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©Michael Player

Chapter 24:10-18 (ESV)

Posted on March 31, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 24:10-18 (ESV) - “When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not go into his house to collect his pledge. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you. And if he is a poor man, you shall not sleep in his pledge. You shall restore to him the pledge as the sun sets, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you. And it shall be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.

“You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

“You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.”

Question to consider: What Law of God can be applied to these decrees from Moses?

As we have gone through Deuteronomy, I have been emphasizing that these decrees from Moses are extrapolated from the Law and filtered through the years of wisdom Moses had acquired as the mediator of God’s covenant with Israel. This idea may cause people to ask the question, “Are these then just the opinion of Moses and not the word of the LORD?” While these decrees may be expressed by Moses and not directly attributed to the LORD, Moses was speaking as someone who knew the heart of God and was being inspired by the Spirit of God to reveal how God wanted Israel to live in the land.

I would argue against the inspiration of the Talmud (rabbinical teachings). Unlike Moses, the teachers of Israel were not with God on the mountain. While the priests may have served as ministers of the covenant after Moses was gone, not all priests and rabbis have demonstrated an understanding of God’s mercy, and a big chunk of the Talmud is dedicated to teachings in the times leading up to and during the Babylonian exile. I’m sorry, but the LORD judged Israel by Babylon for a reason. 

Even the Targums (rabbinical commentary on the inspired books) should be taken with discernment. I often referred to them in my studies of Genesis and Exodus, but there were times in which I gave warnings about them. The books of Moses in themselves properly present the wickedness of men and the mercy of God. However, in our sin, we have a tendency to want to elevate the actions of men and diminish the grace of God.

Instead, we should view these decrees from Moses in light of God’s Law and see both God’s mercy and our desperate need for it. People will accuse God of evil because poverty exists in the world. However, if we look at the first decree from today, we can see that poverty exists because there are lenders who make merchandise out of people and the poor who don’t follow through on their pledge. We can relate this decree back to God’s Law against stealing. The negative of that Law is to “not” take something from your neighbor which doesn’t belong to you. The positive of that Law is to help our neighbor improve and protect his possessions and income.

Moses was saying here that a lender should not require a poor man to give up his cloak as a pledge for a loan, for then he’d not have it to keep warm when he slept. The lender was to also treat the borrower with dignity and respect and not seize his assets. The borrower should be diligent to restore the lender and keep his pledge.

Employers were commanded to pay their employees on the day they did the work regardless of whether they were a brother or a sojourner. Once again to not pay a worker his wage was stealing. 

While God may visit “the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate [Him],” (Deuteronomy 5:9) Israel was to only pursue justice upon the guilty individual. God’s justice is perfect. Ours is not. If this was not obvious, Moses reminded Israel not to pervert justice for the poor and vulnerable.

People will also accuse God of evil because slavery exists in the world. Outside of the fact that Israel was warned repeatedly not to permanently move to Egypt, the LORD used that time to multiply His people and humble them so that they would be able to empathize with the poor and vulnerable. Even in Christ, we experience times of extreme hardship, but these hardships are used by God to mold us into the image of Christ and are used to minister to others going through similar circumstances.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to see Your mercy in these passages and give us a desire to show the same compassion to others that we have received from You. Amen.