Leviticus 25:36
Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
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(36) Take thou no usury of him, or increase.—The first thing to be done to the impoverished Israelite is to supply him with the means to recover himself without any interest. The authorities during the second Temple defined the words which are translated “usury” (nesheck) and “increase” (tarbith, or marbith) as follows: If a person lends to another a shekel worth four denarii, and gets in return five denarii, or if he lends him two sacks of wheat, and receives back three, this is usury. If one buys wheat for delivery at the market price of 25 denarii a measure, and when it rises to 30 denarii he says to the vendor, “Deliver me the wheat, for I want to sell it and buy wine,” and the vendor replies,” I will take the wheat at 30 denarii and give thee wine for it,” though he has no wine, this is increase. The “increase” lies in the fact that the vendor has no wine at the time, and that he may possibly lose again by the rise in wine. Accordingly the former is a charge upon money, whilst the latter is on products.

Leviticus 25:36. Take no usury of him — That is, of thy brother, whether he be Israelite or proselyte. Or increase — All kinds of usury are in this case forbidden, whether of money, or of victuals, or of any thing that is commonly lent by one man to another upon usury, or upon condition of receiving the thing lent with advantage and overplus. If one borrow in his necessity, there can be no doubt this law is binding still. But it cannot be thought to bind where money is borrowed for purchase of lands, trade, or other improvements. For there it is reasonable that the lender should share with the borrower in the profit.

25:35-38 Poverty and decay are great grievances, and very common; the poor ye have always with you. Thou shalt relieve him; by sympathy, pitying the poor; by service, doing for them; and by supply, giving to them according to their necessity, and thine ability. Poor debtors must not be oppressed. Observe the arguments here used against extortion: Fear thy God. Relieve the poor, that they may live with thee; for they may be serviceable to thee. The rich can as ill spare the poor, as the poor can the rich. It becomes those that have received mercy to show mercy.Rather, And if thy brother (an Israelite) becomes poor and falls into decay with thee, thou shalt assist him and let him live with thee like a resident foreigner. He was not to be regarded as an outcast, but was to be treated with the same respect and consideration as a resident foreigner who, like him, could possess no land, but could accumulate property and live in comfort as a free man. See Leviticus 16:29 note. 35-38. if thy brother be waxen poor, … relieve him—This was a most benevolent provision for the poor and unfortunate, designed to aid them or alleviate the evils of their condition. Whether a native Israelite or a mere sojourner, his richer neighbor was required to give him food, lodging, and a supply of money without usury. Usury was severely condemned (Ps 15:5; Eze 18:8, 17), but the prohibition cannot be considered as applicable to the modern practice of men in business, borrowing and lending at legal rates of interest. i.e. Of thy brother, whether he be Israelite or proselyte.

Increase: this some conceive relates to the fruits of the earth, food, &c., as usury doth to money. But here may rather seem’ to be two words expressing the same thing,

(1.) To meet with the subtle evasions of crafty and covetous men, who made gain of their poor brethren (for of such only he speaks here, as is evident from Leviticus 25:35) by the lending of money or other things; and that they may quiet their consciences, and palliate their sin, they disguise it under other names; and,

(2.) To show that all kinds of usury are in this case forbidden, whether of money, or of victuals, or of any thing that is commonly lent by one man to another upon usury, or upon condition of receiving the thing lent with advantage and overplus, as it is said Deu 23:19.

Take thou no usury of him, or increase,.... Not only give him somewhat for his present relief, but lend him money to put him in a way of business, to get his living for the future, without requiring any interest for it; See Gill on Exodus 22:25,

but fear thy God; who has given this command, and expects to be obeyed; and who is good, and does good, and should be feared for his goodness' sake; and is omniscient, and knows what is secretly exacted, and will not suffer any exorbitance of this kind to pass unpunished:

that thy brother may live with thee; which it would be still more difficult for him to do, should usury and increase be taken of him.

Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
36. usury … increase] The former was interest on money, the latter on food stuffs and paid in kind. For the important part played by such transactions in Babylonia see Johns, Bab. and Assyr. Laws, ch. 23, p. 253.

Leviticus 25:36If he borrowed money, they were not to demand interest; or if food, they were not to demand any addition, any larger quantity, when it was returned (cf. Exodus 22:24; Deuteronomy 23:20-21), from fear of God, who had redeemed Israel out of bondage, to give them the land of Canaan. In Leviticus 25:37 וחי is an abbreviation of וחי, which only occurs here. - From Leviticus 25:39 onwards there follow the laws relating to the bondage of the Israelite, who had been obliged to sell himself from poverty. Leviticus 25:36-46 relate to his service in bondage to an (other) Israelite. The man to whom he had sold himself as servant was not to have slave-labour performed by him (Exodus 1:14), but to keep him as a day-labourer and sojourner, and let him serve with him till the year of jubilee. He was then to go out free with his children, and return to his family and the possession of his fathers (his patrimony). This regulation is a supplement to the laws relating to the rights of Israel (Exodus 21:2-6), though without a contradiction arising, as Knobel maintains, between the different rules laid down. In Exodus 21 nothing at all is determined respecting the treatment of an Israelitish servant; it is simply stated that in the seventh year of his service he was to recover his liberty. This limit is not mentioned here, because the chapter before us simply treats of the influence of the year of jubilee upon the bondage of the Israelites. On this point it is decided, that the year of jubilee was to bring freedom even to the Israelite who had been brought into slavery by his poverty, - of course only to the man who was still in slavery when it commenced and had not served seven full years, provided, that is to say, that he had not renounced his claim to be set free at the end of his seven years' service, according to Exodus 21:5-6. We have no right to expect this exception to be expressly mentioned here, because it did not interfere with the idea of the year of jubilee. For whoever voluntarily renounced the claim to be set free, whether because the year of jubilee was still so far off that he did not expect to live to see it, or because he had found a better lot with his master than he could secure for himself in a state of freedom, had thereby made a voluntary renunciation of the liberty which the year of jubilee might have brought to him (see Oehler's art. in Herzog's Cycl., where the different views on this subject are given).
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