Nehemiah 5

Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor

1 Now there arose f a great outcry of the people and of their wives g against their Jewish brothers. 2 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." 3 There were also those who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine." 4 And there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for h the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. 5 Now i our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet j we 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."

6 I was very angry when I heard f their outcry and these words. 7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, k "You are exacting interest, each from his brother." And I held a great assembly against them 8 and said to them, "We, as far as we are able, l have 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. 9 So I said, "The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk m in the fear of our God n to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 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." 12 Then they said, "We will restore these and o require nothing from them. We will do as you say." And I called the priests and p made them swear q to do as they had promised. 13 r I also shook out the fold 1 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." s And all the assembly said "Amen" and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

Nehemiah's Generosity

14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from t the twentieth year to u the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, v neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration 2 forty shekels 3 of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, w because of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were x at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 y Now what was prepared at my expense 4 for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this v I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 z Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.

  1. Cross References
    Exodus 3:9
    And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.
    Isaiah 5:7
    For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!
  2. Cross References
    Leviticus 25:35
    If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.
    Leviticus 25:37
    You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.
    Deuteronomy 15:7
    If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.
  3. Cross References
    Ezra 4:13
    Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired.
    Ezra 4:20
    And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid.
    Ezra 7:24
    We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
  4. Cross References
    Isaiah 58:7
    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
    Genesis 29:14
    And Laban said to him, "Surely you are my bone and my flesh!" And he stayed with him a month.
  5. Cross References
    Exodus 21:7
    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
    Leviticus 25:39
    If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave:
    2 Kings 4:1
    Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.
  6. Cross References
    Nehemiah 5:1
    Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers.
  7. Cross References
    Exodus 22:25
    If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.
    Leviticus 25:36
    Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
    Psalms 15:5
    Who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
    Ezekiel 22:12
    In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.
  8. Cross References
    Leviticus 25:48 - 49
    Then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him.
  9. Cross References
    Leviticus 25:36
    Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
  10. Cross References
    Nehemiah 4:4
    Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.
    2 Samuel 12:14
    Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.
  11. Cross References
    Nehemiah 10:31
    And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
  12. Cross References
    Ezra 10:5
    Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
  13. Cross References
    Jeremiah 34:8 - 9
    The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them.
  14. Cross References
    Acts 18:6
    And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.
  15. Cross References
    Nehemiah 8:6
    And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
    Deuteronomy 27:15
    "'Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the Lord, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen.'
    1 Chronicles 16:36
    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!" Then all the people said, "Amen!" and praised the Lord.
    Psalms 106:48
    Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the Lord!
  16. Cross References
    Nehemiah 2:1
    In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
  17. Cross References
    Nehemiah 13:6
    While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king
  18. Cross References
    2 Thessalonians 3:8
    Nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.
  19. Cross References
    Nehemiah 5:9
    So I said, "The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?
  20. Cross References
    2 Samuel 9:7
    And David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.
    2 Samuel 9:10
    And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master's grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall always eat at my table." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
    1 Kings 18:19
    Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.
  21. Cross References
    1 Kings 4:22 - 23
    Solomon's provision for one day was thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal.
  22. Cross References
    Nehemiah 5:14
    Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor.
  23. Cross References
    Nehemiah 13:14
    Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
    Nehemiah 13:22
    Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
    Nehemiah 13:31
    And I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Previous Book Next Book