Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?
Why does the Torah speak about people selling their daughters (Exodus 21:7-11)? It may sound archaic but we must remember that these laws were given within the context of a M. Eastern society living 3,600 years ago. This text may therefore seem useless to us today, but what about the principle behind the text?
This law was formulated as a system of protection towards the vulnerable poor of the land. God created the poor (Proverbs 22:2) and Yeshua said that the poor is always with us (Matthew 26:11). Caused by man’s cruel and unfair economic systems, poverty is part of our present society and whereas the Father does not interfere with the general affairs of mankind, He still desires to protect the poor. This protection is brought about by laws condemning the abuse of the poor.
As poverty today forces one out of his home, in these days the practice was that a man would sell his daughter for a price to pay his debts. But because she was a daughter of Israel she was to be respected, and this young girl was not to be used as the buyer’s private property. If he sexually approached her, he was to marry her and automatically grant her the full rights and privileges of a wife.
This law and others is part of a sort of ‘Bills of Rights’ for the poor of the land. Solomon wrote much about the poor and of the judgment against those who abuse them. To have mercy and respect towards the poor is as much a part of Torah constitution as the keeping the Sabbath. All the more, we will be treated in our time of trouble in the same way we treated others in theirs. Our actions for or against the poor are measured in the heavenly balances of judgment for or against our favor.
We cannot do much about the decisions made by selfish and wicked men in power, but we can all share with those in need and we can certainly refrain from abusing them. Let’s remember: we are all poor in the eyes of Hashem. In Hebrew, the words ‘charity’ and ‘righteousness’ are synonymous and James, the brother of the Master gave stern instructions concerning the poor to the Messianic Congregations of his days (James 1:27; 2:2-6).
The law of the sold daughter includes another interesting clause. If the buyer abuses the young girl but does not retain her as a wife, the father then retains the right to redeem her back to him. This is eschatological as even though God has sold the Virgin of the Daughter of Zion to captivity and exile, He reserves Himself the right to redeem her if she is abused. Israel therefore having been abused by the nations still retains the right to be redeemed.