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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Nehemiah 5

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Chapter 5

Usury Abolished

1 Now athere was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their bJewish brothers. 2 For there were those who said, “We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us aget grain that we may eat and live.” 3 There were others who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine.” 4 Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money afor the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. 5 Now aour flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, bwe are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and 1we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”

6 Then I was very aangry when I had heard their outcry and these words. 7 I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, “aYou are exacting usury, each from his brother!” Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. 8 I said to them, “We according to our ability ahave 1redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. 9 Again I said, “The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of athe reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10 And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. 11 Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We awill give it back and bwill require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say.” So I called the priests and ctook an oath from them that they would do according to this 1promise. 13 I aalso shook out the 1front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this 2promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And ball the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the Lord. Then the people did according to this 2promise.

Nehemiah’s Example

14 Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from athe twentieth year to the bthirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my 1kinsmen have eaten the governor’s food allowance. 15 But the former governors who were before me 1laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so abecause of the fear of God. 16 I also 1applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, athere were at my table one hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now athat which was prepared for each day was one ox and six choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in ten days all sorts of wine were furnished in abundance. Yet for all this bI did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people. 19 aRemember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

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