Deuteronomy 15 is giving laws and rules relating to the treatment of the poor in communities. Verse 4 says:

However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess

But verse 11 says:

For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

What is the solution to the apparent contradiction here? Obviously we have poor with us today, so is verse 4 based upon a condition of obedience?

1 Answer 1


Verse 5 is a continuation of 4 which ends with a comma.

, 5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.

So it is saying if you were to do these things then you will have no poor. Verse 11 is pretty much saying that we either cannot or are will not do these things so we will always have the poor with us.

  • But verse 10 says You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings., which to me implies that even after God blesses all our work, we will still "always have the poor with us"
    – SSumner
    Apr 16, 2013 at 15:19
  • 1
    I think we have a guide for us as individuals, and then an overall guide for society at large. To say if we did the things mentioned earlier as a society we could have the result of no poor. After that I think it gets into our personal responsibilities.
    – mrhobbeys
    Apr 16, 2013 at 15:38

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