The settlement of the interior problem
The people's complaint concerning the nobles' and rulers' imposing interest on the people
And there was a great acry
of the people and their wives against their brothers the Jews,
For there were some who said, With our sons and our daughters we are many; therefore we must get grain that we may eat and live.
And there were some who said, We have apledged
our fields and our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain in this famine.
And there were some who said, We have borrowed money against our fields and our vineyards for the king’s tribute.
Yet now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children; and now we are bringing our sons and daughters into abondage
as slaves. And some of our daughters have already
been brought into bondage; and it is not in our power to deliver them
, for our fields and vineyards belong to others.
Nehemiah's rebuke and resolution
And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
And when I had considered this matter
in my heart, I rebuked the nobles and the rulers and said to them, You men are charging ainterest
, each man against his brother! And I set a great assembly against them.
And I said to them, We have abought
back our brothers the Jews who have been sold to the nations according to the best of our ability. So would you even sell your brothers that they would have to be sold back
to us? And they held their peace and could find not a word to answer
Then I said, The thing that you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the afear
of our God because of the reproach of the nations our enemies?
And even I, my brothers, and my servants lend them money and grain. Let us now abandon such taking of interest.
now to them, as of today, their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, as well as the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, new wine, and fresh oil that you charge them as interest.
And they said, We will restore it
, and we will require nothing from them; so will we do, even as you say. Then I called for the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.
I also ashook
out the lap of
and said, May God shake out in the same way every man from his house and from his possessions who does not perform this promise; even so may he be shaken out and emptied. And all the assembly said, bAmen
; and they praised Jehovah. And the people acted according to this promise.
Nehemiah's good example
Moreover from the time that the king
appointed me to be governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of aArtaxerxes
the king, twelve years, I and my brothers did 1not
eat the food appointed
for the governor.
But the former governors, who were before me, laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them food and wine, besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants tyrannized the people. But I did not do so, because of the afear
And I also applied myself to the work on this wall. And we did not acquire fields, and all my servants were gathered there for the work.
And there were at my table one hundred fifty men, Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations that surrounded us.
And what was prepared for one day was one ox and
six choice sheep; also fowl was prepared for me, as well as all kinds of wine in abundance every ten days. Yet for this I did not demand the food appointed
for the governor, for the service was heavy upon this people.
Remember me, O my God, for good, according to
all that I have done for this people.