There were several reasons for this and all revolved around the fact that the borrower was almost always poor and the lender relatively wealthy. The reasons for not entering the borrower's home were several:
- The borrower did not need to expose the extent of his poverty by the lender seeing the scarcity of the belongings
- Avoid any ridicule which might ensure from the lender who were often displayed a harsh and demeaning attitude
- Remove the possibility of the lender seeing something more valuable to forcibly take as a pledge which the borrower cannot spare.
- To allow the borrower some control by allowing him to choose what to give as a pledge
- To otherwise maximize the dignity of the embarrassed borrower by displaying respect for the borrower's home and personal space and thus avoid the appearance of surly superiority of the lender.
In other words, teat people in need under all circumstances with dignity and respect and avoid any semblance of denigrating or derogatory behavior. This verse is part of a slew of such instructions to treat the needy with compassion and respect such as Zech 7:4-14 - Show mercy and compassion, do not oppress widows, orphans, alien, and poor. See also Ex 23:11, Prov 3:27, 28, 11:24, 25, 14:31, 17:5, 19:17, 21:13, 22:2, 9, 16, 22, 23, 28:3, 8, 27, 29:7, 13, 31:9, 20, Isa 10:1, 2, 58:1-21, Jer 7:3-6, Amos 4:10, Micah 6:8, Matt 23:23, Acts 4:32-35, Gal 2:10, James 1:27.
- He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Prov 14:31.
Benson comments as follows:
Deuteronomy 24:10-13. Thou shalt not go in — To prevent both the poor
man’s reproach, by having his wants exposed, and the creditor’s
greediness, which might be occasioned by the sight of something which
he desired, and the debtor could not spare.
The pulpit commentary observes this:
If one had to take a pledge from another, he was not to go into the
house of the latter and take what he thought fit; he must stand
without, and allow the debtor to bring to him what he saw meet to
offer. He might stand outside and summon the debtor to produce his
pledge, but he was not insolently to enter the house and lay hands on
any part of the owner's property. To stand outside and call is still a
common mode of seeking access to a person in his own house or
apartment among the Arabs, and is regarded as the only respectful
mode. There would be thus a mitigation of the severity of the
exaction, the tendency of which would be to preserve good feeling
between the parties.