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Nehemiah 5

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 1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brothers the Jews.

 2 For there were some who said, "We, our sons, and our daughters, are many; therefore we need the harvest of grain so that we may eat and live.

 3 Some there also who said, "We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famime."

 4 There were some who also, "We have borrowed money for the [Babylon] king's tribute, which is levied upon our lands and vineyards.

 5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as their children; and, look, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters have been brought into bondage already. Neither is it in our power to redeem them [from bondage] for other men have our lands and vineyards."

 6 I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

 7 Then I considered this in my mind, and I rebuked the nobles and the rulers, saying to them, "You exact usury, everyone of his brother." And I set a great assembly against them.

 8 And I said to them, "We after our ability have redeemed our brothers the Jews, who were sold to the heathen; and now will you even sell your brothers? Or shall they be sold to us?" Then they held their peace [were silent] and found nothing to answer.

 9 Also I said, "It is not good that you do this thing. Should you not to walk in the fear of our God so that we are not ridiculed by our heathen enemies?

 10 I likewise, and my brothers, and my servants, are lending them money and grain. I pray you, let us stop this usury.

 11 I pray you to restore to them on this very day their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, as well as the hundredth part of the money, the corn, the wine, and the oil, which you have exacted from them."

 12 Then they said, "We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as you say." Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.

 13 Also I shook my lap, and said, "So God shakes out every man from his house, and from his labor, who does not perform this promise, even thus is he shaken out and emptied. And all the congregation said, "Amen," and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

 14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty second year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brothers have not eaten the bread of the governor.

 15 But the former governors who had been before me were chargeable to the people, and had taken from them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants bore rule over the people; but I did not do so because of the fear of God.

 16 Yes, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither did we buy any land; and all my servants were gathered there to the work.

 17 Moreover there were at my table a hundred fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came to us from among the heathen that were about us.

 18 Now what was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine. Yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

 19 "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people."


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