Eight Arguments Against Debt 7 – Debt and the Lender

There are Biblical grounds for staying out of debt. Any one of these is sufficient reason for people to avoid debt, as much as it is within their power. When put together, they become a formidable array of reasons why debt should be avoided.

7. Debt and the Lender

Thus far our discussion has centered on those who borrow, and those who can benefit from debt, the sellers of goods. But there is yet another person who benefits from debt, and that is, naturally, the lender. Interestingly, the Bible also has some comments to make to the lender. The passage in Deuteronomy 15:1-11 places limitations on the actions of lenders. First, they are to cancel all debts to a brother in the seventh year. At the end of every seven years, the creditor is to cancel any outstanding debt. Second, this limitation did not apply to foreigners. Third, the requirement to cancel debts was no excuse not to lend to a brother in need. Fourth, the fact that the sabbath year was drawing close was likewise no reason to withhold assistance to a brother.

The sabbath year laws, interestingly, put a restraint upon the lender, not the borrower. This passage gives no encouragement for debt, even the limited use of debt. What it does do is put a strict limitation on lenders. The debt was not to be collected in full. At the end of the seventh year whatever remained unpaid was to be canceled. It is expressly stated that the Sabbath year's imminence should not be used as an excuse to withhold funds from those in need.

If nothing else, this provides an indication that long-term lending is to be avoided. By long-term is meant longer than seven years. And if long-term lending is to be avoided, this naturally abolishes any notion of long-term debt.

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