So, in none of these alleged measures of socialism, do we find anything that genuinely earns the name “Socialism.” In no instance did the State have the power to redistribute wealth. In each instance, the “socialism” depended entirely upon individuals obeying God’s mandate for charity towards the Levite, the poor, and the disadvantaged.
God kept the State out of the charity business. There’s a good reason for this. If the power of the sword ever mixed with the power to distribute bread, there would be no end to political corruption: the State would use its powers of distribution to control the people; worse, people who grew dependent upon the State’s bread would also then be dependent upon the State’s sword. Acquiring provisions would no longer be an issue of personal responsibility, but of institutionalized force. It would teach the dependent of all shapes and sizes that deriving food at gunpoint is legitimate. Thus, State socialism would be nothing short of legalized armed robbery.
McDurmon is careful to separate the Law from the enforcement of the Law. Although he doesn’t mention it, there are many laws in the OT that specify enforcement by the community or its civil representatives, such as the judges. Yet, in the case of the “social justice” measures, McDurmon writes, “nothing is said of government power to collect these tithes or punish those who did not give. The Israelites were expected to give voluntarily and themselves knew God would punish them if they refused, and bless them immensely as they obeyed (Deut. 12:19–21).”