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In the Gates

Pledges and Livelihood

The Sixth Commandment

No pledge could jeopardize one’s livelihood.


Deuteronomy 24.6

No one shall take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge, for that would be taking a life in pledge.”

Taking someone’s livelihood in pledge for a loan was absolutely forbidden. It is part of being in the image of God for men to work; thus, no one could deprive another of his vocation and means of support without, at the same time, assaulting his dignity as the image-bearer of God.

Loans were not encouraged, but, of course, they were necessary from time to time. With the loan came the pledge, usually a physical token given to the lender as a declaration of intent to repay. But that pledge could not be of the sort that jeopardized a man’s ability to provide for himself and his family or to repay his pledge, or that compromised his dignity as the image-bearer of God. Nor, if he was a Hebrew, could interest be fixed to the loan (although there is a debate about whether the issue is interest or inordinate interest, that is, usury).

We are now accepting registrations for the course, Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival. This free, six-session course by T. M. Moore allows you to study by yourself or with a mentor, and includes free resources from Patrick, Columbanus, Luther, and Edwards, among others. Visit The Ailbe Seminary for more information on this training opportunity.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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