It’s a Matter of Justice! The Old Testament and the Idea of Retribution


Old Testament theology

How to Cite

Ausloos, H. (2023). It’s a Matter of Justice! The Old Testament and the Idea of Retribution. Old Testament Essays, 36(1), 151–165. Retrieved from


This essay aims to do justice to an often misunderstood aspect of the concept of biblical – in this case, Old Testament – justice, namely the doctrine of retribution. Following on some introductory matters regarding the terminology, the various facets of the Old Testament idea of retribution will be presented: individual retribution, collective and corporative retribution, and transgenerational retribution. Moreover, God’s role within the Old Testament ‘doctrine of retribution’ will be dealt with. Finally, it will be shown that, in some instances, Old Testament authors also have highlighted some risky sides of this ‘doctrine of retribution’.




Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).