Micah 4:4, A New Economic Order
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
//When the Israelites escaped from the bondage of Egypt, they set about making a law code which would affirm the value of every life in the congregation. Never again would a life be lived with no hope of anything but slavery. No longer would the land belong only to a few rich folk, who benefited from the labor of others. Among the laws Israel enacted are these new economic principles, taken from marcus Borg’s new book, Convictions:
– Every family was to have its own piece of agricultural land.
– This land could not be bought or sold.
– No interest was to be charged on debts.
– Every seventh year, all debts were to be forgiven.
– Every fiftieth year, any land lost through foreclosure (inability to pay one’s debt) was to be returned to the original owner, without compensation.
The idea was to create a world very different from Egypt; one in which every family had the material basis they needed to survive. It didn’t work. Israel fell under kingship, lands began to be appropriated, and the dream fell apart. But it never died. The prophets continued to promise a day when, under God’s leadership, Israel would accomplish the dream. Today’s verse is an example: One day, the prophet Micah promised, everyone would sit peaceably under their own fig tree, rather than tending the orchard of another.
Are we getting close, yet?