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Wages


Wages. The earliest mention of wages is of a recompense, not in money, but in kind, to Jacob from Laban. Gen. 29:15, 20; 30:28; 31:7, 8, 41. In Egypt money payments by way of wages were in use, but the terms cannot now be ascertained. Ex. 2:9. The only mention of the rate of wages in Scripture is found in the parable of the householder and the vineyard, Matt. 20:2, where the laborer’s wages are set at one denarius per day, probably 15 to 17 cents, a sum which may be fairly taken as equivalent to the denarius, and to the usual pay of a soldier (ten asses per diem) in the later days of the Roman republic. Tac. Ann. i. 17; Polyb. vi. 39. In earlier times it is probable that the rate was lower; but it is likely that laborers, and also soldiers, were supplied with provisions. The law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages. Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14, 15. The employer who refused to give his laborers sufficient victuals is censured, Job 24:11, and the iniquity of withholding wages is denounced. Jer. 22:13; Mal. 3:5; James 5:4.