I. IN OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS WERE TO LEND TO NEEDY BELIEVERS
If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers . . . you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you (Deuteronomy 15:7-9).
A. THE LENDER WAS BLESSED
It is well with the man who is gracious and lends . . . (Psalm 112:5).
B. NEW TESTAMENT BROADENED THIS OBLIGATION TO INCLUDE THOSE ASKING FOR LOAN
Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:42).
II. NO INTEREST WAS TO BE CHARGED
If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest (Exodus 22:25).
Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter . . . Do not take usurious interest from him . . . You shall not give him your silver at interest . . . (Leviticus 25:35-37).
You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest (Deuteronomy 23:19).
A. EXAMPLE OF VIOLATING THIS LAW
“We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our homes that we might get grain because of the famine.” Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards . . . we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others . . . [Nehemiah] said to them, “You are exacting usury, each against his brother!” Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. And I said to them, “We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” . . . I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine, and the oil that you are exacting from them.” Then they said, “We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say” (Nehemiah 5:3-12).
B. BLESSED IF INTEREST NOT CHARGED
. . . to your countryman you shall not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess (Deuteronomy 23:20).
O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? He who . . . does not put out his money at interest . . . (Psalm 15:1, 5).
“If a man . . . does not lend money on interest . . . he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God . . . [a son] does not . . . take interest or increase, but executes My ordinances, and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father’s iniquity, he will surely live (Ezekiel 18:7-17).
C. CURSED IF INTEREST CHARGED
He who increased his wealth by interest and usury, gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor (Proverbs 28:8).
a violent son who . . . lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death (Ezekiel 18:10, 13).
[rulers of Israel] have taken interest . . . Behold, then, I smite My hand at your dishonest gain . . . (Ezekiel 22:12-13).
‘Woe to him who increases what is not his – for how long – and makes himself rich with loans?’ Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them (Habakkuk 2:6-7).
D. PERMISSIBLE TO CHARGE FOREIGNER INTEREST
You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countryman you shall not charge interest (Deuteronomy 23:20).
III. PLEDGE THAT WAS NECESSITY WAS NOT TO BE TAKEN TO SECURE A LOAN
If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body . . . (Exodus 22:26-27).
No one shall take a handmill or an upper millstone in pledge, for he would be taking a life in pledge . . . When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not enter his house to take his pledge. You shall remain outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you. And if he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge. When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 24:6, 10-13).
You shall not . . . take a widow’s garment in pledge (Deuteronomy 24:17).
A. ACCUSED WRONGFULLY OF VIOLATING THIS LAW
Is not your [Job] wickedness great, and your iniquities without end? For you have taken pledges of your brothers . . . (Job 22:5-6).
B. BLESSED IF NO PLEDGE TAKEN
“If a man . . . restores to the debtor his pledge . . . he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God . . . [a son who does not] retain a pledge . . . will surely live (Ezekiel 18:7, 9, 16-17).
If a wicked man restores a pledge . . . he will surely live; he shall not die (Ezekiel 33:15).
C. CURSED IF SUCH A PLEDGE TAKEN
a violent son who . . . does not restore a pledge . . . He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death . . . (Ezekiel 18:10, 12-13).
Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment . . . on garments taken as pledges they stretch out beside every altar (Amos 2:6, 8).
1. The wicked take such pledges
[the wicked] take the widow’s ox for a pledge . . . against the poor they take a pledge (Job 24:3, 9).
IV. LOAN REPAYMENT WAS NOT TO BE REQUIRED
A. DEBTS FORGIVEN EVERY SEVEN YEARS (see DEBT Section)
B. IN NEW TESTAMENT, LEND EVEN TO ENEMIES EXPECTING NO RETURN
. . . if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High . . . (Luke 6:34-35).