Still others were saying, "We have had to borrow money to pay the king's tax1 on our fields and vineyards.
Although we are of the same flesh and blood2 as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery.3 Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others."46
When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.
I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury5 from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them
and said: "As far as possible, we have bought6 back our Jewish brothers who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your brothers, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.79
So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach8 of our Gentile enemies?
I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop!911
Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury10 you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil."
"We will give it back," they said. "And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say." Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath11 to do what they had promised.