Take you no usury of him, or increase: but fear your God; that your brother may live with you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.Leviticus 16:29 note.
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. 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:Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 25:29, Leviticus 25:30. On the sale of a dwelling-house in a wall-town (a town surrounded by a wall) there was to be redemption till the completion of the year of its purchase. ימים, "days (i.e., a definite period) shall its redemption be;" that is to say, the right of redemption or repurchase should be retained. If it was not redeemed within the year, it remained to the buyer for ever for his descendants, and did not go out free in the year of jubilee. קם to arise for a possession, i.e., to become a fixed standing possession, as in Genesis 23:17. לא אשׁר for לו אשׁר as in Leviticus 11:21 (see at Exodus 21:8). This law is founded upon the assumption, that the houses in unwalled towns are not so closely connected with the ownership of the land, as that the alienation of the houses would alter the portion originally assigned to each family for a possession. Having been built by men, they belonged to their owners in full possession, whether they had received them just as they were at the conquest of the land, or had erected them for themselves. This last point of view, however, was altogether a subordinate one; for in the case of "the houses of the villages" (i.e., farm-buildings and villages, see Joshua 13:23, etc.), which had no walls round them, it was not taken into consideration at all.
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