“When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not enter his house to collect what he offers as security.” (Deuteronomy 24:10 HCSB)
When I was first introduced to this verse (and those that follow) some 20 or so years ago I remember trying to discuss how the passage was related to such groups as bail bondsmen, pawn shops, etc. Despite the different situations, there is a theme of not taking advantage of other’s bad situations as well as the idea of biblical justice (doing right).
In the time period this was being written, to take someone’s cloak at night was to leave them without a blanket. To take someone’s “tools” (millstone) was to leave them unable to (a) make bread to eat, or (b) possibly make a living via the same.
The theme of justice and not taking as collateral/security/pledge something that is necessary for daily living is found throughout this passage.
It becomes very clear that God cares, that God has compassion on people in such situations and that compassion, not collateral should drive our decision making in these moments.
True justice is doing what is right – in God’s eyes.
Let’s all strive for compassion and justice in our daily lives.