Nearly forty times in the Old Testament the Hebrew word yāthom (the root word means “to be lonely”) is translated “fatherless,” as in Psalm 68:5. Though forgotten by others, the fatherless and widows aren’t overlooked by God. The social responsibility of God’s people included sensitivity to care for them. The first place in Scripture that explicitly points this out is Exodus 22:22–23: “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.”
The words of James in the New Testament also reveal God’s heart for them: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). God’s people of any era are to be His caregiving agents to those on the margins.