|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-20 The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to have been under the old covenant of works, or the new covenant of grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer; and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of believers. All souls are in the hand of the great Creator: he will deal with them in justice or mercy; nor will any perish for the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of death for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if God deal with us according to his holy law; but we are invited to come to Christ. If a man who had shown his faith by his works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape the Divine vengeance on account of his father's piety? Surely not. And should a wicked man have a son who walked before God as righteous, this man would not perish for his father's sins. If the son was not free from evils in this life, still he should be partaker of salvation. The question here is not about the meritorious ground of justification, but about the Lord's dealings with the righteous and the wicked.
Verse 8. - He that hath not given forth his money upon usury. The word "usury," we must remember, is used, not, as with us, for exorbitant interest above the market rate, but for interest of any kind. This was allowed in commercial dealings with foreigners (Deuteronomy 23:20), but was altogether forbidden in the case of loans to Israelites (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35, 37; Deuteronomy 23:19: Isaiah 24:2). The principle implied in this distinction was that, although it was, on strict principles of justice, allowable to charge for the use of money, as for the use of lands or the hire of cattle, Israel, as a people, was under the higher law of brotherhood. If money was to be lent at all, it was to be lent as to a brother in went (Matthew 5:42; Luke 6:35), for the relief of his necessities, and not to make profit. A brother who would not help a brother by a loan without interest was thought unworthy of the name. The ideal of the social polity of Israel was that it was to consist of a population of small freeholders, bound together by ties of mutual help - a national friendly society, rather than of traders and manufacturers; and hence the whole drift of its legislation tended to repress the money making spirit which afterwards became specially characteristic of its people, and ate like a canker into its life. The distinction between the two words seems to be that "usury" represents any interest on money; and "increase," any profit on the sale of goods beyond the cost of production, as measured by the maintenance of the worker and his family. To buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest was not to be the rule in a nation of brothers, and it was wiser to forbid it altogether rather than to sanction what we call a "reasonable rate" of interest or profit. Hath executed true judgment. The last special feature in the description of the righteous man is that he is free from the judicial corruption which has always been the ineradicable evil of Eastern social life (1 Samuel 8:3; 1 Samuel 12:3; Amos 5:12; Isaiah 33:15).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that hath not given forth upon usury,.... Money, victuals, or any other thing, which was forbidden the Jews to take of their brethren, though they might of strangers, Deuteronomy 23:19;
neither hath taken any increase: or interest; or rather something over and above the interest money or use, as a gratuity for lending it upon the said interest:
that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity; not only that now mentioned, but all others; who, having inadvertently engaged in that which is sinful, as soon as it appears to him to be so, gets out of it, and abstains from it as soon as possible:
hath executed true judgment between man and man; whether in office as a judge, who sits on the bench for that purpose; or as an arbitrator chosen to decide matters in controversy between one man and another, and that does everything just and right between man and man.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. usury—literally, "biting." The law forbade the Jew to take interest from brethren but permitted him to do so from a foreigner (Ex 22:25; De 23:19, 20; Ne 5:7; Ps 15:5). The letter of the law was restricted to the Jewish polity, and is not binding now; and indeed the principle of taking interest was even then sanctioned, by its being allowed in the case of a foreigner. The spirit of the law still binds us, that we are not to take advantage of our neighbor's necessities to enrich ourselves, but be satisfied with moderate, or even no, interest, in the case of the needy.
increase—in the case of other kinds of wealth; as "usury" refers to money (Le 25:36).
withdrawn … hand, &c.—Where he has the opportunity and might find a plausible plea for promoting his own gain at the cost of a wrong to his neighbor, he keeps back his hand from what selfishness prompts.
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