1 And there was a great outcry of HaAm and of their nashim against their achim the Yehudim.
2 For there were that said, We, our banim, and our banot, are rabbim (many); therefore we must get dagan (grain) for them, that we may eat, and live.
3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our sadot (fields), kramim (vineyards), and batim (houses), that we might buy dagan, because of the ra’av (famine).
4 There were also that said, We have borrowed kesef for the tax of HaMelech, and that upon our sadot and kramim.
5 Yet now our basar is the same as the basar of acheinu (our brethren, countrymen), our banot as their banot; and, hinei, we bring into the bondage of slavery our banim and our banot, and some of our banot are brought unto bondage already, neither is it in our power to redeem them, for other men have our sadot and kramim.
6 And I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these devarim.
7 Then I consulted my own thoughts, and I rebuked the Nobles [see 3:5], and the officials, and said unto them, Ye exact massa (usury, i.e., seizing what is pledged against debts, whether people, land, or property), every one from his brother. And I called a kehillah gedolah against them.
8 And I said unto them, We as far as we have ability have redeemed acheinu (bought back our brethren) the Yehudim, which were sold unto the Goyim; and will ye even sell your brethren? Or shall they be sold back unto us? Then they were speechless, and found nothing to answer.
9 Also I said, It is not tov this thing ye are doing. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of Eloheinu and end the derision of the Goyim oyveinu (our enemies)?
10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my men, have allowed them to borrow kesef and dagan; let us stop now this massa (burden of debt).
11 Restore, now, to them, even today, their sadot, their kramim, their zayit groves, and their batim (houses), also the usury of the hundredth part of the kesef, and of the dagan, the tirosh (new wine), and the yitzhar (olive oil), that ye exact of them.
12 Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I summoned the Kohanim, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.
13 Also I shook out the fold of my robe, and said, So may HaElohim shake out every man from his bais, and from that which belongs to him, that keepeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And Kol HaKahal said, Omein, and praised Hashem. And HaAm did according to this promise.
14 Moreover, from the yom that I was appointed to be their governor in Eretz Yehudah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artachshasta HaMelech, that is, twelve shanim, I and my brethren have not eaten the Lechem HaPechah (Allowance of the Governor).
15 But the former governors that had been before me placed a heavy burden on HaAm, and had taken of them lechem and yayin, in addition to the forty shekels of kesef; yea, even their assistants domineered HaAm; but so did not I, because of yirat Elohim.
16 But instead I continued in the melekhet HaChomah (work of this Wall), neither acquired we any sadeh; and all my men were gathered there unto the melachah (work).
17 Moreover there were at my shulchan a hundred and fifty of the Yehudim and officials, besides those that came unto us from among the Goyim around us.
18 Now that which was prepared daily was one shor (ox) and six choice sheep; also poultry were prepared at my expense, and every ten days skins of yayin in quantity of all kinds; yet for all this required not I the Lechem HaPechah, because the avodah was heavy upon this people.
19 Remember me, Elohai, for tovah, according to all that I have done for this people.