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The History of Lending

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Money lending has a long and documented history:

  • The origins of the word mortgage come from the ancient French words mort (death), and gage (a pledge). The word mortgage literally translates to "Death Pledge." The great jurist Sir Edward Coke, who lived from 1552 to 1634, has explained why the term mortgage comes from the Old French words mort, "dead," and gage, "pledge." It seemed to him that it had to do with the doubtfulness of whether or not the mortgagor will pay the debt. If the mortgagor does not, then the land pledged to the mortgagee as security for the debt "is taken from him for ever, and so dead to him upon condition, and if he doth pay the money, then the pledge is dead as to the [mortgagee]." This etymology, as understood by 17th-century attorneys, of the Old French term mortgage, which we adopted, may well be correct. However, taking out a mortgage did not mean that the mortgagee (sic.) expected to die if he did not pay back the mortgage; it merely meant that his entitlement to the mortgaged property would cease if he fell behind on his payments. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • The narrative of Jesus and the Money Changers occurs in both the Synoptic Gospels and in the Gospel of John, although it also occurs close to the end of the Synoptic Gospels at Mark 11:15-19, 11:27-33, Matthew 21:12-17,21:23-27andLuke 19:45-48, 20:1-8, but close to the start in John (at John 2:12-25). As a result, some biblical scholars think there may have been two incidents. In the episode, Jesus is stated to have visited the Temple in Jerusalem, Herod's Temple, at which the courtyard is described as being filled with livestock and the tables of the money changers. Jesus took offense to this, and so, creating a whip from some cords, drives out the livestock, scatters the coins of the money changers and turns over their tables, and those of the people selling doves.
  • The Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13 (King James Version) . . . and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

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