21 Oct 2018

Wisdom About Debt From the Mosaic Code

Religious 18 Comments

In our Bible study we covered Deuteronomy 15. Some interesting excerpts:

1“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. 2And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the LORD’s release has been proclaimed. 3Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release. 4But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, 5if only you will strictly obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today. 6For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.

7“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. 9Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. 10You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Notice, contrary to the assertions of many of today’s free traders (not that there’s anything wrong with that), that God (speaking through Moses) did not view capital inflows from abroad as a necessary blessing.

Also interesting is that if your brother was down and out, the community (of course) was supposed to take care of him, but via a loan, rather than simple charity.

And yet, no child of Israel could thereby end up in permanent debt-bondage, because of the first rule discussed.

18 Responses to “Wisdom About Debt From the Mosaic Code”

  1. Kevin L says:

    I think the capital inflow question is a little different because foreigners (non-Israelites) weren’t permitted to hold equity in our purchase real property. Unsecured debt would have been the only instrument available for foreign capital.

  2. Warren says:

    Was it an ongoing schedule of seven calendar years or was seven years the the longest time loans could be for?

    Because if it’s calendar years good luck in getting a loan in year six.

    • Tel says:

      They were onto that:

      Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’

      It does feel just a tiny bit weird to be told the application of some obvious logic is unworthy thoughts.

      • Matt M says:

        Yeah, I feel like this is all well and good in theory, but in practice, it’s essentially just a law banning anyone from entering into any sort of forward contract with a settlement date later than the next Jubilee (and probably with a bit of a buffer before that as well, so you have some time to recover the money from those who might not pay)

        Does Bob have a theory as to how it would affect the structure of production if in Year 1, you could only make investments with a 7 year time horizon, but then in Year 2, you could only make them with a 6 year time horizon, etc. The interest rates would be fun to watch!

  3. Major_Freedom says:

    Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

    Revelation 3:9

  4. Major_Freedom says:

    God created humanity as dependent on the material world for health and well-being.

    Even the most “ascetic” people in the world, for example monks and friars living in extremely modest brick buildings with the bare material necessities, would likely not say no to more pens and paper to write more texts for distribution, or more bricks for bigger monasteries and such, or more cloth to dress more members, etc.

    More capital, provided it is in the correct form and composition, is ALWAYS a benefit to humans no matter who you are.

  5. Tel says:

    … the community (of course) was supposed to take care of him, but via a loan, rather than simple charity.

    I see two parts to that: firstly the assumption that most of the time, it’s temporary bad luck and the guy will get his act together and pay back the debt. Secondly, there’s more dignity in a loan than a handout, even if you make an effort to pay, but then fail.

    I guess the assumption is you don’t take that loan with the intention of refusal to pay.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress… It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired worker he has served you six years.”

    This does not sit well with today’s values. You have had a slave at half the price he would have been willing to work voluntarily. It is implied that if a non-Hebrew is sold to you there is no need to release them after 6 years.

    “All the firstborn males that are born of your herd and flock you shall dedicate to the LORD your God. You shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20You shall eat it,” Is there a reason for this directive?

  7. theodore baker says:

    Yes, much to learn from this ancient, superstitious world. Not sure I get the point.

  8. Major_Freedom says:

    Anyone else feel kinda like Mises in Austria under threat of communist annihilation?

    A lot of us are seeing the military, Trump, Q, and foreign military allies as the (second only to, compared to you know what standard) best way of ending satanism / communism worldwide once and for all?

    With main difference between then and now is a destruction of fake news which will prevent a cover up of a long game plan by a rogue criminal syndicate of Saud/Roths/Soros?

    • Major_Freedom says:

      I’ve been called a Nazi by radical leftist commies on social media so many times, for saying things that respects individual choice and liberty, that I don’t even get affected by the name calling anymore.

      They’ve disarmed themselves and shown they were pointing the dictatorial weapon at freedom loving people the whole time.

      • Tel says:

        It’s difficult to fight against envy by using guns.

        The military can guard the border … but the way I see it, some people ALWAYS have a deep desire to manipulate and control other people and take their stuff “By Any Means Necessary” and such people turn up here, there and everywhere … often very successful in what they do. I cannot figure a way for any military system to protect a nation from being consumed by itself. The more apparatus you have… the more it can be infiltrated and used against the people who built it.

        Most of the good things Trump has done were by accident IMHO. He broke the hold of political correctness, and that in itself is excellent, and he has enraged the “Progressive” left until they revealed themselves (as you mention already). Everything looked very ad-hoc and unplanned.

        Then again, Trump’s tactics are somewhat unknowable, he throws out noise in every direction, which I’m guessing is his way of both feeling around for a response, and also keeping his opponents off balance. The “Progressive” strategy has been to decide they cannot figure Trump out, so they ignore what he is actually doing and go for basic lies and smear tactics, working their comfort zone. We will see after the mid-terms but I don’t expect that to come out as well for them as they were hoping.

        As I’ve said elsewhere, if it was my choice, the best possible occupant of the White House would have been Giant Meteor for President, but if Trump can leave behind almost as much damage as the meteor then I’ll settle for second prize.

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