The earliest mention of wages is of a recompense, not in money, but in kind, to Jacob from Laban. ( Genesis 29:15 Genesis 29:20 ; 30:28 ; Genesis 31:7 Genesis 31:8 Genesis 31:41 ) In Egypt money payments by way of wages were in use, but the terms cannot now be ascertained. ( Exodus 2:9 ) The only mention of the rate of wages in Scripture is found in the parable of the householder and the vineyard, ( Matthew 20:2 ) where the laborers wages was set at one denarius per day, probably 15 to 17 cents, a sum which may be fairly taken as equivalent to the denarius, and to the usual pay of a soldier (ten asses per diem) in the later days of the Roman republic. Tac. Ann. i. 17; Polyb. vi. 39. In earlier times it is probable that the rate was lower; but it is likely that laborers, and also soldiers, were supplied with provisions. The law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages. ( Leviticus 19:13 ; deuteronomy 24:14 deuteronomy 24:15 ) The employer who refused to give his-laborers sufficient victuals is censured ( Job 22:11 ) and the iniquity of withholding wages is denounced. ( Jeremiah 22:13 ; Malachi 3:5 ; James 6:4 )
[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationSmith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Wages'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary".