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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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On the general subject, as a matter of law or precept, see Loan.

In Exodus 12:35, we are told that the Israelites, when on the point of their departure from Egypt, 'borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment;' and it is added, that 'the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.' This was in pursuance of a Divine command which had been given to them through Moses (Exodus 3:22; Exodus 11:2). This has suggested a difficulty, seeing that the Israelites had certainly no intention to return to Egypt, or to restore the valuables which they thus obtained from their Egyptian 'neighbors.' The general acceptation of the word rendered borrow is to request or demand, and some have affirmed that it should be so rendered here—that the Israelites did not borrow the valuables, but demanded them of their Egyptian neighbors, as an indemnity for their services, and for the hard and bitter bondage which they had endured. To this it has been objected, that the Israelites had been public servants, rendering certain onerous services to the state, but not in personal bondage to individual Egyptians, whom, nevertheless, they, according to this account, mulcted of much valuable property in compensation for wrongs committed by the state. And that this mode of extorting private and partial compensation for public wrong will not stand the test of our rules of public morality, any more than that of borrowing without the intention to restore. Others are inclined to adhere to the old interpretation, that the Israelites actually did borrow the valuables of the Egyptians, with the understanding, on the part of the latter, that they were to be restored. Turn which way we will in this matter, there is but a choice of difficulties; and this leads us to suspect that we are not acquainted with all the facts bearing on the case, in the absence of which we spend our strength for nought in laboring to explain it. One of the difficulties is somewhat softened by the conjecture of Professor Bush, who, in his Note on Exodus 11:2, observes, 'We are by no means satisfied that Moses was required to command the people to practice the device here mentioned. We regard it rather, as far as they were concerned, as the mere prediction of a fact that should occur.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Borrowing'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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