lon: The translation of 7 Hebrew and 2 Greek vbs.:

1. Lexical Usages:

In the Old Testament: lawah, "to join," "cause to join," "lend" (Ex 22:25; De 28:12,44; Ps 37:26; Pr 19:17); nashah, "to bite," "lend" (De 24:11; Jer 15:10); nashah (same root as last, though different verb stem, Hiphil), "to cause to bite," "lend on usury" (De 15:2; 24:10); nashakh, "to bite," "lend" "(cause to lend) on usury" (De 23:19,20); nathan, "to give" (Le 25:37, the Revised Version (British and American) "to give"); `abhat (Hiphil), "to cause to borrow," "to lend" (De 15:6,8); sha'al (Hiphil), "to cause to ask," "to lend" (Ex 12:36, the Revised Version (British and American) "ask"; 1Sa 1:27). In Septuagint daneizo, danizo, "to lend," translates lawah, and `abaT in above passages and in Ne 5:4; Pr 22:7, and Isa 24:2; kichrao, also translations lawah and sha'al (Ps 112:5; Pr 13:11); daneion(-ion), "loan," occurs in De 15:8,10; 24:11; 4 Macc 2:8. In the New Testament "lend" translations two Greek verbs, daneizo, "to lend money" (Lu 6:34,35, usually in commercial sense); kichremi, "to lend (as a friendly act)" (Lu 11:5).The substantive "loan," she'elah, occurs only once in the Old Testament (1Sa 2:20 the King James Version and the English Revised Version), not at all in the New Testament.

2. History of Lending in the Bible and Apocrypha:

(1) Lending on interest to the poor is prohibited in the code in Ex 22:25. (2) In the code in De 15:1-6; 23:19,20; 24:10,11; 28:12,44, borrowing and lending are taken for granted as existing in Israel, but the creditor is required to release his Hebrew brother as debtor in the 7th year (either the cancellation of the loan (so in Jewish literature and early Christian scholars) or suspension of payment that year (so most modern scholars)), though he may exact payment from a foreigner. Israel may lend, and will be able to lend, because of Yahweh's blessing, to other nations, but must not borrow from them. A pledge, or security, must not be taken in person by the creditor from the house of the debtor, nor kept overnight, if the debtor be poor. (3) The code in Le 25:35-38 requires that the Israelite receive no interest from his poor brother, because of the goodness of Yahweh to Israel. (4) Notwithstanding the prohibition of the early laws against lending on interest or usury, the same seems to have become common in Israel before the exile (Isa 24:2; Jer 15:10), was practiced on the return, and was an evil to be corrected by Nehemiah (Ne 5:7,10). (5) According to Ps 37:26; 112:5; Pr 19:17, lending to the needy was regarded as a mark of the pious Hebrew, but no interest is to be charged. (6) According to Apocrypha (The Wisdom of Solomon 15:16; Sirach 8:12; 18:33; 20:15,29; 4 Macc 2:8), borrowing is discouraged, and lending is exalted as a mark of the merciful man. (7) Jesus teaches that His followers should lend, even to enemies, to men from whom they have no reasonable hope of expecting anything in return, because thus to do is to be like the Most High (Lu 6:34,35). He did not discuss lending for commercial purposes, and so does not necessarily forbid it.


See Driver on De 15:1-6; Benzinger, Hebrew Archaeology, (1894), 350 f; Oehler, Old Testament Theology, 150, 10; Plummer on Lu 6:34,35.

Charles B. Williams

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