Now 1there was a greatoutcry of the people and of their wivesagainst their 2Jewishbrothers.
For there were those whosaid, "We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us 3getgrain that we may eat and live."
3There were others whosaid, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might getgrain because of the famine."
Also there were those whosaid, "We have borrowedmoney4for the king'stax on our fields and our vineyards.
5"Now5our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, 6we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and awe are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others."
Then I was very7angrywhen I had heard their outcry and thesewords.
I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, "8You are exactingusury, each from his brother!" Therefore, I held a greatassemblyagainst them.
I said to them, "We according to our ability9have bredeemed our Jewishbrothers who were sold to the nations; now would you evensell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say.
Again I said, "The thingwhich you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our Godbecause of 10the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
"And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off thisusury.
11"Please, giveback to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olivegroves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the newwine and the oil that you are exacting from them."
Then they said, "We 11will give it back and 12will requirenothing from them; we will doexactly as you say." So I called the priests and 13took an oath from them that they would do according to thiscpromise.
I 14alsoshook out the dfront of my garment and said, "Thus may Godshake out everyman from his house and from his possessionswho does not fulfillthisepromise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And 15all the assemblysaid, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the peopledid according to thisfpromise.
14Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from 16the twentiethyear to the 17thirty-secondyear of KingArtaxerxes, for twelveyears, neither I nor my gkinsmen have eaten the governor'sfood allowance.
But the formergovernorswho were before me hlaidburdens on the people and took from them bread and winebesidesfortyshekels of silver; even their servantsdomineered the people. But I did not doso18because of the fear of God.
I alsoiapplied myself to the work on thiswall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gatheredthere for the work.
Moreover, 19there were at my table one hundred and fiftyJews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us.
Now 20that which was prepared for each day was oneox and sixchoicesheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in tendaysall sorts of wine were furnished in abundance. Yet for all this21I did not demand the governor'sfood allowance, because the servitude was heavy on thispeople.
1922Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for thispeople.