Going into Debt–in 664 B.C.

Assyrians came, conquered, and kicked everyone out: Tablets reveal ...

(Source: Biblical Archaeology Review, Summer 2020)

You think you’ve got troubles with the finance company? Hah!

The clay tablet in the picture is a legal document from 664 B.C., discovered at Tel Hadid in central Israel, which was then under Assyrian rule. The document is the record of a loan in which the borrower agreed to pay 33% interest if his bill was overdue… and he had to put up his wife and sister as collateral! “Rocky” would come and take them away if the loan was not repaid on time. (Does this shed any light on the Bibles consistent condemnation of usury?)

Those seem like pretty harsh terms to me. You’re better off with Household Finance.

The document doesn’t say what the borrower needed the loan for. Probably not smart pills. Obviously they weren’t making them back then.


7 comments on “Going into Debt–in 664 B.C.

  1. What I’d like to know is how much the loan was for, proportionately to average income. If the wife and sister were considered worth the equivalent of 3 trillion dollars, well, okay, that’s a compliment. But for a measly 100 bucks or so? The guy would be lucky not to get suicided by the wife and sister after he repaid the loan. Hmph.

  2. If that contract was legal today, some men might go for it because it would be an easier way to get rid of his wife besides divorce or murder. I see where archaeologists have discovered ancient altars in Israel with cannabis on them, the kind with THC. They assumed it was used to get the people high as part of the religious ritual. There is a church in Fayetteville, AR that is based on using cannabis as part of their worship (they have found some way of getting around the law). There is even a International Church of Cannisbis. I guess they are worshiping a weed.

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