From the time King Artaxerxes appointed me as their governor in the land of Judah - from the twentieth to the thirty-second year of his reign, twelve years - neither I nor my brothers used the governor's food allowance.
Governors who had preceded me had oppressed the people by taxing them forty shekels of silver (about a pound) a day for food and wine while their underlings bullied the people unmercifully. But out of fear of God I did none of that.
I had work to do; I worked on this wall. All my men were on the job to do the work. We didn't have time to line our own pockets.
I fed one hundred and fifty Jews and officials at my table in addition to those who showed up from the surrounding nations.
One ox, six choice sheep, and some chickens were prepared for me daily, and every ten days a large supply of wine was delivered. Even so, I didn't use the food allowance provided for the governor - the people had it hard enough as it was.
Remember in my favor, O my God, Everything I've done for these people.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)