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The grant of temporary use. Because of Israel's experience of deliverance from slavery, her moral code, gave special care to marginal folk (Exodus 22:21-24; Deuteronomy 10:19; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 31:8-9 ). Thus, loans were to be acts of generosity, not acts for profit at the poor's expense (Leviticus 25:35-37 ). Furthermore because the earth was God's (Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:14 ) and human possessions were gifts from God (Deuteronomy 8:1-10 ), lending was sharing God's gifts.

Thus Old Testament forbade charging interest to fellow Israelites (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-38; Deuteronomy 23:19 ), for requesting loans indicated economic hardship. One might charge interest to sojourners (Deuteronomy 23:20 ), though this arrangement was not meant to be exploitative (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34; Deuteronomy 10:19; Ezekiel 22:7 ). Laws for collateral focused on protecting the debtor. The pledge must not threaten the debtor's dignity (Deuteronomy 24:10-11 ), livelihood (Deuteronomy 24:6 ), family (Job 24:1-3 ,Job 24:1-3,24:9 ), or physical necessities (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:12-13 ). Compassionate lending was one measure of a righteous person (Psalm 15:1; Ezekiel 18:5-9 ).

Years of release and the jubilee year (Exodus 23:10-11; Deuteronomy 15:1-15; Leviticus 25:1 ) provided a systematic means for addressing long-term economic hardship by returning family property, freeing slaves, and canceling debts. Deuteronomy 15:7-11 warns against scheming creditors who would refuse loans because a year of release was near; lending was to be an act of generosity ( Deuteronomy 15:10 ). As in most human communities, greed prevailed; and the prophets railed against the exploitation of the poor (e.g., Amos 2:6-8; Amos 8:4 ), including violations of charging interest and abusing pledges (Ezekiel 18:12-13; Ezekiel 22:12; Habakkuk 2:6-9; see Nehemiah 5:6-11 ). See Borrow, Borrowing; Coins; Ethics in the Bible; Jubilee, Year of; Justice; Law; Poor, Widows, Orphans, Levites; Sabbatical Year; Slavery; Stranger

David Nelson Duke

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Loan'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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