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Debt
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
An obligation to pay in the future for a present benefit. Most of the biblical treatment of debt is within the civil law of ancient Israel, and all biblical instruction concerning debt is in a context of charitable, benevolent lending to relieve distress. Commercial lending, in which a business borrows cash to finance its operations, was well known in the ancient world, but does not appear in Scripture.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Debt
Debt An obligation to pay in the future for a present benefit. Most of the biblical treatment of debt is within the civil law of ancient Israel, and all biblical instruction concerning debt is in a context of charitable, benevolent lending to relieve distress. Commercial lending, in which a business
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Debts
DEBTS. The necessity for loans is recognized openly in the Hebrew Bible, where an attempt is made to prevent the practice of requiring interest from debtors. Interest on loans in the ANE could be exorbitant by modern standards (and might be required in advance, from the very principal of the loan. The
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Debt
Debt. Something owed to another person such as goods, property, or money. In the Bible, righteous conduct is something one “owes” to God; hence, in theology, sin is described figuratively as being “in debt.”In Hebrew culture debt was usually connected with usury (the business of lending money on interest).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Debt
Debt [Heb. nešî] (2 K. 4:7); NEB “boys who are being taken as pledges”; [maššā’â] (Prov. 22:26); NEB SURETY; [yāḏ] (Neh. 10:31 [MT 32]); [Gk. opheilḗ] (Mt. 18:32); [opheílēma] (Mt. 6:12); NEB “wrong”; [dáneion] (Mt. 18:27); [opheílō, part] (Mt. 18:30, 34); AV “that was due”; DEBTOR;
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Debt
DEBT Something owed to another person, such as goods, property, or money. In the Bible, righteous conduct is something one “owes” to God; hence, in theology, sin is described figuratively as being “in debt.”In Hebrew culture, debt was usually connected with usury (the business of lending money on interest).
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Debt
debt. Israelite law forbade charging fellow Israelites interest on loans (Exod. 22:24; Deut. 23:20; Lev. 25:35–38). The prohibition, however, was not always observed (Prov. 28:8; Ezek. 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12; Matt. 25:27; Luke 19:23). Neh. 5:1–13 speaks of the people as burdened with debts. The annual interest
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Debt, Debtor
DEBT, DEBTOR. In OT times the debtor was to be pitied. In fact, it was a mark of divine favor to be in the class of the lender (Deut 15:6; 28:12, 44). The penalty of nonpayment often was slavery (Lev 25:47; Isa 50:1; Amos 2:6; 8:6). The harshness of this custom is graphically portrayed in the case of
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Debt, Interest, Loans
Debt, Interest, LoansThe practice of making of loans at interest was a widespread phenomenon in biblical times. The first extant legal source regulating interest rates is the Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1800 b.c.e.) in Babylonia where interest rates were limited to 20 percent for money and 33.3 percent for
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Debt
Debt (Heb. nešî; Gk. opheilḗ, opheílēma).* Old Testament restrictions regarding the lending or borrowing of money were intended to prevent undue tension between Israelites, thus serving to maintain the stability of the Hebrew community. The exacting of excessive interest was forbidden (Exod.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
Debt
DEBT.1. The rendering of several Heb. and Gk. words, with the general meaning of something due. In the Mosaic law the duty of aiding the poor was strongly emphasized (Deut. 15:7–15; cf. Ps. 37:26 and Matt. 5:42). All loans to fellow Israelites were to be forgiven every seven years (Deut. 15:2), and
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Debt
DebtThe Mosaic law encouraged the practice of lending (Deut. 15:7; Ps. 37:26; Matt. 5:42); but it forbade the exaction of interest except from foreigners. Usury was strongly condemned (Prov. 28:8; Ezek. 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12; Ps. 15:5). On the Sabbatical year all pecuniary obligations were cancelled (Deut.
Debtor
DebtorVarious regulations as to the relation between debtor and creditor are laid down in the Scriptures.(1.) The debtor was to deliver up as a pledge to the creditor what he could most easily dispense with (Deut. 24:10, 11).(2.) A mill, or millstone, or upper garment, when given as a pledge, could
Key passages
Le 25:35–43

“ ‘And if your countryman becomes poor and if he becomes dependent on you, then you shall support him like an alien and like a temporary resident, and he shall live with you. You must not take interest or usury from him, but you shall revere your God, and your countryman shall …

Dt 15:1–6

“At the end of seven years you shall grant a remission of debt. And this is the manner of the remission of debt: every creditor shall remit his claim that he holds against his neighbor, and he shall not exact payment from his brother because there a remission of debt has been proclaimed unto …

Mt 18:21–35

Then Peter came up to him and said, “Lord, how many times will my brother sin against me and I will forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven! “For this reason the kingdom …

Lk 7:41–47

“There were two debtors who owed a certain creditor. One owed five hundred denarii and the other fifty. When they were not able to repay him, he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose that it is the one to whom he forgave …

Ro 13:8–10

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another, for the one who loves someone else has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, …

See also
Topics & Themes