The problems associated with debt are as ancient as society itself, from ancient Greece and Rome (circa 800 B.C.), Egypt to Asia, history documents its pervasiveness. The Bible also discusses it throughout as it warns against debt, praises the merits of not going into debt, and issues condemnation for lenders who abuse those indebted to them. Paul implores us to owe nothing (Rom. 13:8), Proverbs 22:7 tells us “The borrower is the slave of the lender”.
The term “debt bondage” or “debt slavery” (a person’s pledge of their labor or services, or of those of a person under his control, as security for the repayment of a debt) is not a new one, the practice has been in use for thousands of years, including in ancient Israel, and was commonplace up through even the 19th century. But unlike the Bible that mandates release from debt and/or debt bondage after seven years, in the rest of the world the terms of the repayment of debt were often undefined making quittance nearly impossible and regularly resulted in lifelong servitude.