What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About...Fraud?

What does the Bible say about fraud?


The Bible has much to say about fraud. In fact, I will give most of the verses without quoting them, and ask you to look them up for yourself.

The Law of Moses contained several ordinances against fraud. Deuteronomy 22:17 condemns moving a landmark, thereby obtaining extra land by fraud. Deuteronomy 25:13-16 condemns having one set of measures for selling and a separate (larger) measure for buying. Leviticus 6:2-5 says one who obtains something wrongly, including by fraud, should return it with interest before asking God's forgiveness. Leviticus 19:13 condemns defrauding a person by promising wages and then not paying them. When Jesus listed commands for the rich, young ruler (Mark 10:19) he includes "do not defraud," probably the same as "thou shalt not steal."

Psalm 10:3-11 describes the wicked, and verse 7 includes fraud as one of their characteristics. James 5:1-6 talks about oppressive rich people, and fraud is also characteristic of them.

Psalm 37:21 condemns those who borrow and don't repay the debt. Jeremiah 22:13 says one of the sins of the nation of Judah was using a neighbor's services without paying him.

1 Thessalonians 4:6 says simply not to defraud a brother in any matter.

Probably the most condemned fraud in the Bible is using false weights and measures in business. A merchant would use one set of weights in measuring goods to be sold, but a lighter set of weights for weighing the payment, thus getting more gold for less merchandise. Among the passages concerning this practice are Deuteronomy 25:13-16 (mentioned earlier); Amos 8:5; Hosea 12:7; Micah 6:10-13; and Proverbs chapter 20. Proverbs 11:1 and 20:10 are specific about what God thinks about this practice: "A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight." Fraud is one of the few things that merit the description as "an abomination."

I hope this shows that the Bible is full of condemnations of fraud. Of course, one sin is no worse than any other, but if one were to categorize sins based on the number of times the Bible talks about them, fraud would be high on the list.