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HIRELING. A laborer who works for his wages. He was ordinarily to be paid at once: “Pay him his wages each day before sunset” (Deut.24.15); compare the parable of the eleventh-hour laborers (Matt.20.1-Matt.20.6). But service might be for a longer time, as when Jacob worked seven years for each of his wives and six years for his flocks and herds, all of which were his hire (Gen.29.15-Gen.29.20, Gen.29.27-Gen.29.28; Gen.30.28-Gen.30.36). A hireling from outside Israel could not eat the Passover (Exod.12.45).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Occurs only 6 times in the Old Testament, and uniformly means a laborer for a wage. In Job 7:1 f there is reference to the hireling’s anxiety for the close of the day. In Isa 16:14 and 21:16 the length of the years of a hireling is referred to, probably because of the accuracy with which they were determined by the employer and the employee. Malachi (3:5) speaks of the oppression of the hireling in his wages, probably by the smallness of the wage or by in some way defrauding him of part of it.

In the New Testament the word "hireling" (misthotos) occurs only in Joh 10:12 f, where his neglect of the sheep is contrasted unfavorably with the care and courage of the shepherd who owns the sheep, who leads them to pasture and lays down his life for their protection from danger and death.