Yōsher, Hebrew Strong’s #3476, is used 14 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as uprightness (9), right (2), upright (1), meet (1), equity (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verse:
Yāshār, Hebrew Strong’s #3477, is used 119 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as right (53), upright (42), righteous (9), straight (3), convenient (2), Jasher (2), equity (1), just (1), meet (1), meetest (1), upright ones (1), uprightly (1), uprightness (1), well (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verse:Proverbs 17:26 - "Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity."
Kishrôn, Hebrew Strong’s #3788, is used 3 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as good (1), right (1), equity (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verse:Micah 3:9 - "Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity."
Mîshôr, Hebrew Strong’s #4334, is used 23 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as plain (15), equity (2), straight (2), even place (1), right (1), righteously (1), uprightness (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verses:Ecclesiastes 2:21 - "For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil."
Isaiah 11:4 - "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked."
Mêshārîm, Hebrew Strong’s #4339, is used 19 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as equity (4), uprightly (3), uprightness (3), right things (2), agreement (1), aright (1), equal (1), right (1), righteously (1), sweetly (1), upright (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verses:Malachi 2:6 - "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity."
Psalms 98:9 - "Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."
Psalms 99:4 - "The king's strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob."
Proverbs 1:3 - "To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;"
Mêshārîm, Hebrew Strong’s #5229, is used 4 times throughout the Old Testament. It is translated as uprightness (1), right things (1), equity (1), right (1). It is translated as “equity” in the following verse:Proverbs 2:9 - "Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path."
Easton's Bible Dictionary, Matthew George Easton, 1897Isaiah 59:14 - "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter."
Lectures on Portions of the Psalms, Andrew Thomson, D.D., 1826Justice is rendering to every one that which is his due. It has been distinguished from equity in this respect, that while justice means merely the doing what positive law demands, equity means the doing of what is fair and right in every separate case.
Ungodly...deceitful...unjust. There are ungodly men who, being destitute of religious principle, will not scruple to injure us, when they can thereby gratify their passions or advance their worldly interests. There are deceitful men who will put on the garb of friendship, and acquire our confidence and esteem, and then treacherously cheat us out of our property, or our reputation, or our peace. There are unjust men, who by fraud or by violence, would rob us of our dearest rights and most valuable possessions, and not only reduce our powers and opportunities of doing good, but even diminish our means of comfortable subsistence. And there are oppressors, who taking advantage of our weakness or dependence, and trampling alike on the maxims of equity and humanity, may exact from us unreasonable services, impose upon us heavy burdens and cruel restraints, and ply us with insults, and harassments, and deprivations, from which we can make no escape, and for which we can find no redress.
The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, 1885 (in reference to Psalm 99:4)
The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, 1885 (in reference to Psalm 141:4)Thou dost establish equity. Not a court of equity merely, but equity itself thou dost set up, and that not for a time or upon an occasion, but as an established institution, stable as thy throne. Not even for the sake of mercy does the Lord remove or injure the equity of his moral government: both in providence and in grace he is careful to conserve the immaculate purity of his justice. Most kingdoms have an establishment of some kind, and generally it is inequitable; here we have an establishment which is equity itself. The Lord our God demolishes every system of injustice, and right alone is made to stand.
St. Augustine said:Iniquity, which, being interpreted is a want of equity, is a thing to be shunned as we would avoid an infectious disease.
The Judiciary Act of 1789, September 24, 1789.Simulata aequitas est duplex iniquitas, quia et inquitas est, et similatio:
Feigned equity is double iniquity, both because it is iniquity, and because it is feigning.
Webster’s 1828 defines “equity” as:1 Stat. 73. CHAP. XX. – An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States
SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That suits in equity shall not be sustained in either of the courts of the United States, in any case where plain, adequate and complete remedy may be had at law.
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3, Jeremy Bentham, 18431. Justice; right. In practice, equity is the impartial distribution of justice, or the doing that to another which the laws of God and man, and of reason, give him a right to claim. It is the treating of a person according to justice and reason.
2. Justice; impartiality; a just regard to right or claim; as, we must, in equity, allow this claim.
3. In law, an equitable claim.
4. In jurisprudence, the correction or qualification of law, when too severe or defective; or the extension of the words of the law to cases not expressed, yet coming within the reason of law. Hence a court of equity or chancery, is a court which corrects the operation of the literal text of the law, and supplies its defects, by reasonable construction, and by rules of proceeding and deciding, which are not admissible in a court of law. Equity is then the law of reason, exercised by the chancellor or judge, giving remedy in cases to which the courts of law are not competent.
Bouvier’s Dictionary of Law, 1856We all know but too well, that in spite of the unimpeachable integrity of the bench, that branch of justice which is particularly dignified with the name of equity is only for those who can afford to throw away one fortune for the chance of recovering another.
1. In the early history of the law, the sense affixed to this word was exceedingly vague and uncertain. This was owing, in part, to the fact, that the chancellors of those days were either statesmen or ecclesiastics, perhaps not very scrupulous in the exercise of power. It was then asserted that equity was bounded by no certain limits or rules, and that it was alone controlled by conscience and natural justice. 3 Bl. Com. 43 3, 440, 441.
2. In a moral sense, that is called equity which is founded, ex oequo et bono, in natural justice, in honesty, and in right. In an enlarged. legal view, "equity, in its true and genuine meaning, is the soul and spirit of the law; positive law is construed, and rational law is made by it. In this, equity is made synonymous with justice; in that, to the true and sound interpretation of the rule." 3 Bl. Com. 429. This equity is justly said to be a supplement to the laws; but it must be directed by science. The Roman law will furnish him with sure guides, and safe rules. In that code will be found, fully developed, the first principles and the most important consequences of natural right. "From the moment when principles of decision came to be acted upon in chancery," says Mr. Justice Story, "the Roman law furnished abundant materials to erect a superstructure, at once solid, convenient and lofty, adapted to human wants, and enriched by the aid of human wisdom, experience and learning." Com. on Eq. Jur. §23 Digest, 54.
3. But equity has a more restrained and qualified meaning. The remedies for the redress of wrongs, and for the enforcement of rights, are distinguished into two classes, first, those which are administered in courts of common law; and, secondly, those which are administered in courts of equity. Rights which are recognized and protected, and wrongs which are redressed by the former courts, are called legal rights and legal injuries. Rights which are recognized and protected, and wrongs which are redressed by the latter courts only, are called equitable rights and equitable injuries The former are said to be rights and wrongs at common law, and the remedies, therefore, are remedies at common law; the latter are said to be rights and wrongs in equity, and the remedies, therefore, are remedies in equity. Equity jurisprudence may, therefore, properly be said to be that portion of remedial justice which is exclusively administered by a court of equity, as contradistinguished from that remedial justice, which is exclusively administered by a court of law. Story, Eq. §25. Vide Chancery, and the authiorities there cited; and 3 Chit. Bl. Com. 425 n. 1. Dane's Ab . h. t.; Ayl. Pand. 37; Fonbl. Eq. b. 1, c. 1; Wooddes. Lect. 114 Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition
Wex Legal DictionaryJustice administered according to fairness as contrasted with the strictly formulated rules of common law. It is based on a system of rules and principles which originated in England as an alternative to the harsh rules of common law and which were based on what was fair in a particular situation. One sought relief under this system in courts of equity rather than in courts of law. The term “equity” denotes the spirit and habit of fairness, justness, and right dealing which would regulate the intercourse of men with men. Gilles v. Department of Human Resources Development, 11 Cal.3d 313, 113 Cal.Rptr. 374, 380, 521 P.2d 110. Equity is a body of jurisprudence, or field of jurisdiction, differing in its origin, theory and methods from the common law; though procedurally, in the federal courts and most state courts, equitable and legal rights and remedies are administered in the same court.
A system of jurisprudence collateral to, and in some respects independent of, “law”; the object of which is to render the administration of justice more complete, by affording relief where the courts of law are incompetent to give it, or to give it with effect, or by exercising certain branches of jurisdiction independently of them.
In law, the term equity refers to a particular set of remedies and associated procedures. These equitable doctrines and procedures are distinguished from "legal" ones. Equitable relief is generally available only when a legal remedy is insufficient or inadequate in some way. This could be when a claim involves a particular piece of real estate, or if specific performance is the relief requested by the plaintiff.
The distinction arose in England where there were separate courts of law and of equity. Following this pattern in America some states created "chancery courts" dealing with equitable relief only. In other states, the courts of common law were empowered to exercise equity jurisdiction. Separate courts of chancery have largely been abolished and the same court that may fashion a legal remedy has the power to prescribe an equitable one.
Maxims:Court of Equity
Courts that handle lawsuits requesting remedies other than monetary damages, such as writs, injunctions, and specific performance. Such courts existed, separate from courts of law, under English common law and in several states. Federal bankruptcy courts are an example of courts that continue to operate as courts of equity. Compare: court of law
Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, Georges Ripert, 1949Equity acts upon the person.
Equity follows the law.
Natural equity or good faith do no allow us to demand twice the payment of the same thing.
A good judge decides according to justice and right, and prefers equity to strict law.
Equality is equity.
Equity suffers not a right without a remedy.
Equity looks upon that as done, which ought to be done.
He who has committed iniquity, shall not have equity.
He who will have equity done to him, must do equity to the same person.
In a fiction of law, equity always subsists.
In all affairs, and principally in those which concern the administration of justice, the rules of equity ought to be followed.
"Confronted with such a tight regulation, can man pretend to be free because the tyranny he is subjected to derives from the law? Of course, the legal power is not called "tyranny" since it appears to be established by the general will in the common interest, and since, in any event, occurrences of arbitrary power are infrequent. But a master's equity does not mean that his subjects are not slaves. ... And when their servitude lasts and their thoughts follow their behavior, the state becomes totalitarian and subjection is complete. Since it is legal servitude, the regime is still said to be democratic. Such is the hypocrisy of political language."
For further research, read:
Principles of Equity, Lord Kames, 1760
This discussion of equity on TLP, including links for suggested reading.