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Scripture references to usury, interest


The definition of usury in the religious books is the practise of charging interest on money or other goods. Interest causes many problems because interest is systematically unsound so all interest is usury [+]. Usury works to the advantage of the rich, turning the poor into slaves. Currently, the short time bias created by usury destroys human living conditions.

In a monetary system based on usury there is no wrongdoing in accepting interest on money as a compensation for the loss of purchasing power due to monetary inflation that is the result of usury. Not accepting interest on usury money does not change the usury monetary system. Only when an alternative is available, it is better not to accept interest on money.

In Matthew 25:14-29 and Luke 19:11-26 Jesus mentioned putting money in the bank at interest. From the story one can conclude that Jesus did not condemn charging interest. God has another opinion on the issue. The Tanakh (Old Testament) and The Quran are clear and condemn charging interest outright.

References from the Old Testament

Taken from: - Scripture references to usury, interest.

Exodus 22:25-27

25. If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.
26. If you ever take your neighbor's garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down.
27. For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious.

Leviticus 25:35-37

35. If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
36. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.
37. You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.

Deuteronomy 23:19,20

19. You shall not charge interest to your brother -- interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.
20. To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.

Nehemiah 5:10,11

10. I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury! 11. Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."

Psalm 15:5

5. He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Proverbs 28:8

8. One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

Isaiah 24:1-3

1. Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, Distorts its surface And scatters abroad its inhabitants.
2. And it shall be: As with the people, so with the priest; As with the servant, so with his master; As with the maid, so with her mistress; As with the buyer, so with the seller; As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
3. The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, For the Lord has spoken this word.

Jeremiah 15:10

10. Woe is me, my mother, That you have borne me, A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, Nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me.

Ezekiel 18:7-9

7. If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing;
8. If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man;
9. If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully -- He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 18:13

13. If he has exacted usury Or taken increase -- Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.

Ezekiel 18:17

17. Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes -- He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!

Ezekiel 22:12

12. In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me," says the Lord God.

References from the New Testament

Taken from: - Scripture references to usury, interest.

Matthew 25:14-29

14. For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
16. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
18. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his Lord's money.
19. After a long time the Lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'
21. His Lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.'
22. He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
23. His Lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.'
24. Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25. 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26. But his Lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27. 'So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28. 'Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29. 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.

Luke 19:11-26

11. Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
12. Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
13. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'
14. But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
15. And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16. Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'
17. And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
18. And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
19. Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
20. Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
21. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22. And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
23. 'Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
24. And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.'
25. ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.')
26. 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

References from the Quran

Taken from: - Usury and interest in Islam.

2:275. Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.

2:276-280. God condemns usury, and blesses charities. God dislikes every disbeliever, guilty. O you who believe, you shall observe God and refrain from all kinds of usury, if you are believers. If you do not, then expect a war from God and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice. If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew.

2:282. O you who believe, when you transact a loan for any period, you shall write it down. An impartial scribe shall do the writing. No scribe shall refuse to perform this service, according to God's teachings. He shall write, while the debtor dictates the terms. He shall observe God his Lord and never cheat. If the debtor is mentally incapable, or helpless, or cannot dictate, his guardian shall dictate equitably. Two men shall serve as witnesses; if not two men, then a man and two women whose testimony is acceptable to all. Thus, if one woman becomes biased, the other will remind her. It is the obligation of the witnesses to testify when called upon to do so. Do not tire of writing the details, no matter how long, including the time of repayment. This is equitable in the sight of God, assures better witnessing, and eliminates any doubts you may have. Business transactions that you execute on the spot need not be recorded, but have them witnessed. No scribe or witness shall be harmed on account of his services. If you harm them, it would be wickedness on your part. You shall observe God, and God will teach you. God is Omniscient.

3:130. O you who believe, you shall not take usury, compounded over and over. Observe God, that you may succeed.

4:161. And for practicing usury, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them painful retribution.

7:157. "(4) follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Mohammed), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel. He exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones."

30:39. The usury that is practiced to increase some people's wealth, does not gain anything at God. But if you give to charity, seeking God's pleasure, these are the ones who receive their reward manifold.