Abominable Commerce

Abominable Commerce January 21, 2015

Balances were essential to commerce in ancient Israel, weighing not only commodities to be bought and sold but in some cases weighing the gold and silver that served as the medium of exchange. A merchant could cheat customers by adjusting the scales to his advantage.

According to Proverbs 11:1, such false balances are an abomination to Yahweh. “Abomination” is a loaded Levitical term. It expresses divine disgust, disgust of such intensity that it leads Yahweh to drive Israel from the land. Abominations pollute the land, and the land itself vomits Israel out. Abominations include idolatry, sexual perversion, the shedding of innocent blood – and false scales. 

Cheating in business is put on a par with worshiping false gods, having sex with your daughter-in-law, murder. It is as socially corrosive and destructive as physical violence because it is in fact a violation, an act of violence.

On the other hand, the Proverb goes on, just balances delight Yahweh. Fair business makes God happy.

What kind of God is this who is disgusted or delighted with something so mundane as our buying and selling?


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