Nehemiah 5-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 Now there was a great outcry of the [poorer] people and their wives against their Jewish brothers [to whom they were deeply in debt]. 2 For there were some who were saying, “We, along with our sons and our daughters, are many; therefore allow us to get grain, so that we may eat and survive.” 3 There were others who were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to buy grain because of the famine.” 4 There were also others who were saying, “We have borrowed money on our fields and vineyards for the [Persian] king’s [heavy] tax. 5 Now our flesh (skin) is the same as that of our brothers (relatives), and our children are like their children, yet here we are forcing (selling) our sons and our daughters to be slaves; and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and [a]we are powerless [to redeem them] because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”
6 Then I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words [of accusation]. 7 I thought it over and then challenged the nobles and the rulers. I said to them, “You are exacting usury (excessive interest) from your own brother (relative).” So I held a great assembly to confront them. 8 I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed (purchased back) our Jewish brothers who were sold to the [Gentile] nations; now would you even sell your brothers, that they might be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a [single] word to say. 9 So I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunting by the [pagan] nations, our enemies? 10 And likewise I, my brothers, and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop [charging] this interest. 11 Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, and also a hundredth part of the money, the grain, the new wine, and the oil that you are lending them.” 12 Then they said, “We will give it back and not require anything from them. We will do exactly as you say.” Then I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would act in accordance with this promise. 13 I also [b]shook out the [c]front of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not keep this promise; like this may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the Lord. Then the people acted in accordance with this promise.
14 Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my relatives have eaten the governor’s food allowance. 15 But the former governors who were [in office] before me put heavy burdens on the people and took food and wine from them in addition to forty shekels of silver [as an excessive monthly salary]; even their servants assumed authority over the people. But I did not do so because of the [reverent] fear of God. 16 I also applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered together there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table a hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now the following were prepared for each day: one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls (poultry) were prepared for me; and in intervals of ten days all sorts of wine was provided in abundance. Yet for all this, I did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people. 19 Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all I have done for this people.
The Enemy’s Plot
6 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there was no breach left in it, although at that time I had not set up doors in the gates, 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent word to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave to come down to [meet with] you?” 4 They sent word to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same way. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same way the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, “It is reported among the [neighboring] nations, and Gashmu is saying that you and the Jews are planning to revolt, and that is the reason you are rebuilding the wall. And according to these reports, you are to be their king. 7 Also [it is reported that] you have appointed prophets to make a proclamation concerning you in Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ And now these things will be reported to the [Persian] king. So come now, and let us consult together.” 8 I sent a message to him, saying, “Such things as you are saying have not been done; you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, [O God,] strengthen my hands.
10 When I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was [d]confined at home, he said, “Let us meet [and take refuge] together in the house of God, [e]within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple, because they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me flee [in fear and hide]? Should [f]someone like me enter the temple [for sanctuary] to save his life? I will not go.” 12 Then I realized that God had not sent him, but he spoke this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired for this reason, that I would be frightened and do as he said and sin, so that they would have [grounds to make] a malicious report in order to censure and disgrace me. 14 Remember, O My God, Tobiah and Sanballat in regard to these actions of theirs, and also [remember] the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me.
The Wall Is Finished
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth [day] of [the month] Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about it, and all the [Gentile] nations around us saw it, [g]they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. 17 Moreover, in those days many letters went from the nobles of Judah to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For [h]many in Judah were bound by oath to him because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also, they were speaking about Tobiah’s good deeds in my presence, and reporting to him what I said. Then Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.
Census of First Returned Exiles
7 Now when the wall had been rebuilt and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites had been appointed, 2 I put my brother Hanani, with Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for Hananiah was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many [of the others]. 3 I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the [i]sun is hot; and while the watchmen are still standing guard, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from the residents of Jerusalem, each at his post [on the wall], and each in front of his own house.” 4 Now the city was spacious and large, but there were few people in it and the houses had not [yet] been built.
5 Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the people to be registered by genealogy. Then I found the register of the genealogy of those who came [from Babylon] first, and I found the following record:
6 These are the sons (descendants, people) of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had deported [to Babylon]; they returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each to his city, 7 the ones who came with [j]Zerubbabel, Jeshua, [k]Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The men of the people of Israel [l]numbered: 8 the sons of Parosh, 2,172; 9 the sons of Shephatiah, 372; 10 the sons of Arah, 652; 11 the sons of Pahath-moab of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818; 12 the sons of Elam, 1,254; 13 the sons of Zattu, 845; 14 the sons of Zaccai, 760; 15 the sons of Binnui, 648; 16 the sons of Bebai, 628; 17 the sons of Azgad, 2,322; 18 the sons of Adonikam, 667; 19 the sons of Bigvai, 2,067; 20 the sons of Adin, 655; 21 the sons of Ater, of Hezekiah, 98; 22 the sons of Hashum, 328; 23 the sons of Bezai, 324; 24 the sons of Hariph, 112; 25 the sons of Gibeon, 95; 26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188; 27 the men of Anathoth, 128; 28 the men of Beth-azmaveth, 42; 29 the men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah and Beeroth, 743; 30 the men of Ramah and Geba, 621; 31 the men of Michmas, 122; 32 the men of Bethel and Ai, 123; 33 the men of the other Nebo, 52; 34 the sons of the other Elam, 1,254; 35 the sons of Harim, 320; 36 the sons of Jericho, 345; 37 the sons of Lod, Hadid and Ono, 721; 38 the sons of Senaah, 3,930.
39 These are the priests: the sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, 973; 40 the sons of Immer, 1,052; 41 the sons of Pashhur, 1,247; 42 the sons of Harim, 1,017.
43 These are the Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodevah, 74. 44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148. 45 The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, 138.
46 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, 47 the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, 48 the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, 49 the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, 50 the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, 51 the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, 52 the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, 53 the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, 54 the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, 55 the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, 56 the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha.
57 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, 58 the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, 59 the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon.
60 All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants, totaled 392.
61 And these were the ones who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon and Immer; but they [had no birth records and] could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they were of Israel: 62 the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. 63 Of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, and the sons of Barzillai, who [was so named because he had] married one of the daughters of Barzillai, the [well-known] Gileadite, and was named after them. 64 These men searched for their ancestral registration among those recorded in the genealogies, but it was not located; so they were excluded from the priesthood as [ceremonially] unclean. 65 The governor told them that they should not eat any of the most holy food until a priest arose with [m]Urim and Thummim [to determine God’s will in the matter].
Total of People and Gifts
66 The entire assembly together was 42,360, 67 besides their male and their female servants, of whom there were 7,337; and they had 245 male and female singers. 68 [n]Their horses were 736; their mules, 245; 69 [o]their camels, 435; their donkeys, 6,720.
70 Some from among the heads of fathers’ households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 50 basins, 530 priests’ garments. 71 Some of the heads of fathers’ households gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. 72 And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 gold drachmas, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priests’ garments.
73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, along with all Israel, lived in their cities.
And when the seventh month came, the sons (descendants) of Israel (Jacob) were in their cities.
Ezra Reads the Law
8 Then all the people gathered together as one man at the open square in front of the Water Gate; and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it, in front of the open square which was in front of the Water Gate, from [p]early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and women, those who could understand; and [q]all the people listened carefully to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a [large] wooden platform which they had constructed for this purpose. And beside him [on the platform] stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left. 5 Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above them; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; and they knelt down and worshiped the Lord with their faces toward the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, explained the Law to the people, and the people remained in their places. 8 So they read from the Book of the Law of God, translating and explaining it so that the people understood the reading.
“This Day Is Holy”
9 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.” 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be worried.” 12 Then all the people went on their way to eat, to drink, to send portions [of food to others] and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been [r]communicated to them.
Feast of Booths Restored
13 On the second day, all of the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, were gathered before Ezra the scribe to gain insight into the words of [s]the Law (divine instruction). 14 They found written in the Law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in booths (huts) during the feast of the seventh month. 15 So they proclaimed and published an announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills and bring olive branches, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy branches to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on the roof of his house, and in their courtyards and the courtyards of God’s house, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. Indeed since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that very day, the Israelites had not done so. And there was great rejoicing and celebration. 18 Every day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days; on the eighth day there was a [closing] solemn assembly in accordance with the ordinance.
The People Confess Their Sin
9 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled with fasting and in sackcloth and with dirt [t]on their heads. 2 The [u]descendants of Israel (Jacob) separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the wrongdoings of their fathers. 3 While they stood in their places, they read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day and for another fourth [of it] they confessed [their sins] and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 On the platform of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they called out with a loud voice to the Lord their God.
5 Then the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—said, “Stand up and bless (praise, honor) the Lord your God from [v]everlasting to everlasting.
May Your glorious name be blessed
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