4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Loan


The Mosaic law required that when an Israelite needed to borrow, what he asked was to be freely lent to him, and no interest was to be charged, although interest might be taken of a foreigner (Ex 22:25; De 23:19-20; Le 25:35-38). At the end of seven years all debts were remitted. Of a foreigner the loan might, however, be exacted. At a later period of the Hebrew commonwealth, when commerce increased, the practice of exacting usury or interest on loans, and of suretiship in the commercial sense, grew up. Yet the exaction of it from a Hebrew was regarded as discreditable (Ps 15:5; Pr 6:1,4; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13; Jer 15:10).

Limitations are prescribed by the law to the taking of a pledge from the borrower. The outer garment in which a man slept at night, if taken in pledge, was to be returned before sunset (Ex 22:26-27; De 24:12-13). A widow's garment (De 24:17) and a millstone (6) could not be taken. A creditor could not enter the house to reclaim a pledge, but must remain outside till the borrower brought it (De 24:10-11). The Hebrew debtor could not be retained in bondage longer than the seventh year, or at farthest the year of jubilee (Ex 21:2; Le 25:39,42), but foreign sojourners were to be "bondmen for ever" (Le 25:44-54).

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(See USURY.) The merciful character of Moses' law appears in the command not to keep the poor man's outer garment, his covering by night as well as day, after sunset (Ex 22:26-27; De 24:6,10-13,17; compare, however, Pr 22:27). The millstone, including all instruments necessary to life, and a widow's garment, were forbidden to be taken. The creditor must not enter the debtor's house to seize the pledge, but wait for the debtor to bring out an adequate security for payment.

The debtor could be held as a bondman only until the seventh year, i.e. for six years, and not beyond the Jubilee year, whatever his period of service might be (Ex 21:2). Then he must be sent away with a liberal supply of provisions, the prospect of such a gift doubtless stimulating zeal in service (De 15:12-18; Le 25:39-55); his land was to be restored. But foreign slaves might be held in continual servitude (2Ki 4:1; Isa 50:1; 52:3). The Roman or else the oriental law detaining the debtor in prison until he paid the uttermost farthing, and even giving him over to torturers, is alluded to in Mt 5:26; 18:34.

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The law strictly forbade any interest to be taken for a loan to any poor person, and at first, as it seems, even in the case of a foreigner; but this prohibition was afterward limited to Hebrews only, from whom, of whatever rank, not only was no usury on any pretence to be exacted, but relief to the poor by way of loan was enjoined, and excuses for evading this duty were forbidden.

Ex 22:25; Le 25:35,37

As commerce increased, the practice of usury, and so also of suretyship, grew up; but the exaction of it from a Hebrew appears to have been regarded to a late period as discreditable.

Ps 15:5; Pr 6:1,4; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26; Jer 15:10; Eze 18:13

Systematic breach of the law in this respect was corrected by Nehemiah after the return from captivity.

Ne 5:1,13

The money-changers, who had seats and tables in the temple, where traders whose profits arose chiefly from the exchange of money with those who came to pay their annual half-shekel. The Jewish law did not forbid temporary bondage in the case of debtors, but it forbade a Hebrew debtor to be detained as a bondman longer than the seventh year, or at farthest the year of jubilee.

Ex 21:2; Le 25:39,42; De 15:9

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