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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Leviticus 19:13

`You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The wages - shall not abide with thee all night - For this plain reason, it is the support of the man's life and family, and they need to expend it as fast as it is earned.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/leviticus-19.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Leviticus 19:13

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour.

Against fraud

I. The purchaser is guilty of fraud when he makes use of falsehood or low cunning to diminish the value of any commodity in the estimation of its proprietor. He likewise defrauds his neighbour when he takes advantage of his ignorance to obtain anything for less than its real value; when he receives any part of his property and applies it to his own use, without being careful to make him the equitable return, at the time when he may reasonably expect it; and lastly, when he makes that wise and merciful institution of the legislature, which was only intended for the security of those whom misfortune hath rendered incapable of answering the demands of equity, a protection for extravagance and knavery.

2. The seller defrauds his neighbour when he takes advantage of the ignorance or mistakes of the purchaser, or makes use of arts to impose upon his judgment.

3. The master, or he who employs labourers under him for hire, acts a dishonest part when he lays upon them burdens too heavy to be borne; when he requires harder or longer labour from them than was at first agreed upon, without making them a proportionable acknowledgment; or when he deprives them of their wages, or withholds them beyond a reasonable time.

4. The labourer, or servant, acts contrary to the rules of equity, and defrauds his neighbour when, without good reason, he quits the business he hath undertaken and leaves his master in difficulty; when he performs his engagements in a negligent and defective manner; or when he takes advantage of the confidence which his master hath placed in him, to embezzle or injure his property. I proceed to lay before you the principal argument, to guard you against all the low arts of fraud and deceit, and to enforce the observance of the strictest honour and most perfect equity in your dealings.

I. And, in the first place, let it be considered that the observance of the injunction of the text is of the highest importance to the welfare of society. What would be the consequence if injustice and knavery were daily to gain ground in the world, and at last to become universally prevalent? surely nothing less than universal confusion and wretchedness. On the contrary, were all unrighteousness and deceit banished from the earth, what a long train of evils would take their flight with them I what uninterrupted peace and harmony, what perfect satisfaction and happiness would ensue!

II. But it may be observed, farther, that the virtue of honesty is of essential importance to the happiness of individuals. The honest man is most secure from disappointment in business, and has the fairest prospect of success in his undertakings. It often happens that the artful and designing knave is discovered, and his schemes of iniquity are blasted, before he hath accomplished his purpose. After much care and labour, and many fears and anxieties, he may very possibly betray himself and frustrate his own designs. But the honest man pursues the plain and beaten path of diligence, prudence and integrity, till he gradually obtains a competence which he can behold with satisfaction and enjoy with pleasure. Honesty is likewise the best guard of our reputation. Let two men be in every other respect equal; if the one have the character of an upright and good man, and the other be deemed treacherous and fraudulent, it will be no difficult thing to determine which will be generally espoused, employed and assisted, and which will be treated with neglect and contempt. The honest man likewise enjoys the continual happiness of being satisfied from himself. If he enjoys an abundance of the good things of life, he hath the happiness to reflect that it is the fruit of his honest industry and the blessing of heaven. Or if he meets with disappointment and trouble, he hath this for his consolation, that “they have not befallen him for any iniquity in his hands”; and can triumph, if not in the success of his undertakings, in the innocence of his life. Let it be remembered, in the last place, that all injustice and fraud are highly displeasing to the Almighty, and that uprightness and honour will always be acceptable in His sight. (W. Enfield.)

Unjust dealing repudiated

A customer of Messrs. Thomas Adams and Co., of Nottingham, from whom they were in the habit of receiving considerable orders, requested that besides Thomas Adams and Co’s ticket, the firm would affix the ticket of this customer, marked with a larger number of yards than was really in the piece. Pressure having been put on some of the salesmen, the thing had actually been done a few times, when it was brought under the notice of Mr. Adams. At that period trade was exceedingly bad, and orders scarce, yet, as soon as he was apprised of the facts, he holdly declared to his customer that he could be no party to a transaction so unjust, and that such misleading tickets could not again be affixed to goods going forth from his warehouse. The customer was exceedingly angry at this practical rebuke of his injustice, and withdrew all his orders immediately. After a time, however, he reopened the account on a scale as large as ever, and was content to deal with Mr. Adams on his own terms. (H. A. Page.)

Sad result of an unpaid bill

A wealthy banker, who is noted for his large subscriptions to charities, and for his kindly habits of private benevolence, was called on by his pastor, one evening, and asked to go with him to the help of a man who had attempted suicide. They found the man in a wretched house, in an alley not far from the banker’s dwelling. The front room was a cobbler’s shop; behind it, on a miserable bed, in the kitchen, lay the poor shoemaker, with a gaping gash in his throat, while his wife and children were gathered about him. “We have been without food for days,” said the woman, when he returned. “It is not my husband’s fault. He is a hard-working, sober man. But he could neither get work, nor pay for that which he had done. To-day he went for the last time to collect a debt due to him by a rich family, but the gentleman was not at home. My husband was weak from fasting, and seeing us starving drove him mad. So it ended that way,” turning to the fainting, motionless figure on the bed. The banker, having fed and warmed the family, hurried home, opened his desk and took out a file of little bills. All his large debts were promptly met, but he was apt to be careless about the accounts of milk, bread, &c., because they were so petty. He found there a bill of Michael Goodlow’s for repairing children’s shoes, £2. Michael Goodlow was the suicide. It was the banker’s unpaid debt which had brought these people to the verge of the grave, and driven this man to desperation, while, at the very time, the banker had given away hundreds in charity. The cobbler recovered, and will never want a friend while the banker lives, nor will a small unpaid bill ever again be found on the banker’s table. No man has a right to be generous until his debts are paid; and the most efficient use of money is not alone in almsgiving, but to pay liberally and promptly the people whom we employ.

The wages of him that is hired.

Fairness to hired labourers

I. Work is a just basis for an equitable claim. Therefore it should be paid for, not patronisingly, nor grudgingly, but as a due. The labourer has given you his time, strength, ability, and ingenuity; he has a right to an equivalent from you, and should not be treated ignominiously, but respectfully, in asking a just return.

II. Wages cannot righteously re deferred after work is done. During a day of toil the labourer has put his capital into your service, spent his life for that period for your advantage and gain. You are to that extent his debtor; to detain his wages is to make yourself more his debtor, and delay in payment should be compensated with increment. “Short reckonings make long friends.”

III. Masters should study the position and comfort of those they employ. A poor man has no capital, wants prompt settlement; he lives day by day upon his hard earnings. His strength--expended by the day’s toil--must be replenished for the morrow’s work. To hold back the means for his nourishment is to rob him of the morrow’s capital, his replenished energy. And he may have dependants in his lowly home waiting to share in the earnings of the day. Hold not back his dues “all night until the morning,” lest your inconsiderateness inflict privation and embitter poverty (Deuteronomy 24:14-15; Jeremiah 32:13; Malachi 3:5; James 5:4). (W. H. Jellie.)

God’s consideration for hired labourers

What tender care is here! The High and Mighty One that inhabiteth eternity can take knowledge of the thoughts and feelings that spring up in the heart of a poor labourer. He knows and takes into account the expectations of such an one in reference to the fruit of his day’s toil. The wages will, naturally, be looked for. The labourer’s heart counts upon them; the family meal depends upon them. Oh I let them not be held back. Send not the labourer home with a heavy heart, to make the heart of his wife and family heavy likewise. By all means give him that for which he has wrought, to which he has a right, and on which his heart is set. Thus does our God take notice of the very throbbings of the labourer’s heart, and make provision for his rising expectations. Precious grace! Most tender, thoughtful, touching, condescending love! The bare contemplation of such statutes is sufficient to throw one into a flood of tenderness. Could any one read them and thoughtlessly dismiss a poor labourer, not knowing whether he and his family have wherewithal to meet the cravings of hunger? (C. H. Mackintosh.)

Debt forbidden

Far from defrauding, or withholding what is due to thy neighbour, thou shalt not even delay giving him what he is entitled to. This precept is directly pointed against incurring debt. Fraudulent bankruptcies, and pretexts for withholding payments, are condemned by it; but remaining in debt to any one is also pointedly condemned. “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” In James 5:4, this is spoken of as a sin of the last days. (A. A. Bonar)
.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Leviticus 19:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/leviticus-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him,.... Not defraud him secretly, nor rob him openly and by force, as Aben Ezra; not defraud him in buying and selling, in retaining wages due to him, and refusing to return to him what has been committed to trust, or to repay him what has been borrowed of him: the Vulgate Latin is, "thou shall not calumniate him", or get anything from him, by raising a calumny upon him; nor rob him by coming into his house, or entering into his fields, and taking away his goods, or his cattle without his will, and in a forcible manner; or by meeting him on the highway and demanding his money, and taking it from him:

the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning; unless he that is hired agrees to it; for then it may be kept two or three days, or a week, or for whatsoever time may be agreed upon between them: this must be understood of one that is hired by the day, whose wages are due at night, and who may want his money to buy food for his family, and therefore should not without his consent be detained from him; and not of one that is hired by the week, or by the year, whose wages are not due until the end of the week or year for which he is hired; and the Jewish writersF25Vid. Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 11. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. Jarchi & Ben Gersom in loc. observe, that this Scripture speaks of a day hireling, or a day labourer, whose wages became due at night; as another Scripture, Deuteronomy 24:15; speaks of a night hireling, or a night labourer, whose hire is not due until the pillar of the morning arises, or the sun is up, and therefore it must be paid him before it goes down; to detain the wages of such, or defraud them of it, is a very crying sin; see Jeremiah 22:13.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/leviticus-19.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Leviticus 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob [him]: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Ver. 13. The wages of him that is hired.] This is a crying sin, [James 5:3] condemned by the very light of nature. Plato (a) would have him double paid that is not paid in due time.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/leviticus-19.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Leviticus 19:13. The wages of him that is hired This, with the law in the following verse, as well as several others in this chapter, particularly those in the 32nd and 33rd verses, confirm what we have remarked in the note on Leviticus 19:9. See more respecting this law in Deuteronomy 24:15.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/leviticus-19.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The wages, Heb. the work, put for the wages, as Deuteronomy 24:15 Job 7:2 Jeremiah 22:13. Shall not abide with thee all night, because his urgent necessities require it for present subsistence.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/leviticus-19.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. Not defraud thy neighbour — This prohibition of fraud is not practically neutralized, as some assent, by the spoiling of the Egyptians by borrowing their jewels, since the borrowing was simply asking for a parting gift. See Exodus 3:22, note.

The wages… all night — This is a merciful protection of the labouring class, many of whom had so narrow a margin between themselves and starvation, that the detention of their wages for even a few hours might produce great suffering. According to the Mishna, the proper time for demanding wages is, for the day labourer, the whole of the night, for the night labourer, the whole of the following day. In a suit for wages the plaintiff must prove that his demand was made at the right time. There was in Mosaism no servant without wages, either paid beforehand, for a term of years, or paid daily, if hired by the day, or annually, as the case might be. Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:53; Malachi 3:5; James 5:4. It is evident that God is not favourably disposed toward the modern credit system, with its periodical earthquakes engulfing labour in ruin.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/leviticus-19.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Morning. Pay what is due to the labourer, immediately, if he desire it. (Haydock) --- It was customary among the Jews to pay their workmen in the evening, Matthew xx. 8.


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/leviticus-19.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the. Some codices, with Samaritan Pentateuch, The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel and Septuagint, read "and the".

wages. Hebrew "work". Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for wages earned by it. Note the Divine care for the labourer (Deuteronomy 24:14, Deuteronomy 24:15. Jeremiah 22:13. Malachi 3:5. James 5:4).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/leviticus-19.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) Thou shalt not defraud.—Here oppression by fraud and oppression by violence are forbidden. It is probably in allusion to this passage that John the Baptist warned the soldiers who came to him: “And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14).

The wages of him that is hired.—From the declaration in the next clause, which forbids the retention of the wages over night, it is evident that the day labourer is here spoken of. As he is dependent upon his wages for the support of himself and his family, the Law protects him by enjoining that the earnings of the hireling should be promptly paid. This benign care for the labourer, and the denunciation against any attempt to defraud him, are again and again repeated in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 24:14-15; Jeremiah 32:13; Malachi 3:5; James 5:4). Hence the humane interpretation which obtained of this law during the second Temple: “He who treats a hireling with harshness sins as grievously as if he hath taken away life, and transgresses five precepts.”


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/leviticus-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
shalt not
Proverbs 20:10; 22:22; Jeremiah 22:3; Ezekiel 22:29; Mark 10:19; Luke 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:6
the wages
Deuteronomy 24:14,15; Job 31:39; Jeremiah 22:13; Malachi 3:5; James 5:4

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/leviticus-19.html.

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