9:18 the needy . . . the poor. The phrase “the poor and needy” (35:10; 74:21; Prov. 31:9; Ezek. 18:12) is a fixed expression in the Old Testament, and the words also appear frequently in parallel (72:12; Job 24:4; Is. 32:7; Amos 8:4). The meaning is frequently literal poverty, but the words may also be used figuratively to express total dependence on God (40:17; 86:1; 109:22; also Matt. 5:3 and Luke 6:20). Poverty is not itself meritorious, but God gives special attention to the cries of the oppressed (12:5; 72:4 note). Jeremiah equates bringing “justice and righteousness” to the “poor and needy” with knowing God (Jer. 22:15, 16). This was an explicit responsibility of those in power.