For there were those who said, "With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive."
There were also those who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine."
And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for 1the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards.
Now 2our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet 3we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards."
I was very angry when I heard 4their outcry and these words.
I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, 5"You are exacting interest, each from his brother." And I held a great assembly against them
and said to them, "We, as far as we are able, 6have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!" They were silent and could not find a word to say.
So I said, "The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk 7in the fear of our God 8to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?
Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest.
Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them."
Then they said, "We will restore these and 9require nothing from them. We will do as you say." And I called the priests and 10made them swear 11to do as they had promised.
1312I also shook out the folda of my garment and said, "So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied."13And all the assembly said "Amen" and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.