It's always interesting to me to see how some Biblical concepts are handed down through the years. In this verse, Solomon is giving advice to his son, and we can listen in and learn.
Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.Some years later, Shakespeare wrote these words in Hamlet --- again, it's a father giving wise words to his son:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be." Polonius, in HamletThen further along the timeline of this world, we see a sage in Philadelphia, glasses perched on his nose, writing in Poor Richard's Almanac:
"Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."Then we come to the Depression era, where my grandma learned this:
"Use it up, wear it out,Is Solomon (and thus the Holy Spirit) telling us it's absolutely, positively wrong to borrow? That to go into debt is sinful? I may get some argument here, but I don't think that is the case.
Make it do, or do without."
I believe that the caution here is to be wise when you do borrow . . . there are not many people in this world that can pay cash for a home. Or walk in and buy a set of wheels with the cash in their pocket (or their bank account, for that matter.) There are some times that we simply have to do the best we can. I think that being a wise steward of the resources that God has given us, means to examine fine print, to shop for rates, and to make certain that the purchase is something we actually need, not just something that caught our eye and our imagination.
Being a wise steward also will mean that we will make an extra payment when we can, and we will budget wisely. That we'll not be averse to taking a second job, or working at tasks that we may not be in love with. (Yep, I've done that before.)
There are many references in the Scriptures that condemn usury, or heavy-handed lending practices. Even the Mosaic law set up some guidelines on borrowing, lending, hiring workers and keeping and releasing slaves.
Should we lend to others who are in dire straits? As Christians, I believe that is one reason why we are sometimes blessed with extra -- so that we can be blessed by the act of giving to others.
Check out Deuteronomy 28:12:
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.God promised Israel that they would experience abundance, and then explained the reason for it. While we are being careful not to be "bitten" by the loan "sharks" in this present day, perhaps we can learn from these verses and give freely to those in need.