Nehemiah 5:2-13 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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2 Some said, "We have big families, and we need food just to survive." 2 Some were saying, "We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain."
3 Others said, "We're having to mortgage our fields and vineyards and homes to get enough grain to keep from starving." 3 Others were saying, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine."
4 And others said, "We're having to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. 4 Still others were saying, "We have had to borrow money to pay the king's tax on our fields and vineyards.
5 Look: We're the same flesh and blood as our brothers here; our children are just as good as theirs. Yet here we are having to sell our children off as slaves - some of our daughters have already been sold - and we can't do anything about it because our fields and vineyards are owned by somebody else." 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others."
6 I got really angry when I heard their protest and complaints. 6 When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.
7 After thinking it over, I called the nobles and officials on the carpet. I said, "Each one of you is gouging his brother." 7 I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them
8 I told them, "We did everything we could to buy back our Jewish brothers who had to sell themselves as slaves to foreigners. And now you're selling these same brothers back into debt slavery! Does that mean that we have to buy them back again?" They said nothing. What could they say? 8 and said: "As far as possible, we have bought 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.
9 "What you're doing is wrong. Is there no fear of God left in you? Don't you care what the nations around here, our enemies, think of you? 9 So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?
10 "I and my brothers and the people working for me have also loaned them money. But this gouging them with interest has to stop. 10 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop!
11 Give them back their foreclosed fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes right now. And forgive your claims on their money, grain, new wine, and olive oil." 11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil."
12 They said, "We'll give it all back. We won't make any more demands on them. We'll do everything you say." 12 "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 oath to do what they had promised.
13 Then I emptied my pockets, turning them inside out, and said, "So may God empty the pockets and house of everyone who doesn't keep this promise - turned inside out and emptied." Everyone gave a wholehearted "Yes, we'll do it!" and praised God. And the people did what they promised. "Remember in My Favor, O My God" 13 I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, "In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!" At this the whole assembly said, "Amen," and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.