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The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially important.

  1. They had the right of gleaning the fields (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19, 21).

  2. In the sabbatical year, they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:6).

  3. In the year of jubilee, they recovered their property (Lev. 25:25-30).

  4. Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down (Ex. 22:25-27; Deut. 24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deut. 15:7-11).

  5. In the sabbatical and jubilee years, the bond-servant was to go free (Deut. 15:12-15; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-54).

  6. Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor (Deut. 14:28-29; 26:12-13).

  7. They shared in the feasts (Deut. 16:11, 14; Neh. 8:10).

  8. Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Lev. 19:13).

In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 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 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:7-13; Eph. 4:28).

This word is used figuratively in Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2 Cor. 8:9; Rev. 3:17.