Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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(1) In the Old Testament period loans were not of a commercial nature, i.e. they were not granted to enable a man to start or run a business. They were really a form of charity, and were made by the lender only to meet the pressure of poverty. To the borrower they were esteemed a form of misfortune (Dt 28:12 f), and by the lender a form of beneficence. Hence, the tone of the Mosaic legislation on the subject.
(2) Laying interest upon the poor of Israel was forbidden in all the codes (see Ex 22:25 (JE); Dt 23:19; Lev 25:36 H), because it was looked upon as making unwarranted profit out of a brother's distress: "If thou lend money to any of my people with thee that is poor, thou shalt not be to him as a creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest .... and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious."
(3) The Law, however, allowed interest to be taken of a foreigner, or non-Jew (Dt 23:20: "Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest"; compare Dt 15:3); and even among Jews pledges were allowed under limitations, or taken against the law (Dt 24:10; compare Job 24:2,3 "There are that remove the landmarks .... they take the widow's ox for a pledge"). In Dt 15:1 ff there is a remarkable law providing a "release" by the creditor every "seven years," a "letting drop of loans" (see Driver in the place cited.). In Ex 3:22, the King James Version "shall borrow" is rendered "shall ask" in the Revised Version (British and American).
George B. Eager
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'borrowing'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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