7 Things the Bible Says about Orphans

Psalm 68:5

The Bible has a lot to say about orphans. The Hebrew word for orphan is yatom—usually translated fatherless. It describes a child who lacks the protection and provision of a family.

The best modern equivalent for this type of person is a foster child—a child whose parents are either unable or unwilling to care for them.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about them.

1. Orphans need justice

“Learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.” —Isaiah 1:17

Orphans need justice. An ancient orphan and a modern foster child are among the most marginalized members of society. They need someone to speak on their behalf. They need someone to rule in their favor.

2. God will hear the fatherless crying for justice

You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry . . .” —Exodus 22:22–23

While God promises to hear the prayers of all people, certain people groups appear to have special access to him (Psalm 34:17, John 9:31). Orphans are one of those groups.

3. God executes justice on their behalf

“He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” —Deuteronomy 10:18

God himself carries out justice on behalf of orphans. He provides for them. He protects them.

4. God is helper to the fatherless

“But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.” —Psalm 10:14

God has a track record of working on their behalf. The Psalmist knew it, and here points out God’s MO as the orphan-helper.

5. God acts as their father

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” —Psalm 68:5

One of God’s titles is Father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He doesn’t leave the fatherless without protection or provision. He steps into the void and fills it himself. How? By sending his people to care for them.

6. Caring for orphans is part of a pure religion

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” —James 1:27

What makes a pure religion? James gives us a description, and care for orphans is on the list.

7. Caring for foster kids is like caring for Jesus

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” —Mark 9:37

What is it like to care for orphans? It’s like caring for Jesus himself.

ray profileRay Deck is the founder of Skookum kids, a non-profit which provides a housing solution for foster kids while they await placement in the foster care system. Learn more or support Skookum Kids at SkookumKids.org.


  1. says

    7. Caring for foster kids is like caring for Jesus pbuh or the Almighty Allah who sent him as a messenger? The following verse from holy bible is very clear that Jesus pbuh was a messenger of God. He is referring to Allah (God) who sent him as a messenger of God.

    “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” —Mark 9:37

  2. says

    Its not just foster children. It says the fatherless and the widow. I am a single mother with a son whose father was never involved in his life. God is my sons father. God chose me and my son and he provides for us daily. I am on disability and prior to my baptism of the Spirit I knew nothing. I couldn't succed in anything. Then that moment when I picked up the Word and I became born of Spirit. The Spirit guided me to some of the best of them and taught me His Truth. Coming from no church background no knowledge to here, logos, another gift from the Lord. In the last 3 years I have studied with RC Sproul, John McArthur, Sinclair Fergunson, and lots more daily.My son stays home and listens to all I am learning. He is also a new creation. God has just given him the best job he could get at his age, 16, in the town we are in. Tonight at work a couple came in and told him that God was going to give him great things!!! When he first applied for the job, the owner hired him on the spot. We give our glory to our Father. I am not a widow, but I am a godly women who is single and dedicated to living a godly life. Men that are close to my age arent into the things of God. And I have high standards. Someone must love God as much as I do or it wont do. I will remain alone. Like a widow. Made poor choices was a wretched sinner, but God choose me and I have an unquenchable thirst for more and more. So when you pray please pray for the children who are fatherless. They arent all foster kids. There real fatherless children.

    • Kofi Martin says

      Shelly, you have told a true story of your life. For he that has started good things in you, he sure to complete it. That is the skills and competence of God, He is with you through life… Congratulations to the young man… God is putting the headship of your home into the hands of your son. Stay blessed and keep your new found passion active.

  3. says

    Thank God for those verses showing His care for orphans, and how we should relate to them, but there is also a spiritual aspect of being orphans. Jesus said to His disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans, I wil lcome to you”(Jn 14:18). This was part of His promise to send the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we too are orphans, spiritual orphans. But our loving and merciful God has sealed us with His Holy Spirit and adopted us back in the family of God. Hence we now have God as our Father as well as our Creator. People who do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit cannot rightfully claim God as their Father. The Bible has parallel truths for our natural and spiritual state, and when we discover these, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they encourage us to be more determined to live for God, increasing our love for Him as we learn more about His truth and His ways. God is truly a Father to the fatherless, who come to Him through faith in Jesus, His Son.

  4. Carlos Barker says

    Sadly, I am not comfortable for adoption, though I would support in all other ways required. I could help as a mentor or something for helping a child to have his education and improve his situation in the future. One of my friend is also associated with some ngo working for mission humanitarian see here who help orphans for their education and health. I would also like to join any such organization for helping needy people.

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