The 247th prohibition is that we are forbidden to withhold payment of debts we owe — holding on to the money instead of paying it back.

The source of this prohibition is G‑d's statement1 (exalted be He), "Do not withhold (lo sa'ashok) that which is due your neighbor."

[The distinction between the various forms of theft is as follows:] geneivah refers to taking someone else's property through scheming and in secret. It is prohibited by the phrase, "lo tignovu," as explained previously.2 Gezel refers to taking someone else's property against his will and with open force, as highway robbers do. It is prohibited by the phrase, lo sigzol.3 Oshek refers to a case where you owe someone a certain amount of money — i.e., you have in your possession and control money — and you withhold it and do not hand it over. [This applies] whether or not force was involved, even just through pushing him off and deception. This too is prohibited, by G‑d's statement (exalted be He), "Do not withhold that which is due your neighbor."

The Sifra says: "The prohibition lo sa'ashok refers to withholding money. In which case? Such as holding back a worker's wages" and anything similar. A worker was picked as an example since it involves a fixed debt that you owe, but he did not give you any money and no money came to you from him. Nevertheless, since you owe him money, you are prohibited from withholding it.

This prohibition is repeated4 using this very example: "Do not withhold the wages due a worker who is poor and destitute." This means that you may not withhold his wages because he is poor and destitute, similar to the verse,5 "[You must give him his wage on the day it is due,] and not let the sun set with him waiting for it, because he is poor."

The Sifri says, " 'Do not withhold the wages due a worker who is poor and destitute.' But the Torah already said, 'Do not steal' (lo sigzol)! This teaches that anyone who withholds wages due a worker transgresses 'do not withhold,' 'do not steal,' 'do not go to sleep before paying your worker,' and 'pay your worker on that same day.' " There it clearly explains why the verse mentions the "poor and destitute" — because G‑d said, "I administer punishment swiftly when the victim is poor and destitute."

The punishment for one who transgresses this prohibition (lo sa'ashok) is identical to that of a robber.6 [We see this from] G‑d's statement7 (exalted be He), "...if he lied to his neighbor regarding an article left for safekeeping, a business deal, robbery (gazel), withholding payment (oshak) from his neighbor..."8