Nehemiah 5

1And the cry of the people and their wives was great against their brothers the Jews. 2And some said, We are numerous with our sons and our daughters; so we will take grain, and eat, and live. 3And some said, As to our fields and vineyards and houses, let us pledge them, and we will take grain, and eat. 4And some said, We have borrowed money for the king's tributes-our fields, and our vineyards, and houses are pledged. 5And now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet behold, we are reducing our sons and our daughters to slavery, and some of our daughters are enslaved; and there is no power of our hands, for our fields and our vineyards belong to the nobles. 6And I was very angry as I heard their cry and these words. 7And my heart took counsel within me, and I contended against the nobles, and the princes, and I said to them, Should every man demand of his brother what you demand? And I appointed against them a great assembly, 8and I said to them, We of our free will have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the Gentiles; and do you sell your brothers? And shall they be delivered to us? And they were silent, and found no answer. 9And I said, The thing which you do is not good; you will not so walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the Gentiles our enemies. 10Both my brothers, and my acquaintances, and I, have lent them money and grain. Let us now leave off this usury! 11Restore to them, I pray, as at this day, their fields, and their vineyards, and their olive yards, and their houses, and bring forth to them grain and wine and oil of the money. 12And they said, We will restore, and we will not exact of them; we will do thus as you say. Then I called the priests, and bound them by oath to do according to this word. 13And I shook out my garment, and said, So may God shake out every man who shall not keep to this word, from his house, and from his labors, he shall be even thus shaken out, as an outcast and empty. And all the congregation said, Amen, and they praised the Lord; and the people did this thing. 14From the day that he charged me to be their ruler in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the provisions extorted from them. 15But as for the former acts of extortion in which those who were before me oppressed them, they even took of them their last money, forty shekels for bread and wine; and the very outcasts of them exercised authority over the people; but I did not so, because of the fear of God. 16Also in the work of the wall I treated them not with rigor, I bought not land; and all that were gathered together came there to the work. 17And the Jews, to the number of a hundred and fifty men, besides those coming to us from the nations round about, were at my table. 18And there came to me for one day one calf, and I had six choice sheep and a goat; and every ten days wine in abundance of all sorts. Yet with these I required not the bread of extortion, because the bondage was heavy upon this people. 19Remember me, O God, for good, in all that I have done to this people.
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