I began this series (see all of my posts in the series here) a couple of months ago because I was interested in learning more about how the Bible, and the Mosaic Law in particular, teaches us to treat the poor. I have definitely learned some good principles that I am going to try and put into practice. I have also learned that I have a lot more to learn.
My interest in this topic began last year when I read an article by Bob Deffinbaugh titled “Taking Interest in Your Neighbor” which discussed ancient Israel’s “safety net” for the poor as provided by the Mosaic Law. After reading it several times I decided that the Mosaic Law is much more humane than it is given credit for.
I also kept looking for more information on the topic of a Scripture-based approach on how to treat the poor. In due time I stumbled upon the Judaism 101 web site which listed all 613 commandments contained in the Mosaic Law sorted by topic. Sure enough, I noticed that thirteen of the commands given in the Mosaic Law dealt with the poor (according to their reckoning). What was also interesting was that many of these commands were not dealt with in detail in Bob Deffinbaugh’s article. I had some new information to study!
So, over the past few weeks I have looked at each of the thirteen mitzvots (commands) concerning treatment of the poor and pulled together Jewish based commentary (I don’t know if a Rabbi would call it a commentary) and two different Christian commentaries. By scholarly standards it isn’t much but I benefited from it.
I came away with two major impressions from this: (more…)