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What Does Reparations Mean According to the Bible?

Christians and non-Christians are turning to the Bible for answers to today’s uncertain world. The rate of violence, poverty, and racism seems to be everywhere.


The Bible, which is a collection of holy texts or scriptures, helps guide in times of need. Throughout the years, it’s been referenced and continues to be referenced for countless issues, including same-sex marriage, pre-marital sex, and possible clues to the end times.

Now the Bible is in the middle of a debate about a dark period of our nation’s history. Reparations are a hot topic. But what does reparations mean?

Read along to learn more.

What is Slavery?

Slavery or the state of being a slave in bondage occurred in the United States from 1619 until 1865. African-Americans were the primary race of people enslaved.

Since it’s abolishment, no formal reparations or apologies were given to the descendants of enslaved African-Americans.

What Does Reparations Mean?

Reparations mean to right the wrong that took place through the giving of money or helping those wronged, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Senator Sheila Jackson Lee introduced H.R. 40, a bill to form a commission to study reparations for slavery. The bill would allow the commission to document slave practices, discrimination for one year, and discuss appropriate resolutions such as monetary payments to descendants of slaves.

Reparations in the Bible

Since the introduction of H.R. 40, political and religious leaders have used an excerpt from the Bible to support an argument for reparations.

The book of Ezra documents events foretold by Isaiah and Jeremiah and represents the word of the Lord. In Ezra 6, a partial restoring of Israel by God happened.

King Darius commands the Jewish people to receive financial compensation for what was taken away from them. Because King Darius is the ruler, he forces the citizens to pay taxes for the reparations to Israel. The citizens didn’t commit the offense towards the Jewish people, but they are made to pay for it.

This excerpt is in direct correlation to the proposal of reparations for African-American descendants of slaves. The people who would stand to pay for the reparations are not the same people who committed the crimes against slaves.

Nor are the recipients of the reparations enslaved people. But if you look further into this scripture you notice the act of King Darius happened because of God.

God put King Darius in his position of power. Thus, God fulfilled his promise of making good by the Jewish people and is a prime example of reparations in the Bible.

Are Reparations the Answer?

But even though the actions were just towards the Jewish people was it fair to the taxpayers? The same can be argued for the proposed reparations to African-Americans. Would it be just for people of today to pay for actions done so long ago?

Is there a better way to make amends to African-Americans besides cutting a check? Examining the issue of law enforcement and their treatment towards black people would make more sense.

Creating more programs to teach men, women, and children financial literacy and ways to get off of government assistance programs would benefit millions of black Americans.

Working to decrease the number of incarcerated black men and helping them secure employment after release would help too.

While reparations might seem like a great gesture there are other ways to help black Americans to rise up from the legacy of slavery and oppression and poverty.

Decide For Yourself

Now that you understand what reparations means it’s up to you to decide whether it’s a good idea. Conduct your own research and seek the answers within your heart.

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