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5 However, there came to be a great outcry+ of the people and their wives against their Jewish brothers.+ 2 And there were those who were saying: “Our sons and our daughters we are giving as security* that we may get grain and eat and keep alive.”+ 3 And there were those who were saying: “Our fields and our vineyards and our houses we are giving as security+ that we may get grain during the food shortage.” 4 And there were those who were saying: “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute+ on our fields and our vineyards.+ 5 And now our flesh is the same as the flesh of our brothers;+ our sons are the same as their sons, but here we are reducing our sons and our daughters to slaves,+ and there are some of our daughters already reduced; and there is no power in our hands while our fields and our vineyards belong to others.” 6 Now I became very angry as soon as I heard their outcry and these words. 7 So my heart took consideration within me, and I began finding fault+ with the nobles and the deputy rulers, and went on to say to them: “Usury+ is what YOU are exacting, each one from his own brother.” Further, I arranged a great assembly on their account.+ 8 And I proceeded to say to them: “We ourselves have bought back+ our own Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations, as far as it was in our power; and at the same time will YOU yourselves sell YOUR own brothers,+ and must they be sold to us?” At this they became speechless, and they did not find a word.+ 9 And I* went on to say: “The thing that YOU are doing is not good.+ Is it not in the fear+ of our God+ that YOU should walk because of the reproach+ of the nations, our enemies?+ 10 And also I, my brothers and my attendants are giving money and grain on loan among them. Let us, please, leave off this lending on interest.+ 11 Please, restore to them on this day their fields,+ their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, and the hundredth* of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil that YOU are exacting as interest from them.” 12 To this they said: “We shall make restoration,+ and from them we shall ask nothing back.+ We shall do precisely as you are saying.”+ So I called the priests and made them swear to do according to this word.+ 13 Also, my bosom I shook out and then said: “In this manner may the [true] God shake out from his house and from his acquired property every man that does not carry out this word; and in this manner may he become shaken out and empty.” To this all the congregation* said: “Amen!”*+ And they began to praise Jehovah.+ And the people proceeded to do according to this word.+ 14 Another thing: From the day that he commissioned me to become their governor*+ in the land of Judah, from the twentieth+ year to the thirty-second+ year of Ar·ta·xerxʹes+ the king, twelve years, I myself and my brothers did not eat the bread due the governor.+ 15 As for the former governors that were prior to me, they had made it heavy upon the people, and they kept taking from them for bread and wine daily* forty silver shekels.* Also, their attendants themselves domineered over the people.+ As for me, I did not do that way+ on account of the fear of God.+ 16 And, what is more, in the work of this wall I took a hand,+ and not a field did we acquire;+ and all my attendants were collected together there for the work. 17 And the Jews and the deputy rulers, a hundred and fifty men, and those coming in to us from the nations that were around us were at my table.+ 18 As for that which happened to be made ready daily, one bull, six select sheep and birds were made ready for me, and once every ten days every sort of wine+ in abundance. And along with this the bread due the governor I did not demand, because the service upon this people was heavy. 19 Do remember for me,+ O my God, for good,+ all that I have done in behalf of this people.+
^ “I,” MmarginLXXSyVg; M, “he.”
^ Or, “one percent,” that is, monthly.
^ “The congregation.” Heb., haq·qa·halʹ; Gr., ek·kle·siʹa.
^ “Their governor,” LXX; SyVg and one Heb. ms omit “their.”
^ “Daily,” Vg; M, “after.” Probably, “after (at) the rate of.”
^ A shekel weighed 11.4 g (0.367 oz t). See App 8A.