Does scripture make us lend?


#1

Mt.5;42
"Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away."

In the O.T. it was the sin of usury to charge interest to borrow money. The Jewish person was expected to lend free of charge to his neighbor.

I wonder if this was a universal rule in that a person would sin if they ever refused to lend the money to someone in need.

In the N.T. Jesus said to go the extra mile and also to give someone your cloak willingly.

What do you think? How is all of this to be interpreted? Is there any condition or limitation to borrowing and lending? And if the person doesn't pay back what they borrowed, what should be done if anything? How is this passage to be interpreted?

This is a big statement, "...do not turn away."


#2

[quote="fred_conty, post:1, topic:330149"]
Mt.5;42
"Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away."

In the O.T. it was the sin of usury to charge interest to borrow money. The Jewish person was expected to lend free of charge to his neighbor.

I wonder if this was a universal rule in that a person would sin if they ever refused to lend the money to someone in need.

In the N.T. Jesus said to go the extra mile and also to give someone your cloak willingly.

What do you think? How is all of this to be interpreted? Is there any condition or limitation to borrowing and lending? And if the person doesn't pay back what they borrowed, what should be done if anything? How is this passage to be interpreted?

This is a big statement, "...do not turn away."

[/quote]

The texts you are referring to are related to the statement that opens this part of the Sermon on the Mount, namely: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’"--Matthew 5:38.

This section is not actually about lending, but about retaliation. The verse you quote should be read in the light of this verse. And it is within the context of what scholars call the "Six Antithesis," where moral codes of Judaism as interpreted from the Mosaic Law ("You heard that it was said...") are expanded upon by Jesus ("But I say to you...").

The verse you quote: "Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow," is in reference to the previous verse, "Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles."--Matthew 5:41-42.

The strained relations between Jews and Romans were like a powder keg subject to sparks, ready to explode at anytime. Jews were ready to retaliate for the many injustices they suffered under Roman oppression, and since many at the time believed they were justified for taken revenge on "God's enemies" there were often many confrontations that ended in bloodshed.

Jesus stated that if they were pressed by the Romans into public service that they weren't to fight it. If they were asked to give something, like taxes or tribute, they were to give it freely. They were not to use these things as an excuse for violence. Which is why the verse you speak of is after these words: "Offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well."--verses 39-40.

So this is not a text about lending, though you are correct that the Mosaic Law taught the Jews to give freely to those in need.


#3

I appreciate your answer. My wife was troubled by this passage and I did not know just how to reply. We had a family situation and this troubled her.

“We are a pilgrim people, we are the Church ofGod. A family of believers…” (hymn)


#4

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.