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Exodus 22:22-27

Context

22:22 “You must not afflict 1  any widow or orphan. 22:23 If you afflict them 2  in any way 3  and they cry to me, I will surely hear 4  their cry, 22:24 and my anger will burn and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children will be fatherless. 5 

22:25 “If you lend money to any of 6  my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender 7  to him; do not charge 8  him interest. 9  22:26 If you do take 10  the garment of your neighbor in pledge, you must return it to him by the time the sun goes down, 11  22:27 for it is his only covering – it is his garment for his body. 12  What else can he sleep in? 13  And 14  when he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am gracious.

1 tn The verb “afflict” is a Piel imperfect from עָנָה (’anah); it has a wide range of meanings: “afflict, oppress, humiliate, rape.” These victims are at the mercy of the judges, businessmen, or villains. The righteous king and the righteous people will not mistreat them (see Isa 1:17; Job 31:16, 17, 21).

2 tn The accusative here is the masculine singular pronoun, which leads S. R. Driver to conclude that this line is out of place, even though the masculine singular can be used in places like this (Exodus, 232). U. Cassuto says its use is to refer to certain classes (Exodus, 292).

3 tn Here again and with “cry” the infinitive absolute functions with a diminished emphasis (GKC 342-43 §113.o).

4 tn Here is the normal use of the infinitive absolute with the imperfect tense to emphasize the verb: “I will surely hear,” implying, “I will surely respond.”

5 sn The punishment will follow the form of talionic justice, an eye for an eye, in which the punishment matches the crime. God will use invading armies (“sword” is a metonymy of adjunct here) to destroy them, making their wives widows and their children orphans.

6 tn “any of” has been supplied.

7 sn The moneylender will be demanding and exacting. In Ps 109:11 and 2 Kgs 4:1 the word is rendered as “extortioner.”

8 tn Heb “set.”

9 sn In ancient times money was lent primarily for poverty and not for commercial ventures (H. Gamoran, “The Biblical Law against Loans on Interest,” JNES 30 [1971]: 127-34). The lending to the poor was essentially a charity, and so not to be an opportunity to make money from another person’s misfortune. The word נֶשֶׁךְ (neshekh) may be derived from a verb that means “to bite,” and so the idea of usury or interest was that of putting out one’s money with a bite in it (See S. Stein, “The Laws on Interest in the Old Testament,” JTS 4 [1953]: 161-70; and E. Neufeld, “The Prohibition against Loans at Interest in the Old Testament,” HUCA 26 [1955]: 355-412).

10 tn The construction again uses the infinitive absolute with the verb in the conditional clause to stress the condition.

11 tn The clause uses the preposition, the infinitive construct, and the noun that is the subjective genitive – “at the going in of the sun.”

12 tn Heb “his skin.”

13 tn Literally the text reads, “In what can he lie down?” The cloak would be used for a covering at night to use when sleeping. The garment, then, was the property that could not be taken and not given back – it was the last possession. The modern idiom of “the shirt off his back” gets at the point being made here.

14 tn Heb “and it will be.”



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