Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Poor : The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially important.

  1. They had the right of gleaning the fields (Leviticus 19:9,10; Deuteronomy 24:19,21).
  2. In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:6).
  3. In the year of jubilee they recovered their property (Leviticus 25:25-30).
  4. Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down (Exodus 22:25-27; Deuteronomy 24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deuteronomy 15:7-11).
  5. In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was to go free (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Leviticus 25:39-42,47-54).
  6. Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28,29; 26:12,13).
  7. They shared in the feasts (Deuteronomy 16:11,14; Nehemiah 8:10).
  8. Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Leviticus 19:13).

In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Galatians 2:10; James 2:15,16) we have similar injunctions given with reference to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament, while it was so in the New Testament times (Luke 16:20,21, etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is forbidden, and all such are enjoined to "work with their own hands" as a Christian duty (1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-13; Ephesians 4:28). This word is used figuratively in Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 3:17.

Related Resources
  • Smith’s Bible Dictionary