Author Topic: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?  (Read 2741 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
"Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« on: March 13, 2009, 09:03:28 PM »
I noticed that what in KJV was usury in NKJV became interest.
For example, here:

Exodus 22:25

KJV

If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

NKJV

If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.


Deuteronomy 23:19-20

KJV

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

NKJV

Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.

You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.



So what did God say: usury, or interest?


Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 39,568
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2009, 11:30:39 PM »
I noticed that what in KJV was usury in NKJV became interest.
For example, here:

Exodus 22:25

KJV

If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

NKJV

If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.


Deuteronomy 23:19-20

KJV

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

NKJV

Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.

You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.



So what did God say: usury, or interest?



Neither: He didn't speak English.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline SolEX01

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,425
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009, 02:02:21 AM »
Simkins, it helps to read the orginal ancient Greek from the Septuagint because it helps to know what was the original word before the KJV and NKJV translators went to work.

Exodus 22:25
Quote
25. ἐὰν δὲ ἐνεχύρασμα ἐνεχυράσῃς τὸ ἱμάτιον τοῦ πλησίον πρὸ δυσμῶν ἡλίου ἀποδώσεις αὐτῷ
The word ἱμάτιον translates as garment.  The Orthodox Study Bible uses this translation rather than anything having to do with money.

Deuteronomy 23:19-20
Quote
19. οὐ προσοίσεις μίσθωμα πόρνης οὐδὲ ἄλλαγμα κυνὸς εἰς τὸν οἶκον κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ σου πρὸς πᾶσαν εὐχήν ὅτι βδέλυγμα κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ σού ἐστιν καὶ ἀμφότερα

20. οὐκ ἐκτοκιεῖς τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου τόκον ἀργυρίου καὶ τόκον βρωμάτων καὶ τόκον παντὸς πράγματος οὗ ἂν ἐκδανείσῃς

In verse 20, τόκον is translated correctly as interest / usury.

What's your point?   ???

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 02:43:47 AM »
it helps to read the orginal ancient Greek
Do you say that the books of Moses were originally in Greek?

What's your point?   ???
In English "usury" is a pejorative. When it is called "interest"  usury starts to look like something decent.

Offline SolEX01

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,425
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2009, 03:32:41 AM »
it helps to read the orginal ancient Greek
Do you say that the books of Moses were originally in Greek?

No, they were written in Hebrew which were translated into ancient Greek (e.g. the Septuagint) around the time of the Ptolemys.  I don't have a Torah handy nor do I know ancient Hebrew.   :)

What's your point?   ???
In English "usury" is a pejorative. When it is called "interest"  usury starts to look like something decent.

OK, I agree with you; However, there are other examples of usury besides charging exorbitant interest rates like becoming wealthy off the backs of the poor and many other examples.

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,833
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2009, 03:46:53 AM »
The Greek Septuagint uses the word tokon and its grammatical variants, which is interest. The Greek word for usury is tokoglyphia, which is the charging of excessive interest. This latter word is not present in the scripture passages you have quoted.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,383
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2009, 04:56:36 AM »
Do you say that the books of Moses were originally in Greek?
The Eastern Orthodox Church canonically accepts only the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament because it is the only existent complete version which was written before Christ, as well as being the version quoted in the New Testament. The Septuagint was written in Greek. So while the Books of Moses were not originally written in Greek, the only canonical version of the OT in the Eastern Orthodox Church is the Septuagint, which is Greek.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2009, 07:53:16 AM »
The Greek Septuagint uses the word tokon and its grammatical variants, which is interest. The Greek word for usury is tokoglyphia, which is the charging of excessive interest. This latter word is not present in the scripture passages you have quoted.

That's where I am always lost. What's "excessive?" Is there such thing as excessive adultery, excessive theft, excessive murder, excessive envy? How is usury different from those? There is no hint in the Old Testament that you should (or even "may") give money to your brother and ask from him this sum of money plus some more. It does not matter how much more. And Christ said, "give and ask NOTHING in return..." I think we all are twisting Scripture to justify ourselves and our perverted, hopeless "culture" ("civilization"). Muslims are better than us in this regard.

But I know, we have discussed this to death already and it does not seem to make any sense to continue.
Love never fails.

Offline Orthodox11

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,999
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2009, 08:43:33 AM »
Muslims are better than us in this regard.

Not really. The so-called halal loans offered by Islamic banks just require you to pay a fixed sum rather than a percentage. The letter of the law is upheld, but the spirit of the law remains violated.

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2009, 09:20:54 AM »
Muslims are better than us in this regard.

Not really. The so-called halal loans offered by Islamic banks just require you to pay a fixed sum rather than a percentage. The letter of the law is upheld, but the spirit of the law remains violated.

So it is better to eschew the letter AND the spirit, just like we, good people, are doing...
Love never fails.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 39,568
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 10:36:48 AM »
The Greek Septuagint uses the word tokon and its grammatical variants, which is interest. The Greek word for usury is tokoglyphia, which is the charging of excessive interest. This latter word is not present in the scripture passages you have quoted.

That's where I am always lost. What's "excessive?" Is there such thing as excessive adultery, excessive theft, excessive murder, excessive envy? How is usury different from those? There is no hint in the Old Testament that you should (or even "may") give money to your brother and ask from him this sum of money plus some more. It does not matter how much more. And Christ said, "give and ask NOTHING in return..." I think we all are twisting Scripture to justify ourselves and our perverted, hopeless "culture" ("civilization"). Muslims are better than us in this regard.

Actually, Our Lord expects interest on our talents (read the parable), not usury.

Btw, read Ex. 22:26-7.

And Deuteronomy 23:21 (how Jews got into banking).

And compare Lev. 25:13-7.

Muslims are better than us in this regard.

Not really. The so-called halal loans offered by Islamic banks just require you to pay a fixed sum rather than a percentage. The letter of the law is upheld, but the spirit of the law remains violated.

So it is better to eschew the letter AND the spirit, just like we, good people, are doing...

No, we keep the spirit, and the Muslims keep the letter.  Btw, the trick employed is from the legal genre in Islamic Law of "hiyal", casuistry by which rules can be broken perfectly legally.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 10:41:46 AM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 05:22:24 PM »
Actually, Our Lord expects interest on our talents (read the parable), not usury.

Sure. We have to return more than what is expected of us, give our whole life... not enrich ourselves with money and "things" by exploiting our neighbor.

we keep the spirit, and the Muslims keep the letter.

I am not sure. I think we are distorting the spirit in order to justify ourselves. We should not participate in any way in the work of the system that is entirely based on charging interest. That's abominable, it flies in the face of Christ. If I were a true follower of Christ, I would throw away my credit card, withdraw all my money from my bank account, give up my car and house (which I am "purchasing" for years and years with the "help" of a bank that charges huge interest on me and others), etc. etc. etc.
Love never fails.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 39,568
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 05:52:17 PM »
Actually, Our Lord expects interest on our talents (read the parable), not usury.

Sure. We have to return more than what is expected of us, give our whole life... not enrich ourselves with money and "things" by exploiting our neighbor.

You are assuming that charging ANY interest is exploitation.  As the parable of the talent says: Mat. 25:27 "Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.."  Is their any patristic support for Herzog?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Talents#The_parable_as_social_critique

we keep the spirit, and the Muslims keep the letter.

I am not sure. I think we are distorting the spirit in order to justify ourselves. We should not participate in any way in the work of the system that is entirely based on charging interest. That's abominable, it flies in the face of Christ. If I were a true follower of Christ, I would throw away my credit card, withdraw all my money from my bank account, give up my car and house (which I am "purchasing" for years and years with the "help" of a bank that charges huge interest on me and others), etc. etc. etc.



Home, sweet home, George?


LOL.  I'm sorry George, I couldn't resist.

When an investment driven economy differs from an agrarian one, or not,  is a fair one to debat.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 05:54:39 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2009, 08:19:06 PM »
You are assuming that charging ANY interest is exploitation.  As the parable of the talent says: Mat. 25:27 "Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.."  Is their any patristic support for Herzog?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Talents#The_parable_as_social_critique

Yeah, that's what people always quote when they want to justify usury. I don't know. Christ is using a figure of a PAGAN king... perhaps just to illustrate His point about those talents...

Still, nothing, nothing, nothing convinces me that charging any interest is right (=Christ-like). Nothing convinces me even that asking a person to return the exact sum of money you lend to this person is right(=Christ-like). ("Give, and ask NOTHING in return...")
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 08:19:40 PM by Heorhij »
Love never fails.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,580
  • Barlaam and Josaphat
    • The Mystical Theology
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2009, 09:40:28 PM »
Nothing convinces me even that asking a person to return the exact sum of money you lend to this person is right(=Christ-like). ("Give, and ask NOTHING in return...")

Let's not go overboard, now. :o

Asking a person who has borrowed money to return the exact sum of money, is for the sake of the borrower.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2009, 07:01:49 PM »
OK, I agree with you;
You agree? But with what? I did not yet offer my opinion. I think that Shylock helped to prepare NKJV.

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,383
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2009, 07:12:06 PM »
OK, I agree with you;
You agree? But with what?

With what he quoted from you:
What's your point?   ???
In English "usury" is a pejorative. When it is called "interest"  usury starts to look like something decent.

OK, I agree with you; However, there are other examples of usury besides charging exorbitant interest rates like becoming wealthy off the backs of the poor and many other examples.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2009, 07:01:18 PM »
With what he quoted from you:
That was just a statement of obvious facts. One can't agree or disagree with facts.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Moderator
  • Hoplitarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 15,115
  • Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2009, 09:57:52 PM »
With what he quoted from you:
That was just a statement of obvious facts. One can't agree or disagree with facts.

How is that factual?  Clearly there are other people who find the word "interest" no less pejorative in some sort of legalistic context to Christ.

In addition, stop being so darn picky with words.  Agreement can also mean acknowledging the truth of the statement.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2009, 09:59:18 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2009, 02:05:59 AM »
In addition, stop being so darn picky with words. 
I am not. I was just wondering whether you agree with the opinion I offered few posts above. Thus far these brave UPA Marines are only good to defame Zoyinka. But Shylock they don't dare to touch.

Offline SolEX01

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,425
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2009, 02:22:13 AM »
In addition, stop being so darn picky with words. 
I am not. I was just wondering whether you agree with the opinion I offered few posts above. Thus far these brave UPA Marines are only good to defame Zoyinka. But Shylock they don't dare to touch.

You mean William Shakespeare?  Shylock was a character in a Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice.

Offline Simkins

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 397
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2009, 02:31:06 AM »
You mean William Shakespeare?  Shylock was a character in a Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice.

shy·lock Offensive
n.
A ruthless moneylender; a loan shark.
intr.v. shy·locked, shy·lock·ing, shy·locks
To lend money at exorbitant interest rates.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shylock

Offline SolEX01

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,425
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of New Jersey
Re: "Usury" or "interest": what did God say?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2009, 07:24:33 PM »
shy·lock Offensive
n.
A ruthless moneylender; a loan shark.
intr.v. shy·locked, shy·lock·ing, shy·locks
To lend money at exorbitant interest rates.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shylock

The New King James Version is a recent translation (e.g. in the last 30 years).  Here is the history.