Deuteronomy 23:20
Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
23:15-25 It is honourable to shelter and protect the weak, provided they are not wicked. Proselytes and converts to the truth, should be treated with particular tenderness, that they may have no temptation to return to the world. We cannot honour God with our substance, unless it be honestly and honourably come by. It must not only be considered what we give, but how we got it. Where the borrower gets, or hopes to get, it is just that the lender should share the gain; but to him that borrows for necessary food, pity must be showed. That which is gone out of thy lips, as a solemn and deliberate vow, must not be recalled, but thou shalt keep and perform it punctually and fully. They were allowed to pluck and eat of the corn or grapes that grew by the road side; only they must not carry any away. This law intimated what great plenty of corn and wine they should have in Canaan. It provided for the support of poor travellers, and teaches us to be kind to such, teaches us to be ready to distribute, and not to think every thing lost that is given away. Yet it forbids us to abuse the kindness of friends, or to take advantage of what is allowed. Faithfulness to their engagements should mark the people of God; and they should never encroach upon others.Another Gentile practice, connected with the one alluded to in the preceding verse, is here forbidden. The word "dog" is figurative (compare Revelation 22:15), and equivalent to the "sodomite" of the verse preceding. 19, 20. Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother … Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury—The Israelites lived in a simple state of society, and hence they were encouraged to lend to each other in a friendly way without any hope of gain. But the case was different with foreigners, who, engaged in trade and commerce, borrowed to enlarge their capital, and might reasonably be expected to pay interest on their loans. Besides, the distinction was admirably conducive to keeping the Israelites separate from the rest of the world. Unto a stranger, i.e. to a person of any other nation, for so that word is generally used, and therefore they who restrain it to the cursed Canaanitish nations seem to do so without any solid or sufficient grounds. And though the word

brother is ofttimes used in a general sense for every man, yet I think I may affirm that wheresoever the words brother and stranger are opposed in the Jewish law, the brother signifies the Israelite only, and the stranger signifies any person of what nation or religion soever, whether proselyted to the Jewish religion or not, and so it seems to be meant here. And the reason why usury is permitted to a stranger, not to an Israelite, may seem to be this, because the Israelites generally employed themselves in the management of land and cattle, and therefore could not make any advantage of borrowed money to balance the use they should pay for it; and consequently it may be presumed that they would not borrow money upon use, but for want and poverty, and in that case, and principally for that reason, usury seems to be forbidden to them, as may be thought from Leviticus 25:35,36. But the strangers made use of their money in way of trade and traffic with the Israelites, which was more gainful, and could much better bear the burden of usury, and reap advantage from money so borrowed; and these strangers here spoken of are supposed to be competently rich, and not poor, as may plainly appear by comparing this place with Leviticus 25:35,36, where they are no less forbidden to take usury of a stranger than of a brother, in case of poverty.

Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury,.... To any Gentile, though some Jewish writers except the Edomites and Ishmaelites, as being brethren, and restrain it to the seven nations of Canaan; but it seems to design one that was not an Israelite, or a proselyte of righteousness, and especially to regard such that traded and merchandised, as the Gentiles very much did, and especially their neighbours the Phoenicians; and of such it was lawful to take interest, as it was but reasonable, when they gained much by the money they lent them, and as it is but reasonable should be the case among Christians in such circumstances; this is to be regarded not as a precept, but as a permission:

but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury; which is repeated, that it might be taken notice of, and carefully observed:

that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto, in the land whither thou goest to possess it; for their charity, humanity, and the kind usage of their poor brethren in distress, would not pass unnoticed by the Lord; but he would make the land they tilled fruitful, and their vineyards and oliveyards to produce abundance, and their flocks and their herds to increase greatly, which would be sufficient and more than a recompence for all that they had freely lent unto their brethren, without taking any usury of them.

Unto a {k} stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may {l} bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

(k) This was permitted for a time because of the hardness of their hearts.

(l) If you show charity to your brother, God will declare his love toward you.









Deuteronomy 23:19
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