International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The Hebrew word neshekh is from a root which means "to bite"; thus interest is "something bitten off." The other word, mashsa’, means "lending on interest." The Greek term is from the root tikto, "to produce" or "beget," hence, interest is something begotten or produced by money. The Hebrew words are usually translated "usury," but this meant the same as interest, all interest being reckoned as usury.

In the New Testament, references to interest occur in the parable of the Pounds (Lu 19:23) and of the Talents (Mt 25:27). Here the men were expected to put their master’s money out at interest, and condemnation followed the failure to do so. Thus the principle of receiving interest is not condemned in the Old Testament, only it was not to be taken from a brother Israelite. In the New Testament it is distinctly encouraged.

See also USURY.

J. J. Reeve