Nehemiah 5:1-19

5  And there arose a great outcry of the people and their wives against their brother Judahites; 2 * and there were some who said “We are pawning our sons and daughters to get grain to eat to keep ourselves alive”; 3  and there were some who said “We are pawning our fields and vineyards to get grain in the famine”; 4  and there were some who said “We have borrowed money on our fields and vineyards for the king’s taxes. 5 * And now our flesh is like our brothers’ flesh, our sons like theirs, and here we are reducing our sons and daughters to slavery, and some of our daughters have been enslaved, and we are helpless; and the aristocrats have our fields and vineyards.” 6  And I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words, 7  and I followed my impulse and came down on the aristocrats and magnates and said to them “You are taking usury of your brothers”; and I held a great assembly about them, 8  and said to them “We have been buying up our brother Judahites who had been sold to, the heathens, as much as we could, and you are even selling your brothers and they get sold to us”; and they were silent and could not find a word. 9  And I said “The thing you are doing is not good; will you not go in the fear of God on account of taunts from our heathen enemies? 10  And I too, my brothers and my men, are charging them interest in money and grain; let us leave off this interest-taking; 11  return to them at once their fields, vineyards, olive-trees, and houses, and the percent of money and grain and grape-juice and oil that you are charging them.” 12 * And they said “We will return these and not try to get them; we will do just as you say”; and I, called the priests and swore them to do as they said; 13  I also shook out the bosom of my robe and said “So may God shake out from his house and his goods every man who does not make good this word, and so may he be shaken out and empty”; and all the assembly said “Amen” and praised Jehovah; and the people lived up to this word. 14 * Besides, from the day when he commissioned me to be governor in Judah, from the year twenty to the year thirty-two of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, I and my brothers did not live at public expense. 15 * But the former governors, the ones before me, had burdened the people and taken from them in bread and wine the equivalent of forty shekels of silver; their men too lorded it over the people; but I did not do thus, on account of the fear of God. 16  And I also took hold in this work of the wall; and we bought no land, but all my men were gathered there at the wall. 17 * And the Judahites and the magnates, a hundred and fifty men, and those who came to us from the nations around us, ate at my table; 18 ** and what was done for one day was one head of beef cattle, six select sheep or goats, and birds were done for me, and every ten days numerous skins of wine; and with this I did not take the public allowance, because the servitude was heavy on the people. 19  Remember for me for good, my God, all that I did for this people.


5:2 Codd. said “Our sons and daughters, we are many; then let us have grain
5:5 Var. and other men have
5:12 Lit. will return and not
5:14 Lit. did not eat the governor’s bread
5:15 Lit. in bread and wine after forty
5:17 Lit. were at my table
5:18 Lit. and between ten days
5:18 (numerous skins of wine) Codd. in all wine in abundance Var. a skin of wine in abundance