The Mosaic laws regarding the poor are especially important.
They had the right of gleaning the fields (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19, 21).
In the sabbatical year, they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:6).
In the year of jubilee, they recovered their property (Leviticus 25:25-30).
Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down (Exodus 22:25-27; Deuteronomy 24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deuteronomy 15:7-11).
In the sabbatical and jubilee years, the bond-servant was to go free (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Leviticus 25:39-42, 47-54).
Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12-13).
They shared in the feasts (Deuteronomy 16:11, 14; Neh. 8:10).
Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Leviticus 19:13).
In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Galatians 2:10; James 2:15-16) we have similar injunctions given with reference to the poor.
Begging was not common under the Old Testament, while it was so in the New Testament times (Luke 16:20-21, etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is forbidden, and all such are enjoined to “work with their own hands” as a Christian duty (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:7-13; Ephesians 4:28).
This word is used figuratively in Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Rev. 3:17.
Article Version: September 8, 2017