Lend, Loan



The translation of 7 Hebrew and 2 Greek vbs.:

1. Lexical Usages:

In the Old Testament:

lawah, "to join," "cause to join," "lend" (Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 28:12,44; Psalms 37:26; Proverbs 19:17); nashah, "to bite," "lend" (Deuteronomy 24:11; Jeremiah 15:10); nashah (same root as last, though different verb stem, Hiphil), "to cause to bite," "lend on usury" (Deuteronomy 15:2; 24:10); nashakh, "to bite," "lend" "(cause to lend) on usury" (Deuteronomy 23:19,20); nathan, "to give" (Leviticus 25:37, the Revised Version (British and American) "to give"); `abhat (Hiphil), "to cause to borrow," "to lend" (Deuteronomy 15:6,8); sha'al (Hiphil), "to cause to ask," "to lend" (Exodus 12:36, the Revised Version (British and American) "ask"; 1 Samuel 1:27). In Septuagint daneizo, danizo, "to lend," translates lawah, and `abaT in above passages and in Nehemiah 5:4; Proverbs 22:7, and Isaiah 24:2; kichrao, also translations lawah and sha'al (Psalms 112:5; Proverbs 13:11); daneion(-ion), "loan," occurs in Deuteronomy 15:8,10; 24:11; 4 Macc 2:8. In the New Testament "lend" translations two Greek verbs, daneizo, "to lend money" (Luke 6:34,35, usually in commercial sense); kichremi, "to lend (as a friendly act)" (Luke 11:5).The substantive "loan," she'elah, occurs only once in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 2:20 the King James Version and the English Revised Version), not at all in the New Testament.

2. History of Lending in the Bible and Apocrypha:

(1) Lending on interest to the poor is prohibited in the code in Exodus 22:25. (2) In the code in Deuteronomy 15:1-6; 23:19,20; 24:10,11; 28:12,44, borrowing and lending are taken for granted as existing in Israel, but the creditor is required to release his Hebrew brother as debtor in the 7th year (either the cancellation of the loan (so in Jewish literature and early Christian scholars) or suspension of payment that year (so most modern scholars)), though he may exact payment from a foreigner. Israel may lend, and will be able to lend, because of Yahweh's blessing, to other nations, but must not borrow from them. A pledge, or security, must not be taken in person by the creditor from the house of the debtor, nor kept overnight, if the debtor be poor. (3) The code in Leviticus 25:35-38 requires that the Israelite receive no interest from his poor brother, because of the goodness of Yahweh to Israel. (4) Notwithstanding the prohibition of the early laws against lending on interest or usury, the same seems to have become common in Israel before the exile (Isaiah 24:2; Jeremiah 15:10), was practiced on the return, and was an evil to be corrected by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:7,10). (5) According to Psalms 37:26; 112:5; Proverbs 19:17, lending to the needy was regarded as a mark of the pious Hebrew, but no interest is to be charged. (6) According to Apocrypha (The Wisdom of Solomon 15:16; Sirach 8:12; 18:33; 20:15,29; 4 Macc 2:8), borrowing is discouraged, and lending is exalted as a mark of the merciful man. (7) Jesus teaches that His followers should lend, even to enemies, to men from whom they have no reasonable hope of expecting anything in return, because thus to do is to be like the Most High (Luke 6:34,35). He did not discuss lending for commercial purposes, and so does not necessarily forbid it.


See Driver on Deuteronomy 15:1-6; Benzinger, Hebrew Archaeology, (1894), 350; Oehler, Old Testament Theology, 150, 10; Plummer on Luke 6:34,35.

Charles B. Williams

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'LEND, LOAN'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.