble.
The word translated "perverteth" is natah, with many meanings focusing on the idea of bending or turning aside. We are not to turn aside the justice that is due them.
The word translated "stranger" or "sojourner" is ger, meaning sojourner, temporary inhabitant, or newcomer. Those last two -- temporary inhabitant or newcomer -- certainly can apply to the unborn child who is certainly a newcomer and who is only, after all, temporarily inhabiting his mother's womb. Wronging him certainly seems to be a risky gambit.
The word translated "fatherless" is yathowm, a straightforward word meaning fatherless or orphan. This would certainly apply to children, born or unborn, whose fathers had abandoned them.
The word translated "widow" is 'almanah, another straightforward word meaning widow, but which interestingly enough is also sometimes translated "desolate house" or "desolate place".
The three categories of people to whom justice is particularly due -- strangers, widows, and orphans -- represent the most vulnerable people known to the ancient Hebrews. The less the person is able to assert on his or her own behalf, the more care must be taken to see to it that they are given the justice that is their due.
Now, abortion advocates argue that the woman contemplating abortion could be considered the "widow", since she is female and vulnerable, and that the "justice" due to her is the killing of her unborn child. But how does that idea stand up to any scriptural scrutiny? Is there anyplace in the law where mere unwelcome presence is to be punished by death? We are called upon again and again to welcome the stranger, the fatherless, the wanderer. The woman seeking the death of her baby isn't seeking justice. We can see the abandoned woman in the role of "widow", but to provide justice to her is not to assist her in denying hospitality to the newcomer. Remember again the high value placed on hospitality, on providing a place of rest and refreshment and safety to strangers as well as to fellow believers. In what way could assisting in the killing of the stranger possibly constitute any form of justice? We need to be part of the chain of hospitality that includes the vulnerable woman and her child.
We can also look at those in power -- at legislators and judges and those in law enforcement. Far too often, when it comes to abortion, they take up the cause of the killer and oppressor, and turn away the justice due to the vulnerable person. It's taking a massive public outcry to seek justice for baby Shanice. Abortionist George Tiller has been brazenly and openly defying Kansas abortion law, taking up the cause of oppressors and killers, with the support and assistance of the medical board and the Governor -- all of whom will be called upon to justify their perversion of justice, their denial of justice to Christin Gilbert, to other young women brought for late abortions by overbearing parents, to the unborn children he burns in his oven.
We need to be part of a chain of justice, just as we need to be part of a chain of hospitality. We need to support the women pressured to abort, so that they can do justice to their children, and we need to stand up and be voices for the children. To do otherwise is to invite a curse upon ourselves.