1 And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their brothers the
2 For there were those who said, We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let
us get grain, that we may eat and live.
3 There were also some who said, We have mortgaged our fields and vineyards and
houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.
4 There were also those who said, We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our
fields and vineyards.
5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and
indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters
have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have
our fields and vineyards.
6 And I was extremely infuriated when I heard their outcry and these words.
7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, Each of you is
exacting usury from his brother. So I appointed a great assembly against them.
8 And I said to them, According to our ability we have redeemed our brothers, the Jews
who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brothers? Or should
they be sold to us? Then they were silenced and found nothing to answer.
9 Then I said, What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our
God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Now let
us leave off this usury!
11 Restore now to them, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and
their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that
you have charged them.
12 So they said, We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you
say. Then I called the priests, and caused them to swear that they would do according to
13 I also shook out empty the bosom of my garment and said, So may God shake out each
man from his house, and from his property, who does not carry out this word. Even thus
may he be shaken out and emptied. And all the assembly said, Amen! and praised Jehovah.
Then the people did according to this word.
14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of
Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve
years, neither I nor my brothers have eaten the food of the governor.
15 But the former governors who had been before me were heavy on the people, and
took from them bread and wine, besides 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 Indeed, I also prevailed in the work of this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my
servants were gathered there for the work.
17 And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came
to us from the nations around us.
18 Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were
prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in all of
this I did not demand the food of the governor, because the labor was heavy on this
19 Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.