What is the usage of צְדָקָה in Genesis 15:6? In order to examine this word, careful examination must be done to find the meaning of the word. From Chapters 1-15, the root that relates to צדק appears in 6:9. It says “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation…” In this context, the root word is used to describe Noah as “righteous or just.” Also in 7:1, it says that “I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.” In this context, the word means “just and righteous, in conduct and character towards God.” However, the most significant insight gained from these two verses are that a man is not righteous because of his own actions; he or she cannot be righteous, but it is God appointed, it is indeed a designation from God and only by God. Therefore, in chapters 1 to 15’s context, the word root צדק refers to righteousness, which is recognized by God. God is the righteous and Holy One. He, in deed has a say, who is righteous and not man. Therefore, the word צדק originates from God.
In observing chapter 16 through the entire book of Genesis, we can trace how the word צְדָקָה is used. In 18:19, צְדָקָה is used in the context of “doing righteousness.” However, this term is used by God. Also 30:33 says צְדָקָה in the context of righteousness in “conduct or honesty” and Jacob describes his conduct as righteousness. In contrast, observing 18:23-28, the word root צדק is defined as someone who is “just.” Abraham uses this word hypothetically to say if there is a righteous man, could God spare? But the truth here is that Abraham tries to call someone, as righteous but indeed, there is no righteous person in Sodom and Gomorrah. However, from the word point of view, only God can use this word.
In 15:6 the author says “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” The word צְדָקָה is defined here as “imputed righteousness.” According to HALOT, the word צְדָקָה is defined as “justness, especially in front of God.” The word here is used in a sense that no one deserves this righteousness but it is God who bestows the righteousness to Abram since it says “he counted it to him as righteousness.” What is the basis for his righteousness? It is because Abraham believes and puts his faith in God. Faith is the most significant component in God declaring Abraham as righteous. Indeed righteousness here seems very similar to the notion of grace of God in the New Testament.
In the Pentateuch, there are two ways that the word צְדָקָה is used. First, Deuteronomy 6:25 states “And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.” Another verse that carries the same idea is Deuteronomy 24:13 where it says “It shall be righteousness for you before the Lord your God.” For both of these texts have the undertone that if the Israelites obey the commandments of God, they will be counted righteousness. The significance of this is that it...