du'-ti (dabhar; opheilo): The word duty occurs only three times in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. In the Old Testament it is the translation of dabhar, which, meaning originally "speech," or "word," came to denote any particular "matter" that had to be attended to. In the two places where it is rendered "duty" (2Ch 8:14; Ezr 3:4) the reference is to the performance of the Temple services--praise and sacrifice--and it is probably from these passages that the phrase "taking duty" in church services is derived. In other passages we have different words employed to denote the priests' dues: the King James Version Le 10:13-14, hok ("statutory portion"); De 18:3, mishpat ("judgment"). In Pr 3:27, we have a reference to duty in the moral sense, "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due," ba`-al (i.e. as in the King James Version margin, "from the owners thereof"). In Ex 21:10 we have the "duty of marriage" (`onah), that which was due to the wife.
In the New Testament "duty" is expressed by opheilo, "to owe," "to be due." In Lu 17:10, we have "Say, ... we have done that which it was our duty to do," and in Ro 15:27 the King James Version, it is said of the Gentiles with reference to the Jewish Christians, "Their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things," the American Standard Revised Version "they owe it." In Mt 18:34 we have "till he should pay all that was due" (opheilo, "owing"), and in 1Co 7:3 the King James Version, "Render unto the wife due opheile benevolence," the American Standard Revised Version "her due."
See also ETHICS.
W. L. Walker