Original Research

Of poverty prevention in the Pentateuch as a continuing contemporary challenge

Eben Scheffler
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a869 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.869 | © 2013 Eben Scheffler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 May 2013 | Published: 01 November 2013

About the author(s)

Eben Scheffler, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article surveyed how the theme of poverty and caring for the poor functions in the Pentateuch in its legal as well as narrative sections. It included the discussion of a (hopefully) representative selection of texts where the various Hebrew terms (ani or anw, ebjon and dal) are employed, but also where they are absent but the issue is present. Attention is (amongst others) paid to the goodness of creation as counter-pole for poverty in Genesis 1–3, poverty prevention in the Joseph novella, the Exodus as liberation text, the survival of the Israelites during the desert journey (Dt 8) and the specific measures prescribed in the Covenant Code (Ex 20:22–23:33), the Deuteronomic Code (Dt 12–26) and the Holiness Code (Lv 17–26). It is contended that the various expressions regarding poverty originated and functioned contingently in their ancient contemporary contexts but that they can also be critically appropriated in present-day contemporary contexts – for which a great need exists. The article concluded with ten (preliminary) statements to the latter effect.


globalisation; hermeneutics; Pentateuch; poverty eradication


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Crossref Citations

1. The poor in the Psalms: A variety of views
Eben H. Scheffler
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 36  issue: 1  year: 2015  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v36i1.1478