XVI. (1.92) Moreover, it appears that Moses has in other passages also taken the sun as a symbol of the great Cause of all things, of which I seen an instance in the law which is enacted with respect to those who borrow on pledges: let us recite the law, “If thou takest as a pledge the garment of thy neighbour, thou shalt give it back before the setting of the sun: for it is his covering, it is his only covering of his nakedness, in which he lies down. If he cries unto me I will hearken unto him, for I am Merciful.”{27}{#ex 22:26.} (1.93) Is it not natural that those who fancy that the lawgiver displays such earnestness about a garment should, if they do not reproach him, at least make a suggestion, saying, “What are ye saying, my good men? Do ye affirm that the Creator and ruler of the world calls himself merciful with respect to so trivial a matter, as that of a garment not being restored to the borrower by the lender?” (1.94) These are the opinions and notions of men who have never had the least conception or comprehension of the virtue of the almighty God, and who, contrary to all human and divine law, impart the triviality of human affairs to the uncreate and immortal nature, which is full of happiness, and blessedness, and perfection; (1.95) for in what respect do those lenders act unreasonably, who retain in their own hands the pledges which are deposited with them as security, until they receive back their own which they have lent? The debtors are poor, some one will perhaps say, and it is right to pity them: would it not have been reasonable and better to enact a law in accordance with which a contribution should be made to assist their necessities, rather than allow them to appear as debtors, or else one which should forbid the lending on pledges at all? But the law which has permitted the lending on pledges, cannot fairly be indignant against those who will not give up the pledges which they have received before the proper time, as if they were acting unjustly. (1.96) But if any one having come, so to say, to the very farthest limits of poverty, and, being clothed in rags, loads himself with new debts, neglecting the pity which he receives from the bystanders, which is freely bestowed, upon those who fall into such misfortunes, in their own houses, and in the temples, and in the market-place, and everywhere; (1.97) such a one brings and offers to his creditor, the only covering which he had for his shame, with which he has been wont to cover the secret parts of his nature, as a pledge for something. For what, I pray? Is it for some other and better garment? For no one is unprovided with necessary food as long as the springs of the rivers bubble up, and the torrents flow abundantly, and the earth gives forth its annual fruits. (1.98) Again, is any creditor so covetous of riches, or so very cruel, or so perverse, as not to be willing to contribute a tetradrachm, or even less, to one in distress? Or is any one so stingy as to be willing to lend it, but to refuse to give it? or as to take the only garment that the poor man has as a pledge? which indeed under another name may fairly be called running away with a man’s clothes; {28}{the Greek word is loµpodyteoµ. A loµpodyteµs was one who frequented the baths for the purpose of stealing the clothes of the bathers.} for men who do this are accustomed to put on other peoples’ clothes, and steal them, and to leave the proper owners naked. (1.99) And why has the law provided so carefully that the debtor may not be without his clothes by night, and that he may not lie down to sleep without them, but has not paid the same attention to the fact of his being indecorously naked by day? Are not all things concealed by night and darkness, so as to cause less shame, or rather none at all at that time, but are they not disclosed by day and by light, so as then to compel persons to blush more freely? (1.100) And why does the law not use the expression “to give,” but “to restore?” For restoration takes place with respect to the property of other persons, but pledges belong rather to those who have lent on them than to those who have borrowed on them. Moreover, do you not perceive that the law has not enjoined the debtor, who has received back his garment that it may serve as bed-clothes, to bring it back again to his creditor at the return of daylight? (1.101) And, indeed, if the exact propriety of the language be considered, even the most stupid person may see that there is something additional meant beyond what is formally expressed. For the injunction rather resembles a maxim than a recommendation. For, if a person had been giving a recommendation, he would have said: “Give back to your debtor, at the approach of evening, the garment which has been pledged to you, if it be the only garment that he is possessed of, that he may have something with which to cover himself at night.” But one who was laying down a maxim would speak thus; as indeed the law does here, “For it is his garment, the only covering of his nakedness, in which he will lie down to sleep.”