Articles‎ > ‎

Interest

By Chuck Henry
chuck.henry@sbcglobal.net
http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com
rev. 7/26/2013

 

 

Table of Contents

Is it wrong to earn interest on the Sabbath, for example, in a savings account?

Lending to Foreigners with Interest

Parable of the Talents

Interest is Figured Over Time

Usury = “Excessive Interest” (?)

Do Not Charge Your Brother Interest – Supporting Scriptures

 

 

 

The thought has been expressed that it might be wrong to collect interest, in a savings account for example, on the basis that the interest accumulates daily, inclusive of the Sabbath. I can certainly appreciate the concern over this.

 

Lending to Foreigners with Interest

 

Consider in Torah, Yahweh approved of lending to foreigners with interest—

 

Deu 23:20

To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that Yahweh your Mighty One may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

 

Parable of the Talents

 

Also consider Yahshua’s remark in the Parable of the Talents—

 

Mat 25:24-27

24 Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.

26 But his master answered and said to him, You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.

27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

 

Luke also recorded the Parable of the Talents—

 

Luke 19:20-24

20 Then another came, saying, Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.

21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.

22 And he said to him, Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.

23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?

24 And he said to those who stood by, Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.

 

Interest is Figured Over Time

 

When interest is collected, it is figured over time. I think we can glean from a similar situation in Scripture where something else was figured over time -- the price of land relative to the Year of Jubilee.

 

Lev 25:14-17

14 And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another.

15 According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you.

16 According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops.

17 Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your Mighty One; for I am Yahweh your Mighty One.

 

If there were more years until the next Year of Jubilee, the price of the land was greater. If there were less years, the price was less. As you can see, this was figured over time. Did they calculate how many Sabbaths would be included during this period of time and then exclude that much time? There were no instructions given to do so. I think we can glean from this scenario that it would work in the same fashion with interest.

 

 

 

Exo 22:25

If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender [KJV: usurer] to him; you shall not charge him interest [KJV: usury].

 

Although, it is common in our day to define usury as “excessive interest,” Scripturally speaking, interest and usury are synonyms. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible states:

 

It should be remembered here that the English term “usury,” in the language of early English translators, was not so pejorative as it sounds today.

 

-- DEBT, DEBTOR, Barrois, G. A., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Abingdon Press, Vol. 1, 1962, p. 809.

 

In other words, in the minds of the early English translators, when they used the term “usury” they evidently were not trying to distinguish between “sinful” and “non-sinful” interest.

 

In modern society, some may suggest that the lender who charges no interest is the one who is being wronged. Actually, to a certain extent, I can sympathize with this thinking. Because of inflation, our money is constantly being devalued, so that, even if we have the same amount of money in our pocket next year as we have today, we don’t have as much! Therefore, to have money lent out with no return means that you are actually losing. However, to say that this should thus circumvent the Scriptural mandate against charging our brother interest would, I believe, be an example of leaning to our own understanding. Scripturally, I still must acknowledge that no interest is to be charged to our brother. In other words, the fact that there is inflation, that our currency system is manipulated, and that our money might be used elsewhere to bring gain, should not change the Scriptural mandate.

 

 

 

Many Scriptures teach us not to charge our brother interest—

 

Exo 22:25

If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender [KJV: usurer] to him; you shall not charge him interest [KJV: usury].

 

Lev 25:35-38

35 If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.

36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your Mighty One, that your brother may live with you.

37 You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.

38 I am Yahweh your Mighty One, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your Mighty One.

 

Deu 23:19-20

19 You shall not charge interest to your brother — interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.

20 To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that Yahweh your Mighty One may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

 

Neh 5:6-12

6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.

7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, Each of you is exacting usury from his brother. So I called a great assembly against them.

8 And I said to them, According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us? Then they were silenced and found nothing to say.

9 Then I said, What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our Mighty One because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?

10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!

11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.

12 So they said, We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say. Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.

 

Psa 15:1-5 (the whole Psalm)

1 Yahweh, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear Yahweh; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

 

Pro 28:8

One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

 

Eze 18:5-17

5 But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right;

6 If he has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity;

7 If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing;

8 If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man;

9 If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully —  He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Master Yahweh.

10 If he begets a son who is a robber Or a shedder of blood, Who does any of these things

11 And does none of those duties, But has eaten on the mountains Or defiled his neighbor’s wife;

12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy, Robbed by violence, Not restored the pledge, Lifted his eyes to the idols, Or committed abomination;

13 If he has exacted usury Or taken increase —  Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.

14 If, however, he begets a son Who sees all the sins which his father has done, And considers but does not do likewise;

15 Who has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;

16 Has not oppressed anyone, Nor withheld a pledge, Nor robbed by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing;

17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes —  He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!

 

Eze 22:5-12

5 Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult.

6 Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his power to shed blood in you.

7 In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow.

8 You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths.

9 In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness.

10 In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity.

11 One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another in you violates his sister, his father’s daughter.

12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me, says the Master Yahweh.

 

&

Comments