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.
Further Opposition to the Rebuilding
6 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah,(V) Geshem(W) the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages[c] on the plain of Ono.(X)”
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat(Y) sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem[d](Z) says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple(AA), and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me(AB) because Tobiah and Sanballat(AC) had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.(AD)
14 Remember(AE) Tobiah and Sanballat,(AF) my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet(AG) Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets(AH) have been trying to intimidate me. 15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
Opposition to the Completed Wall
16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. 18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
7 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers,(AI) the musicians(AJ) and the Levites(AK) were appointed. 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani,(AL) along with Hananiah(AM) the commander of the citadel,(AN) because he was a man of integrity and feared(AO) God more than most people do. 3 I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”
New International Version
Lament Over Fallen Babylon
“‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’[a](D)
She has become a dwelling for demons
and a haunt for every impure spirit,(E)
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.(F)
3 For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.(G)
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,(H)
and the merchants of the earth grew rich(I) from her excessive luxuries.”(J)
Warning to Escape Babylon’s Judgment
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“‘Come out of her, my people,’[b](K)
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;(L)
5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,(M)
and God has remembered(N) her crimes.
6 Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back(O) double(P) for what she has done.
Pour her a double portion from her own cup.(Q)
7 Give her as much torment and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.(R)
In her heart she boasts,
‘I sit enthroned as queen.
I am not a widow;[c]
I will never mourn.’(S)
8 Therefore in one day(T) her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire,(U)
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
Threefold Woe Over Babylon’s Fall
9 “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her(V) and shared her luxury(W) see the smoke of her burning,(X) they will weep and mourn over her.(Y) 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off(Z) and cry:
11 “The merchants(AC) of the earth will weep and mourn(AD) over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore(AE)— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;(AF) 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.(AG)
14 “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her(AH) will stand far off,(AI) terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn(AJ) 16 and cry out:
“‘Woe! Woe to you, great city,(AK)
dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet,
and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!(AL)
17 In one hour(AM) such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’(AN)
New International Version
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character(A) who can find?(B)
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband(C) has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.(D)
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.(E)
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.(F)
- Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.