On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 23, Lesson 4

Sorry, but time prohibits correcting the grammar in these lessons, Pastor Ovid Need


Now, Moses presents another major Bible principle of life. He enters into the subject of usury. To take these two verses by themselves can lead to misunderstanding this principle. To help us understand this a little better, let's look at some other passages.

1. Verses 19-20, seems to prohibit any interest (usury) at all from money lent to a brother (fellow member of the faith). Ex. 22:25-27; Lev. 25:35-38 and Deut. 24:10-13 identifies this brother who is not to be charged interest. What is there about this person which requires interest free loans be made to him?

a. If you will check, Deut. 24:14 seems to take this further. What is indicated here that the relationship between the lender and the borrower is?

Deut. 23:19-20 is a summary of the above. We see, therefore, that it does not prohibit all charge of interest. There are further restrictions placed upon this interest free loan. The per­son may meet the above qualifications yet still be disqualified from this type of loan.

b. What would disqualify him in II Thess. 3:10

Prov. 6:9; 12:24; 20:4 ____________________________________________________________

This shows us the basic principle here of the forbidding to make a profit from the needs of others, yet, if others are making money from that borrowed money, the lender has every right to expect an honest return.

c. What was forbidden to receive as a pledge, Deut. 24:6?____________________________


d. What was forbidden in 24:15?


e. What was forbidden in 24:10-11?

f. What was forbidden in 24:12, 13?


This protected the dignity of the borrower. This is where we get " a man's house is his castle." The indication is that this brother who was qualified for this loan was "down to" his cloak. This cloak, being his sleeping garment, could not be kept overnight. There were other pledges taken as we see from 24:10-11.

g. Failure to restore a pledge is compared to what, Deut. 24:7; Ezek. 18:10-13?

In our day of "civil rights" and "equal rights", there are many laws which prevent a believing employer from aiding a believing employee. The state desires to be regarded as the source of all of our needs, therefore takes the necessary steps to force its citizens to look to it.

Scriptures do permit commercial loans at interest. These loans are an investment in a profit making opportunity. The interest repays for the risk involved -- risk of the venture failing or the borrower failing to repay, Ps. 37:21. It also repays for the inflated return on the loan. The money paid back isn't worth as much as was loaned, and then, of course, there is the right to ex­pect a return on the money. This is confirmed in the NT, Matt. 25:27; Lk. 19:23.

2. Another thing regarding these loans. They were to be short term. How long of a term was permitted, Deut. 15:1- 6?


a. If these things are adhered to, what is promised, 15:1-6; 23:20?

3 Who were loans permitted to at interest (these would not need to be "commercial" loans), 23:20?


As we have already seen (chp. 6 etc.) the purpose of God bringing His people out of bondage (Egypt) is so they can have freedom to serve Him, freedom to keep His laws. Therefore, those who have rejected His law have rejected freedom which is provided by His law. Debt is servitude, Prov. 22:7. The purpose of His requirement of debt free living is freedom to serve Him, Rom. 13:8. Those who are trying to do right and serve God will probably have emergencies arise. Provision is made for these through interest free loans, "That there be no poor among you." As those who have share with those who are doing their best to serve God yet have not, God will bless those who have with even more. Even if they lose what they loaned, they are making this "free" loan because God told them to. If the person doesn't repay them, then God will. They are to look to God for their repayment. At the same time, this builds unity among His people.

Yet, in this, God does not even recognize or address consumer loans based upon covetousness. Consumer loans and debts are the result of a slave mentality, a slave to the demands and desires of the flesh. The purpose of His law is to deliver man into freedom under God. Yet, for those who reject this freedom, they have already chosen bondage to sin. Interest free loans will not deliver them from this bondage. The law cannot give freedom to the sinner, only death. The lawbreaker is a man in slavery to his sin. Only the power of God through the Holy Spirit working in them can give this deliverance.

Requirements of interest which separate the godly from their property are clearly unscrip­tural and will result in God's judgment, Ezek. 18:13; 22:12; Neh. 5:1- 13.

We should also mention that debts as well as high interest rates, are a sign of a, "Me and mine, I want it right now" generation concerned about only their personal desires right now. Savings, which will result in lower interest rates, are a sign of concern and interest in the fu­ture. The huge debt of our day, both private and public, shows us that society, as a whole, has lost all vision of the future. The world thinks it is all going to end soon with an A-bomb and developed the thought "Better Red than dead." The "Church" has developed the theory that we will all be gone before anything happens so, "Borrow and spend, we won't have to pay it back". Both of these thoughts have led to a complete sell-out of many generations in the future. We just don't know what the future holds, therefore, we had better lay up for it, Prov. 13:22. What are we leav­ing for our children's children?

History has shown that one of the most fatal steps a society makes before it goes into bondage is consumer debt. This produces a slave mentality which has a difficult time recognizing the loss of their freedom. Consumer debt saps the will to fight for freedom because freedom was already given up to the bankers.

We have two distinctive loans addressed. Investment loans and charity loans. Even our Lord required a reasonable return on the investment loans. Yet, the charity loans (which are to be made only to qualified persons) are to be "freely" made in obedience to God. God will abundantly bless in these. Anything charged in these is usury and is clearly prohibited by God.