“The merciful lend
To their neighbors.
By holding out
A helping hand,
They keep the commandments.
Lend to your neighbor
In his time of need.
Repay your neighbor
When a loan falls due.
Keep your promise.
Be honest with him.
On every occasion
You will find
What you need.”
Sirach says that lending to your neighbors is nothing more than giving them a helping hand. When you lend to others you are following the commandments. You lend to your neighbor with no interest in his time of need. However, if you borrowed the money, you should repay the loan when it is due. You should keep your promise and be honest. Thus on every occasion helping each other will work out.
“Laziness brings on deep sleep.
An idle person will suffer hunger.
Those who keep the commandment will live.
Those who are heedless of their ways will die.
Whoever is kind to the poor
Lends to Yahweh.
Yahweh will repay them for their deed.”
Laziness and idleness will lead to nothing but sleep and hunger. If you want to live, keep the commandments. Otherwise you will die. If you are kind to the poor, you are lending to Yahweh, who will repay you for your deed.
“I have been young.
Now I am old.
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.
I have not seen their children begging bread.
They are ever giving liberally and lending.
Their children become a blessing.”
This is the prayer of the old man. This is somewhat reminiscent of Job. All his life he had not seen the righteous deserted. Their children were not begging for bread. They were generous in giving and lending. Their children became a blessing to them.
“Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. This is the manner of the remission. Every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor. He is not to exact it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because Yahweh’s remission or release has been proclaimed. Of a foreigner you may exact it. But you must remit your claim on whatever any member of your community owes you. There will, however, be no one in need or poor among you, because Yahweh is sure to bless you in the land that Yahweh your God is giving to you as a possession to occupy. If only you will obey Yahweh your God, by diligently observing the entire commandment that I command you today. When Yahweh your God has blessed you, as he promised you, you will lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. You will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.”
The sabbatical 7th year can be found in Leviticus, chapter 25. In this 7th year you forgive your fellow Israelite neighbor brothers, but not the foreigners. Never be a borrower from foreigners, but you are encouraged to lend to them. If you follow Yahweh’s commandments, you will rule many nations.
“If there is among you a poor man, anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that Yahweh your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission is near,’ and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing. Your neighbor might cry to Yahweh against you. You would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so. On this account Yahweh your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.’”
Treat the poor and needy with respect. Give willingly. Do not be hard-hearted or tight fisted, but rather open your hand to the needy. Do not use the Sabbath year as an excuse for not giving to those in need. You can incur guilt by not giving to the needy. Yahweh will bless you in your work if you are generous. There will always be poor people, so open your hand to your poor and needy neighbors.