“Do not steal from, defraud or lie to each other.”
From verse 11 of Leviticus 19, God’s focus changes from social responsibility for the poor to civil law.
God starts off by saying “Thou shall not steal…”.
Are you beginning to now see why Leviticus 19 is often considered to be a Torah within the Torah, since it expounds on many of the principles we were first introduced to in Exodus and then the earlier parts of Leviticus?
Verse 11 verse also hearkens back to the 9th Word, “thou shall not lie”.
We are told that we are not to deceive or engage in unfair dealings with another person.
This idea that one is to be honest in one’s business dealings with others was quite a radical departure from the norm that was characteristic of the Middle Eastern or oriental cultures of that day.
In most Arab and in many oriental cultures, getting the best of a business deal by lying, cheating, or holding back certain key information was considered considered a positive and praiseworthy trait.
I’ve lived in the Orient for about 16 years now, and I can attest that this is true.
Being sneaky and conniving is seen as being wise and cunning.
The unfortunate side effect of this way of thinking is that it rarely leads to a win-win situation.
One side wins and one side always has to lose.
We, on the other hand, as a people chosen by God, are to hold ourselves to a higher standard.
This doesn’t mean we are to be pushovers in our business dealings however.
There’s nothing wrong with being intelligent, doing our homework and driving a hard bargain.
However, I believe the outcome of a business deal should ultimately satisfy all all parties.
God’s set-apart people are to be above-board and fair.
One prominent idea you’ll see appear again and again in the Talmud is the importance of fair dealing and justice.
Those ideals became the bulwarks of Hebrew thinking and society.
Is it any wonder the Jewish people have been so successful in business?
Due to the TORAH’s emphasis on fair treatment and dealing, the Hebrews have also always had a heart for the underdog.
Fortunately, this is a virtue America also greatly values.
Even Israel’s current political situation in the Middle East is that of an underdog.
They are outnumbered and surrounded by enemies who literally want to have them wiped off of the map due to inhabiting the land God has given to them.
And now even much of the world, including the UN, are turning against Israel.