Deu 22:8          Safety measures for house

“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have blood guilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it.”

What is commanded?

  • parapet or railing during construction
  • house must have safety railing on the roof
  • safety measures during construction


What is God protecting by this command?

  • safety of inhabitants of a building
  • safety of laborers during their work
Modern day application
  • Example: missing railings on roofs, bridges
  • Example: no parapet for construction workers
  • Example: ship breaking yard workers at high risk
  • Example: painters with no safety measures
  • Example: Garments factory workers, buildings with no proper fire exits.
  • Example: House helpers

What is God protecting?

  • safety of the inhabitants of a house
  • safety of construction workers on the job


Who is responsible for safety measures?

  • the owner or builder of the house
  • Who is responsible for workers’ safety?
  • the owner or employer of the factory


Blood guilt on the house?

  • innocent bloodshed brings a curse.

God ensures rights and safety of laborers
God ensures rights and safety of normal people

Other modern day examples where this principle applies?
  • Foot bridges
  • State of roads and landings
  • Building construction
  • Demolishing of buildings
  • Quality of food
  • Quality of medicines
  • Maintenance of traffic rules
  • safety of the inhabitants of a house
  • safety of construction workers on the job
  • the owner or builder of the house
Work Contract?

What is the oral contract of a day laborer?

  • 8 hours labor = 350 taka

What did I buy with those 350 taka?

  • 8 hours of labor

What did I not buy with those 350 taka?

  • the workers’ life
  • the workers’ health
  • the workers’ future
  • Therefore a day laborer has to be released in decent shape.
Timely Payment

Lev 19:13
“You shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning.”
Deu 24:14-15
“You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites of aliens who reside in your land… You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them, otherwise they might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt.”

What is commanded?

  • day laborers must be paid right away

Why this command?

  • their livelihood depends on it
  • they have not time to ‘run after you’
  • delays cost them another day of labor
  • the time of a worker, especially if poor is valuable


Why would an employer not pay their workers?

  • if no money… then don’t employ!
  • not organized enough …you were organized enough to employ them!
  • power games, being important
  • God hates the abuse of weak or vulnerable people.
  • Example: an employer has currently not enough work but offers for people to stay at half salary if they choose to do so. This is okay, if pre-communicated.

Does this mean that monthly salaries are wrong?

  • no, but salary must be given as per agreement.
  • day laborers = daily contract = daily payment
  • an agreed on monthly salary is okay.
  • but it must be paid at the agreed date.


God demands the keeping of contracts

  • work contracts, trade agreements, land purchase, marriage covenant


Modern application?

  • salary, benefits, holidays must be granted as per work contract


What needs to be in a work contract?

  • Description of work daily hours
  • Weekly hours holiday rules
  • Salary, date of payment insurance
  • Training opportunities sickness rules
  • Termination of employment
Rights to participation in profit

Deu 25:4         “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain.”

1 Cor 9:7-10    “Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk? Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same?… it was written for our sake.”

  • Animal rights: to eat while working
  • Workers’ rights: to have a part of the profit
  • Work is valuable and worth a salary. Christianity introduced this concept into a world of unpaid slavery.
  • God has no problem with gain …
    • if it is done righteously
    • if you take your workers with you
  • Greek and Roman thinking:
    • only slaves work
    • work is not worthy of salary
    • maintain slaves simply to not lose the benefit of their labor
  • God ensures and protects the dignity, value and importance of work, of the worker, of the time spent.
Summary of some Labor Rights in the Bible

Right to a weekly holiday                                 De 5:12-15
Right to safety on the job                                 De 22:8
Right to timely payment                                   De 24:14-15
Right to partake in profit                                  De 25:4
Right to a kept work contract                           De 5:20, Mt 5:33
Right to restitution if harm                               Ex 21:20