THE BOOK OF
Nehemiah 5 ©
The people complain of oppression by reason of usury and pawns, v. 1, etc. Nehemiah is exceeding troubled thereat, reproves the great ones, convinces them, and causes them to promise and swear that they will desist and cease from it, 6. Relates his own example, and how that he, notwithstanding the arduous charges he was at in keeping of court, yet never had required the governor’s right or allowance, that he might not be burdensome to the congregation, 14.
AND there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their 1brethren the Jews.
For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: 2therefore we take upa corn for them, that we may eat, and live.
Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the 3dearth.
There were also that said, We have borrowed money 4for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.
Yet now our 5flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be 6servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: 7neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.
¶And I was 8very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the 9nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye 10exact 11usury, every one of his brother. And I 12set a great assembly against them.
And I said unto them, We 13after our ability have 14redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were 15sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.
Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the 16reproach of the heathen our enemies?
I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, 17might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this 18usury.
Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the 19hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, 20that ye exact of them.
Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the 21priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.
Also I 22shook my 23lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his 24labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, 25Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.
¶Moreover from the time that I was 26appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of 27Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the 28bread of the governor.
But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, 29beside forty 30shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.
Yea, also I continued in the 31work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were 32gathered thither unto the work.
Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that 33came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice 34sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store 35of 36all sorts of wine: yet for 37all this required not I the 38bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.
Thinkb upon me, my God, for good, according to 39all that I have done for this people.