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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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"Take his garment (saith the wise man) that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman." (Proverbs 20:16) This was indeed done in the person of the strangers' best and truest friend, when the Lord Jesus came from his heavenly home to be a Surety for more than strangers, yea, enemies to God by wicked works. Nevertheless, in the common circumstances of human life between man and man, the tender mercies of God over Israel, commanded that they should be very cautious how they took pledges and retained them. The law of pledges seems to have been, that in cases where the word or assurance of the borrower might be doubted, some valuable article should be left with the lender by way of assuring payment. But it is really blessed to observe how tenderly the Lord himself interposed, that usury and unkindness might not creep in among his people. "No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge, for he taketh a man's life to pledge." (Deuteronomy 24:6) By these the man grinds his daily bread, and therefore he will starve if the implements for providing his food be taken from him. And in a spiritual sense how much higher the argument runs! Take not away the means and ordinances of worship, by the use of which, under the blessing of God, the bread of life is administered to him.

So again: The Lord prohibited the lender from entering the borrower's house to take his pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:10) Every man's house is his castle; to enter it therefore is a violation of all right, and especially to enter it in order to oppress. And the law of pledges went farther. If a poor man through necessity had compelled him to pawn his garment, the law enjoined that the lender should not sleep with his pledge. "In any case, saith the Lord, thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee." And as an additional motive to the exercise of this mercy, the Lord declared that such regard to a poor brother the Lord would consider as done to himself. "It shall be, (said the Lord,) righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God." (Deuteronomy 24:10-13) Precious Jesus! I would say as I read those sweet Scriptures of mercy, I have pledged to thee all I have, and all I am; and do I not see in this blessed command of thine thy gracious tenderness of heart to give me all my justly forfeited pledges, that the sun may not go down and I be found naked, but sleep secure in thy garment of salvation, that my soul may bless thee! This is indeed the Lord's righteousness, which is upon all, and unto all, that believe. Oh, that the usurers of the present day would read those Scriptures, and be no longer so, but like Job, "drive not away the ass of the father less, and taken of the widow's ox for pledge!" (Job 24:3)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Pledge'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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