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Credit, Creditor

See also Credit

CREDIT, CREDITOR. There is no technical term for “credit” in the commercial sense in either OT or NT, yet both include terms for “creditor” in the sense of one who has lent money or goods to a debtor. Under the Torah (Deut 23:19) no creditor (nōs̱eh) could require interest from an Israelite borrower, but only from a foreigner. He could only require a pledge (generally some valued possession) to guarantee repayment of the principal. In later times, however, there may have been some evasion of this rule against usury; at any rate many a mortgage was foreclosed and many children of debtors taken off into slavery by heartless creditors, (e.g., 2 Kings 4:1), and there certainly was a term for interest (nes̱ekLev 25:37; Deut 23:20). Ezekiel mentions (18:17) the exacting of interest as a common practice of the wicked. By NT times the scruples against moneylending at interest (or at least so as to victimize the poor) had been forgotten even by the punctilious Pharisees, who “devour widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40). Christ referred to a creditor (daneistēs) who generously forgave his debtor 500 denarii (Luke 7:41). See also Debt, Debtor.