New International Version
Nehemiah Helps the Poor
5 Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. 2 Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.”
4 Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax(C) on our fields and vineyards. 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood(D) as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery.(E) Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”(F)
6 When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. 7 I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!”(G) So I called together a large meeting to deal with them 8 and said: “As far as possible, we have bought(H) back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.(I)
9 So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach(J) of our Gentile enemies? 10 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest!(K) 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest(L) you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”
12 “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”
Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath(M) to do what they had promised. 13 I also shook(N) out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!”
At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,”(O) and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,(P) when I was appointed to be their governor(Q) in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels[a] of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God(R) I did not act like that. 16 Instead,(S) I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we[b] did not acquire any land.
17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry(T) were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
19 Remember(U) me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.
New King James Version
Nehemiah Deals with Oppression
5 And there was a great (A)outcry of the people and their wives against their (B)Jewish brethren. 2 For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.”
3 There were also some who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.”
4 There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. 5 Yet now (C)our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we (D)are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”
6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, (E)“Each of you is [a]exacting usury from his brother.” So I [b]called a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, “According to our ability we have (F)redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?”
Then they were silenced and found nothing to say. 9 Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk (G)in the fear of our God (H)because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this [c]usury! 11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them.”
12 So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.”
Then I called the priests, (I)and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. 13 Then (J)I shook out [d]the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.”
And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. (K)Then the people did according to this promise.
The Generosity of Nehemiah
14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year (L)until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers (M)ate the governor’s provisions. 15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but (N)I did not do so, because of the (O)fear of God. 16 Indeed, I also continued the (P)work on this wall, and [e]we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work.
17 And (Q)at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18 Now that (R)which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this (S)I did not demand the governor’s provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.
19 (T)Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.