Seven Provocative Old Testament Facts About the Poor

In our modern era of unbridled capitalism, many believers have adopted a worldly attitude toward the poor. Many simply view poverty as a symptom of laziness and a lack of motivation. However, the Old Testament takes a very different approach in its view of the poor.

Here are seven obscure facts about Israel’s responsibility toward the poor taken directly from the Old Testament that will challenge you to rethink God’s view of poverty.

1. The Old Testament forbids the charging of interest when lending to the poor

Exodus 22:25 – “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.”


2. God’s people are responsible for helping the poor

Leviticus 25:35,36 – “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.”


3. It is a sin to resent the poor

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 – “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’


4. Employers who oppress their poor employees (including foreign workers) are guilty of sin

Deuteronomy 24:14,15 – “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.


5. Unjust treatment of the poor is an act of open disrespect to God

Proverbs 14:31Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.


6. Those who lend to the poor become God’s creditor

Proverbs 19:17 – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 22:9 – A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. (HCSB)


7. Ignore the poor and God will ignore you

Proverbs 21:13 – Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Isaiah 58:7,8 – “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”


* All verses taken from the English Standard Version (ESV), unless otherwise stated.

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Jerry Robinson has been teaching the Word of God since 2002. His desire through this website is to help others know God's Word and to be sensitive to His voice. He is a grateful husband and proud father. He resides deep within the Boston Mountains in Northwest Arkansas.

'Seven Provocative Old Testament Facts About the Poor' have 4 comments

  1. July 12, 2015 @ 5:11 pm Kavinah

    This is awesome. I have never understood our relation with the poor in this light though I know most of those scriptures.
    Thanks for a great work here. Lot’s to digest.


  2. August 3, 2015 @ 10:00 pm Calvin Williams

    Brother Jerry, I say brother because i believe you are a man of God. I read your latest book, I thank God for you sharing the truth. You are a gift from heaven! You just dont know what a blessing your book and your website has been to me. Man stay on the Wall !! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! May God riches be yours.


  3. April 27, 2016 @ 5:50 pm Don Vito

    Here’s your answer.
    Matthew 16:26
    For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?
    Mark 10:25
    “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
    Job 9:24
    The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?

    Read also the story of the Rich man and Lazarus, after they died there’s a chasm that separates them where Lazarus rest on the bosom of Abraham and the Rich man on burning hot Hades.
    To be honest, if you have passion in reading the Bible and understand the Word of God, you’d be inclined to a vow of poverty and simple life, while everything this world offers becomes a bitter pill on your tongue. This is not the final destination, we were meant for better things in the afterlife, and that’s God’s promise to His believers who obey His will.


  4. November 11, 2017 @ 9:20 am Raymond Jones

    The LORD said, if a man don’t work, he shouldn’t eat. In this day and time we live in a land of plenty, there are jobs some people just won’t take. I have a son who has 6 children and won’t go out and get a job to support them, he owes child support and think that he don’t have to pay it. The Mexicans take the jobs that the young Americans won’t, this is a blessing in two ways, it take care of the poor Mexican and it helps our economy. In America, welfare is the norm and it is easy to get on, why work if the government is giving you freebies, you get free Medicaid, food stamps, and free money. King Solomon spoke out about a lazy man and like him, I say work beats wishing. In our world we have video games, a lot of young men would rather set on the couch than find a job and the women of today rather have babies and collect welfare instead of educating themselves, GOD can’t be to please to seeing all of this. We seniors have become poor by retiring, a lot of us get less than $10,000 a year and the cost of living takes 90% of that, you work all your life and in the end you become poor, our government spends our money and give a lot of it to other countries to rebuild and they are our enemies, this money should stay here, well I have said enough for now. GOD BLESS YOU ALL’


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