Monday, April 25, 2011

socialist Bible verse of the day: Leviticus 25:35-37

If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. —Leviticus 25:35-37
Brother Will says: The subject is "your fellow Israelites", but for the sake of hasty readers, I'll note that this is universal advice. Fellow, foreigner, stranger— It doesn't matter. Help everyone, help them equally, and don't make a profit.


  1. As an English Major, I should know the Bible a lot better than I do, especially quotes like this. Curious that in medieval/renaissance times, we have the stereotype of the Jewish moneylender. I find it quite disturbing that this quote never gets uttered by the big-time Religious Right in the US, or at least I've never heard it said. Such a thing could be considered anti-American, right? Not to profit? Not have winners and losers, for without the losers to take from, the winners would have nothing to boast of?

  2. Bruce, you raise huge issues. The quick answer is that the culture of a religion is more important to its followers than its texts, and when the texts contradict the culture, the texts are ignored or glossed over. I'll be posting more quotes about profit and usury as the series continues.

  3. during much of the middle ages, jews were basically cut off from participating in the dominant trades and professions of the times and were basically left with moneylending as their only option. it is obviously more complex than that but that is one of the forces at work, in terms of the cultivation of that stereotype.