Justice vs righteousness

Is it justice or righteousness? Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the two terms:

Righteousness
1 acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin;
2 morally right or justifiable.

Justice
1 the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity;
2 the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1): the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action;
3 conformity to truth, fact, or reason.

Both terms seem to be used interchangeably, depending on the translation. Justice comes from the Latin term “justitia” and righteousness comes from the Old English term “rihtwīs” or rightwise. The term “justice” has a tone of judgment or criminal law; whereas, “righteousness” does not.

E.g., in Isaiah 51:8, Catholic translations (NJB, NAB, and Douay-Rheims) tends to use “justice”. The other translations (NRSV, ESV, TNIV, HCSB, and NASB) tend to use “righteousness”. Which term is more correct? Or are they both equally correct?

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

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