Don’t Withhold Your Workers’ Pay

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Main Text: Deuteronomy 24:14-15.

Memory Verse: Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labour. – Jeremiah 22:13.


Hired servants in biblical times were to receive their wages by the end of the period agreed upon. Thus, people who hired them were bound by Law not to withhold their wages even for a night. This is because that was their only hope for subsistence. Treating the needy, subordinates and the vulnerable justly is a major theme of the Bible. Today, we shall examine the reason for the deliberate delay of wages by some employers and the biblical response to such practices.

Questions for Discussion:

  • How should ‘hired persons’ be paid? (Verses 14, 15)
  • Why should we pay people we hire for work promptly? (Verse 15)
  • Discuss why some employers withhold workers’ wages deliberately?
  • How do you think God sees such practices?
  • Personally, how would you pay people who render services for you promptly?


In Deuteronomy 24:15, we understand that withholding what is due people who render services for wages is an offense against God. From the passage, we can infer that the command is to pay people we engage for work promptly because it is their only hope for survival. Delaying payments without just cause makes them cry unto God for justice. This is what every employer should avoid because according to the Scriptures, the cry of the worker becomes sin for the employer who has withheld their wages. Some employers delay payments because they reinvest it in other businesses. Others do it out of sheer exploitation of the poor because of their helpless situation. As light to the world, Christian employers are encouraged to avoid such behaviour and pay workers promptly. According to Jeremiah 22:13 and James 5:4, people who accumulate wealth using the toil of others unjustly will be punished by God. Where the employer is unable to pay promptly for any plausible reason, they should dialogue amicably with workers.

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