Nehemiah 5Expanded Bible (EXB)
Nehemiah Helps Poor People
5 The men and their wives ·complained [cried out] loudly against their ·fellow Jews [L Jewish brothers]. 2 Some of them were saying, “We have many sons and daughters in our families. To eat and stay alive, we need grain [C This group may have owned no land that could provide them food.].”
3 Others were saying, “We are ·borrowing money [mortgaging; C from their fellow Jews, which increased their frustration] against our fields, vineyards, and homes to get grain ·because there is not much food [during the famine].”
4 And still others were saying, “We are borrowing money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 ·We are just like our fellow Jews [L Our flesh is like our brothers’ flesh], and our ·sons [children] are like their ·sons [children]. But we have to sell our sons and daughters ·as slaves [into bondage/slavery; C an often temporary servitude to satisfy debts; Ex. 21:2–11]. Some of our daughters have already been ·sold [enslaved]. But ·there is nothing we can do [we are powerless/helpless], because our fields and vineyards already belong to other people.”
6 When I heard their ·complaints about these things [L outcry and these words], I was very angry. 7 After ·I thought about [reflecting on] it, I ·accused [reprimanded] the ·important people [nobles] and ·leaders [officials], “You are ·charging your own ·brothers [kinsmen] interest [committing usury; C in these situations, lenders were not to make a profit; Deut. 24:10; Prov. 22:26].” So I called a ·large meeting to deal with [great assembly against] them. 8 I said to them, “·As much as possible [To the best of our ability], we have ·bought freedom for [redeemed] our fellow Jews who had been sold to ·foreigners [L the Gentiles]. Now you are selling your fellow Jews to us [C the creditors were selling their fellow Jews into slavery, requiring Nehemiah and others to buy them back]!” ·The leaders [L They] were ·quiet [silent] and ·had nothing [L couldn’t find a word] to say.
9 Then I said, “What you are doing is not ·right [good]. ·Don’t you fear [L Should you not walk in fear of] God [Prov. 1:7]? Don’t let our ·foreign [Gentile] enemies shame us. 10 I, my ·brothers [colleagues], and my ·men [servants] are lending money and grain to the people. But stop charging them ·for this [interest]. 11 Give back their fields, vineyards, olive trees, and houses ·right now [L this very day]. Also give back the ·extra amount [interest] you charged—·the hundredth part [one percent] of the money, grain, new wine, and oil.”
12 They said, “We will give it back and not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”
Then I called for the priests, and I made the ·important people [nobles] and ·leaders [officials] ·take an oath [swear; vow] to do what they had ·said [promised]. 13 Also I shook out the folds of my ·robe [L bosom] and said, “In this way may God shake out everyone who does not ·keep his [fulfill/L cause to stand this] promise. May God shake him out of his house and ·out of the things that are his [his possessions/property]. Let that person be shaken out and emptied!”
Then the whole ·group [assembly] said, “Amen,” and they praised the Lord. So the people did what they had ·promised [sworn; vowed].
14 I was appointed governor in the land of Judah in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ rule [C 445 bc]. I was governor of Judah for twelve years, until his thirty-second year. During that time neither my ·brothers [colleagues; relatives; or officials] nor I ate the food that was allowed for a governor [C Nehemiah is demonstrating his own selflessness during this time]. 15 But the governors before me [C in contrast] had placed a heavy ·load [burden] on the people. They took ·about one pound [L forty shekels] of silver from each person, along with food and wine. ·The governors’ helpers before me [Their associates/assistants] also ·controlled [oppressed; dominated] the people, but I did not do that, because I feared God [Prov. 1:7]. 16 I ·worked [devoted myself to working] on the wall, as did all my ·men [servants] who were ·gathered [assembled] there. We did not buy any ·fields [land].
17 ·Also [Furthermore], I fed one hundred fifty Jewish people and ·officers [officials] at my table, as well as those who came from the nations around us. 18 This is what was prepared every day: one ox, six ·good [choice] sheep, and birds. And every ten days there were all kinds of wine [in abundance]. But I never demanded the food that was due a governor, because the people were already ·working very hard [carrying a great burden].
19 Remember ·to be kind to me [L for my good], my God, for all I have done for these people.
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