Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
February 18, 2010
Last Updated :
December 9, 2013
The Lord's Concern For The Welfare Of The Poor And The Needy, God Blesses Those Who Help The Poor And The Needy, Israelites Chose To Disregard God's Commandments Concerning Helping The Disadvantaged, Widespread Corruption And Dishonest Financial Transactions, Murder And Casing Houses For Planned Robberies, Gifts And Rewards: Politicians Votes And Financial Bribery, Wicked Laws Purposely Written To Take Away The Rights Of The Poor In Order To Easily Rob Them, A Corrupt Marriage Between Corporate America And Washington Lawmakers, Targeting Needy Elderly And Poor In America, Unlawful Practice Of Charging Interest To Fellow Israelites, The Jews Have Taken Control Of Much Of The World By Lending Money And Charging Interest, Emperor Claudius Kicks Jews Out Of Rome, Banks And Interest, Jews Cheated Hired Laborers Out Of Their Due Wages, Failed To Pay Their Tithes And Offerings To The Lord, God Is Opposed To Paying Substandard Wages To Workers, The Minimum Wage And Selfish American Business Owners, Will America Be Judged For Committing Same Sins?, Who Controls America's Purse Strings?
Continuing our discussion from part two, it becomes evident from the previous set of verses that the reason why the Lord gave the ancient Israelites this set of socio-economic laws was because of His concern for the welfare of the poor and the needy; that is, the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow, and other disadvantaged persons. Thus, God gave them this group of statutes with the added condition that if the Israelites would obey these commandments, and would reach out and assist those persons in their midst who required a helping hand, He would bless their endeavors in return.
Sadly, despite the clear mandates that the Lord gave to the Israelites through Moses regarding the treatment of the poor and the needy, it becomes very evident by the following set of verses that human greed eventually took its toll, and led to the following oppressive situation in Israel. Not only did the Israelites neglect the poor, but they intentionally chose to take advantage of them through dishonest financial transactions which only enriched themselves. This corruption was widespread and included politicians, religious leaders, financiers and moneychangers, and everyday people. Everyone was cheating each other for the sake of profit. We are told that some individuals even resorted to daytime and nighttime thievery, as well as outright murder. Consider the following verses which amply describe this woeful situation:
"Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend."
Job 6:27, KJV
"Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken."
Job 22:9, KJV
"Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge. They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together. Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked. They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst. Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them. They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief. The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face. In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death. He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards. Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow. He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life. Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?"
Job 24:1-25, KJV
"Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none. The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress."
Psalms 10:12-18, KJV
"LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it."
Psalms 94:3-7, KJV
"How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them."
Isaiah 1:21-23, KJV
"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?"
Isaiah 10:1-3, KJV
"For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"
Jeremiah 5:26-29, KJV
"Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow . . . In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee."
Ezekiel 22:6-7, 12-13, KJV
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them."
Ezekiel 34:2-10, KJV
"And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts."
Malachi 3:5, KJV
Let me point out a few more important things to you regarding the previous set of verses. Notice that Job specifically says "In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime." In other words, these thieves were casing -- or reconnoitering -- houses which they planned on robbing during the night. This sounds very similar to the times in which we currently live, doesn't it? Isaiah likewise informs us that "every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards." What is the Prophet talking about? If we study the original Hebrew words that are used in this verse-- "shachad" and "shalmon" -- we discover that Isaiah is actually talking about bribes. If we compare his words to our modern day, it could very easily be describing corrupt politicians who do not vote according to their conscience, but rather according to what is most financially advantageous to them. In other words, they are influenced by so-called political "gifts" from powerful lobbyists.
Only nine chapters later, the Prophet Isaiah declares "Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!" Wow! Just look at that! He says "unrighteous decrees". Isaiah is talking about wicked laws. What is the purpose of these laws? He says that these unscrupulous lawmakers and judges "write grievousness". The latter word is derived from the Hebrew "amal" which means toil, trouble, mischief or labor. In other words, the laws are mischievous, and purposely meant to cause trouble and hardship. But to who? Isaiah plainly states that they were written "to take away the right from the poor of my people", meaning the needy, the widows, the fatherless, etc. The laws were purposely written to take away the rights of the poor so that they would be powerless to even defend themselves.
The next question concerns who and what the poor would have to defend themselves against. Isaiah then tells us that the ultimate objective of the lawmakers and judges who designed these unfair laws was to rob the legally defenseless poor and needy. In other words, they wanted to rob Peter -- the poor man -- in order to pay Paul -- the rich man -- and give Paul even more than he already had or needed. It was pure, selfish, financial manipulation which the poor couldn't even fight against, because they had no legal rights. The laws were purposely stacked against them, and were written to protect and to favor the wealthy and the affluent.
Isn't that just amazing? This sounds so much like what is now happening in the United States, and probably in other nations as well. Modern American law is purposely written to protect companies and corporations, and their overpaid CEOs and other executives, who heavily contribute to political candidates of their choice who support their causes. This marriage between corporate America and Washington lawmakers is a very cozy -- and very corrupt -- relationship. Furthermore, it is now next to impossible for regular consumers to even sue any of these business enterprises when injustices are committed against them, because American Big Business is now so well protected in a legal sense. What can a mistreated minimum wage employee do against powerful, high-profile corporate lawyers who know and understand the intricacies of the law inside and out?
But that is not the only way in which we can interpret these verses in a modern context. As we discussed earlier, because of America's ongoing debt crisis -- which has been made even worse by government overspending, and through the depletion of government coffers by giving preferential treatment to American corporations through huge tax breaks -- instead of withholding billions of dollars worth of aid from foreign governments; instead of putting a halt to America's foreign wars; instead of reducing actual government waste; certain conservative politicians want to attack and cut the public assistance programs which help the elderly, the sick and the poor the most: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, government subsidized housing, etc.
Just like the ancient Israelites, some of Washington's elite want to steal from the disadvantaged, and hurt the poor, who are already suffering enough, and then claim that it is their "fiscal responsibility" to do so. Of course, just as occurred with the poor and the needy of Israel, the poor people in the United States who have already been affected by these harsh, selfish decisions, have absolutely no say in the matter. They have no choice but to take what they can get. As I mentioned earlier, many of them are already without much hope and are just barely getting by.
Moving ahead in the Old Testament, you may recall that the Prophet Ezekiel exposed the sins of his fellow Jews by saying "thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion." Exactly what is meant by the word "usury". Quite simply, it means to charge interest on loans. The word "increase" means to expect more in return than what was actually lent. Aside from demanding payment by force or by issuing threats -- which is what extortion is -- the other problem is that the Mosaic Law forbade the practice of charging interest between the different tribes of Israel. It was viewed as a greedy and selfish practice. That is why Ezekiel uses the phrase "dishonest gain". Please consider the following verses:
"If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury."
Exodus 22:25, KJV
"And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase."
Leviticus 25:35-37, KJV
"Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it."
Deuteronomy 23:19-20, KJV
As the previous verses reveal, according to the Mosaic Law, it was only permitted to charge interest to foreigners. That is why it says "Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury". As I explain in articles such as "The International Jew and the Protocols of Zion", it is in fact through lending money, and particularly the greedy practice of charging interest to the Gentile world, that over the centuries, the Jews have not only enriched themselves, but they have taken control of much of the world. Consider these interesting verses that are also found in the Book of Deuteronomy:
"For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee."
Deuteronomy 15:6, KJV
"The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow."
Deuteronomy 28:12, KJV
In fact, as I believe I mention in the aforementioned series, I have long suspected that the reason why Emperor Claudius may have kicked the Jews out of Rome -- as other countries have likewise done since that time -- is because the Jewish moneychangers were gaining too much power and influence, and were beginning to take over the city, which obviously made them a threat to Roman nobility. Consider this verse that is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Acts:
"And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them."
Acts 18:2, KJV
Following are some additional verses that are found in the Old Testament where the practice of charging interest to fellow Israelites is frowned upon:
"And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer. Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury. Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise."
Nehemiah 5:1-13, KJV
"He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved."
Psalms 15:5, KJV
"He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor."
Proverbs 28:8, KJV
"But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife, Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment, That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live."
Ezekiel 18:5-17, KJV
In total contrast to the previous verses which condemn this greedy form of usury in which one person enriched himself at the expense of another, in the New Testament, in the Parable of the Ten Talents, Jesus describes money exchangers -- or brokers and bankers -- who paid people interest as a reward for depositing their money in their bank, as we see here:
"His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury."
Matthew 25:26-27, KJV
"And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?"
Luke 19:22-23, KJV
This is in fact how banks are supposed to operate. However, as we all know, many banks have become extremely greedy in our modern day, so that the interest rate which they pay on bank deposits is rather low. In some cases, paid interest is nonexistent altogether, and banks now charge a fee for just about every possible service. Such are the ways of this evil world.
Before we move on to some verses that are found in the pages of the New Testament, I would like to share one more item with you that is found in the Book of the Prophet Malachi. In fact, this may be one of the best prophetic exposés yet; because not only does it reveal one of the other sins of the ancient Israelites, but it demonstrates that this very same sin has existed for thousands of years, and is still very prevalent in the world today, including in the United States of America. I have no doubt that many of my readers will identify with this sin, because you may have very well already experienced it yourself. In the verse that I shared with you earlier, the Lord says through the Prophet Malachi "I will be a swift witness against . . . those that oppress the hireling in his wages".
In the previous sentence, the word "hireling" is derived from the Hebrew word "sakiyr", and refers to hired servants or hired laborers. At the same time, according to the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon, the word "oppress" is derived from the Hebrew word "ashaq". This word means to oppress, wrong, extort, defraud or to obtain deceitfully. Considering that the sentence is talking about wages and hired laborers, the sense I get is that the Lord is accusing the Israelites of not paying the hired laborers fairly. They are cheating, defrauding or deceiving them in some way with regards to their wages. Perhaps they are not even paying them at all. At the very least, it appears that they are not paying the laborers what they truly deserve.
This notion of withholding these hired laborers' wages in some way is confirmed for us a few verses later when the Lord says that not only are the Jews cheating the laborers out of their due pay, but they are robbing Him as well by refusing to pay the tithes and offerings, which had been mandated by the Mosaic Law, as we see here:
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:7-10, KJV
It should be clear to you then that God is opposed to paying substandard wages to workers, or cheating them out of their wages altogether. I am sure that you can understand now why I said that many of you would relate to this sin of ancient Israel. As we learned earlier, many American businesses do the very same thing. They do not pay their employees a fair living wage whatsoever. A lot of American workers -- many of whom have one or more children -- have no choice but to work at minimum wage jobs, where they struggle just to make ends meet. As we have already discussed, many of them even have to work at multiple jobs, due to the selfishness of business owners who will do anything to raise their profit margin, regardless of the negative consequences their actions may have on their employees.
So you see, while many Christians are familiar with the fact that time and time again, the ancient Israelites backslid from the Lord by worshipping pagan gods, and even offered their own children as sacrifices to them, this was not the only thing which offended and angered the Lord. Their harsh, unmerciful treatment of the poor and the needy who dwelt in their midst, their practice of charging interest to their own brethren, their preoccupation with acquiring dishonest gain, and their sin of denying the Lord His due, were also majors issues which contributed to God's repeated judgments against them.
This presents us with another very important question. If the Lord held the ancient Israelites responsible for these crimes against the poor, and judged them as a result of these sins, what can we expect for modern America which commits similar crimes against working Americans, the elderly, the needy and the poor? Should she expect to escape the Lord's righteous judgments?
At the same time, we must ask ourselves why it is that the sins which were committed by the Israelites centuries ago, are the very same sins which are committed by America's rich and elite today. Is there a possible connection? I believe that there is. The truth of the matter is that the people who controlled ancient Israel's purse strings so many millennia ago, are the very same people who control the purse strings of the United States today. My friends, this is not just a wild, unsubstantiated conspiracy theory. If you doubt that this is so, then I encourage you to read such articles as "Welcome to Greater Israel, USA!" and "The International Jew and the Protocols of Zion".
Please go to part four for the continuation of this series.
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