5 1 The people are oppressed and in necessity. 6 Nehemiah remedieth it. 14 He took not the portion of others that had ruled before, lest he should grieve the people.
1 Now there was a great cry of the people, and of their wives [a]against their brethren the Jews.
2 For there were that said, We, our sons and our daughters are many, therefore we take up [b]corn, that we may eat and live.
3 And there were that said, We must gage our lands, and our vineyards, and our houses, and take up corn for the famine.
4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s [c]tribute upon our lands and our vineyards.
5 And now our flesh is as [d]the flesh of our brethren, and our sons as their sons: and lo, we bring into subjection our sons and our daughters, as servants, and there be of our daughters now in subjection, and there is no power [e]in our hands: for other men have our lands and our vineyards.
6 Then was I very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
7 And I thought in my mind, and I rebuked the princes, and the rulers, and said unto them, You lay [f]burdens every one upon his brethren: and I set a great [g]assembly against them,
8 And I said unto them, We (according to our ability) have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen: and will you sell your brethren again, or shall they be [h]sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and could not answer.
9 [i]I said also, That which ye do, is not good. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, for the [j]reproach of the heathen our enemies?
10 For even I, my brethren, and my servants do lend them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this [k]burden.
11 Restore, I pray you, unto them this day their lands, their vineyards, their olives, and their houses, and remit the hundredth part of the silver and of the corn, of the wine, and of the oil [l]that ye exact of them.
12 Then said they, We will restore it, and will not require it of them: we will do as thou hast said. Then I called the Priests and caused them to swear, that they should do according to this promise.
13 So I shook my lap, and said, So let God shake out every man that will not perform this promise, from his house, and from his labor: even thus let him be shaken out and emptied. And all the Congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord: and the people did according to this promise.
14 And from the time that the King gave me charge to be governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year, even unto the two and thirtieth year of King Artaxerxes, that is, twelve years, I, and my brethren have not eaten the [m]bread of the governor.
15 For the former governors that were before me, had been chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver: yea, and their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.
16 But rather I fortified a portion in the work of this wall, and we bought no land, and all my servants came thither together unto the work.
17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews, and rulers, which came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.
18 And there was prepared daily an ox, and six chosen sheep, and birds were prepared for me, and [n]within ten days wine for all [o]in abundance. Yet for all this I required not the bread of the governor: for the bondage was grievous unto this people.
19 Remember me, O my God, in goodness, according to all that I have done for this people.
Nehemiah 5:5We are not able to redeem them, but for poverty are constrained to hire them to others.
Nehemiah 5:7You press them with usury, and seek how to bring all things into your hands.
Nehemiah 5:7Both because they should be moved with pity, seeing how many were by them oppressed, and also hear the judgment of others, which should be as it were witnesses of their dealings toward their brethren.
Nehemiah 5:8Seeing God hath once delivered them from the bondage of the heathen, shall we make them our slaves?
Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in articles, reviews, and broadcasts.
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