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Bible Dictionaries

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Wages

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Wages. The earliest mention of wages is of a recompense, not in money, but in kind, to Jacob from Laban. Genesis 29:15; Genesis 29:20; Genesis 30:28; Genesis 31:7-8; Genesis 31:41. In Egypt, money payments by way of wages were in use, but the terms cannot now be ascertained. Exodus 2:9.

The only mention of the rate of wages in Scripture is found in the parable of the householder and the vineyard, Matthew 20:2, where the laborer's wages was set at one denarius per day, probably 15 to 17 cents, a sum which may be fairly taken as equivalent to the denarius, and to the usual pay of a soldier, (ten asses per diem), in the later days of the Roman republic. Tac. Ann. i. 17; Polyb. Vi. 39.

In earlier times, it is probable that the rate was lower; but it is likely that laborers, and also soldiers, were supplied with provisions. The law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages. Leviticus 19:13; Leviticus 24:14-15. The employer who refused to give his laborers sufficient victuals is censured Job 22:11 and the iniquity of withholding wages is denounced. Jeremiah 22:13; Malachi 3:5; James 6:4.

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Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Wages'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/sbd/w/wages.html. 1901.

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