What Does the Bible Say About Stealing Money?

 

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The title is a an actual question that was asked and this post will cover some scriptures in reply.  There are more scriptures in the Bible as well.

One of the Ten Commandments says this.

Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

 

After the Ten Commandments, the Lord God spoke to Moses and gave additional commandments.  Again, this list is not all inclusive.

Leviticus 6:1   And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:

4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,

5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.

 

Here’s another scripture.

Exodus 22:1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.  [emphasis added]

 

The Hebrew people followed this law.  In the two sections of scripture below, the applicable verse will be bolded.

II Samuel 12:12 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

 

Luke 19:1  And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

 

God has nothing against prosperity and riches.  The patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph (who rose to be co-regent of Egypt, directly under Pharoah), Job, Boaz, and others are indicative of the prosperity God gave to those people who walked with him and obeyed him.

Job went through a trial and when he successfully went through it, God gave him twice as much as before.  So God did not have a problem with Job being well off.

Job 42:10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

 

If you read through the Old Testament you will find that God is very much for property rights.

The problem comes in the wrong use of wealth.

Like anything, wealth is under a set of laws set up by God.  It is when those laws are broken is when there is a problem, it is not in the wealth itself.

Proverbs 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

Proverbs 28:27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

 

Job, who was wealthy and successful, referred to his charitable works.

Job 29:12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

 

One of the most common forms of theft is the theft of not paying the tithe.  Now a lot of people dispute and refute that, trying to get out of the responsibility of tithing in various ways.

Some say that we are not under the law.  But the tithe was given before the law of Moses.  Abraham paid tithes to Mechesidek.  That was before the law was instituted.  The law came through Moses.  The historical timeline is Abraham…Isaac…Jacob….Levi (one of the 12 sons of Jacob)….and later, Moses of the tribe of Levi.  So tithing started way before it was codified into law under Moses.

This event was of Abraham giving tithes to Mechisedec is referred to in the New Testament (as well as in the Old Testament).

Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

 

“A tenth part of all”… a tithe means 1/10 or a tenth part or 10%.

In the verse listed below, Jesus was not saying “not” to tithe, he was saying that that alone was not enough…to do other things and not to leave the other (tithing ) undone.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

 

Where the Bible actually calls out a lack of tithing to be theft is in Malachi.  This is the famous tithing chapter.  The whole chapter is very good to read, but I’m going to focus on the tithing verses.  And I am going to bold the one that relates to the initial question, What does the Bible say about stealing money?

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

 

In reference to the importance of giving tithes and offering, discerning ministers, in talking about Job, have pointed out that satan first took his cattle and oxen so that he could no longer give offerings to the Lord.

Job was at the point where he had nothing as he had lost everything.   After God went through his discussion with Job, God addressed Job’s friends. The Lord told the friends to give Job bullocks and rams so that Job could offer up a burnt offering for them.  It was after that offering, that Job’s fortunes were restored.

Job 42: 7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job.

10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

 

While not taking away from what has already been said, as it is applicable, let’s modernize the thought of the theft of money to something that is happening today.

Sometimes theft comes in a form that is not as apparent.  One of the more recent forms of theft is the expansion of the money supply which has led to inflation.  That is a form of theft.

Unnecessary government regulations that oppress businesses and force them to shut down is another form of theft.

You can probably think of others.

It is apparent that this manipulation of the economy is engineered by a certain group that wants to amass power and wealth to itself.

The Bible says that this will happen in the last days.  And this is verdict.

James 5:3 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

 

This is a bit of a curious verse as gold and silver don’t rust.

In looking through some various resources on the question, while there is no one consensus, there is a general thought goes something like this.

A certain amount of the amassed gold and silver was to have been used for something other than simply amassing wealth for the sake of self-adulation.  That part, which should have been sent out for some good, for some perishable good that would have been a timely help in the perishable realm, and was not sent out, in the last judgement will turn and be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.

God’s laws, if followed, will solve the problems of personal finances as well as those of society as a whole.  However, like the Constitution, when these laws are tinkered with, things get worse.

When it comes to money, tithing, and other financial laws as well, God set up a system like gravity.  A person who would want to disprove the law of gravity would be find that he cannot break the law, but that the law breaks him.

 

 

 

 


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