Bankruptcy and the Bible

Submitted by Shawn Orcutt on Fri, 10/23/2020 - 9:52am

Bankruptcy and the Bible

 

I don’t delve into the history of things too often, but sometimes it is valuable to know where something came from and why it exists.  Title 11 of the Federal Code is known as the Bankruptcy Code.  The modern version we are familiar with really came about back 1933-34, with some significant updates in 1978, 1995, and then 2005.  The US had the roots of many of its laws going back to England’s and they had their own bankruptcy laws, and Italy/Rome before them, and all the way back to the New and Old Testaments of the Bible. 

 

What it means to be in debt

This is from the New King James Version and depending on your version you may see, “slave” instead of, “servant.”

Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.”

 

7 years between cases

For many decades the minimum time between Bankruptcy cases in the US was 7 years.  (It can now be between 2 and 8 depending on the Chapter of Bankruptcy filed.)  The, “7 years” standard was also based on the Old Testament with:

Deuteronomy 15:1-2, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release.”

 

Deuteronomy 15:12-14  “If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.  And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed;  you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord your God has blessed you with, you shall give to him.

 

Saint Andrews

This last part I remember from Sunday mornings at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church.

Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”

 

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