"There was, however, a loophole among all these pronouncements: the Bible’s double standard on usury. As we saw earlier, read one way, the Bible permits Jews to lend to non-Jews. This reading had positive consequences. For lengthy periods during the Dark and Middle Ages, both Church and civil authorities allowed Jews to practice usury. Many princes, who required substantial loans in order to pay bills and wage wars, allowed Jewish usurers in their states. Thus, European Jews, who had been barred from most professions and from ownership of land, found moneylending to be a profitable, albeit hazardous, profession." Yaron Brook (http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-fall/morality-of-moneylending.asp).