0 SAB Nehemiah 5

They ... entered into a curse, and into an oath ... that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, not take their daughters for our sons. 10:29

Trivia: Why did Nehemiah pluck out the hair of Israelite men?



Nehemiah rebukes the leaders for mistreating the people
Good Stuff 5:1-19

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

The people complained about the Jews who were in power.

2 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

They said,

We have many children that we need to feed.

3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

We've mortgaged our land and houses to pay for food.

4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

We've had to borrow money to pay taxes to the king.

5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.

And our children have been forced to work for others.

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

I [Nehemiah] was very angry when I heard this.

7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

So I rebuked the leaders for their usury, saying,

8And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

Why have you sold our people to others?

9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

You shouldn't do that.

10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.


11Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

Give the people back the land, houses, and money that you took from them.

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

And the leaders said,

Okay. We promise to do that.

13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

Then I shook my lap and said,

If you don't keep your promise, God will shake out all of your money from your pockets.

All the people said, "Amen" and the leaders did what they said they'd do.

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


15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.


16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.


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


18 Now that which 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.

May God reward me for all the good that I have done for the people.

Cervantes1 year ago

I don't think the title "administrative difficulties" really does justice to this chapter. A ruling class has emerged that's exploiting the people, who don't own their own fields, are in debt to the plutocrats, and have even had to sell their daughters into servitude. Nehemiah does an FDR and gives them a new deal, makes the plutocrats return land to the people and cancel their debts, and free the indentured servants. He also renounces personal wealth. I can get behind this.

Steve Wells1 year ago

Thanks for the comment, Cervantes.
And I agree with you. I've added some side notes to summarize this chapter and added an item to the good stuff.


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