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for that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin; what would he sleep in? It will happen when he cries to me, that I will hear, for I am gracious. Bible

“for that is his only covering.” In the biblical time clothing and blankets were hand-made, and therefore it was common for people, even people who were not considered “poor,” to only have one outer cloak, which they would use as a blanket and covering at night. God is so merciful that He commands that if such a person has to give his cloak as collateral for a loan of some kind, even if something unexpected happens and he cannot repay the loan by nightfall, his cloak must be returned to him so he can have a restful night’s sleep. But it is likely that the man would have to give the cloak back to the lender again the next day as security for the loan—the loan is not forgiven just because the poor man could not pay it back immediately.

As part of the Torah, God’s “instruction book,” this record should teach us that God cares for the poor and needy and that just because a person cannot repay a loan or debt does not mean that we should not give the person extra time to repay the loan.


Commentary for: Exodus 22:27