5About this time some of the men and their wives raised a cry of protest against their fellow Jews.H1419H6818H5971H802H251H3064 2They were saying, "We have such large families. We need more food to survive."H3426H559H1121H1323H7227H3947H1715H398H2421 3Others said, "We have mortgaged our fields, vineyards, and homes to get food during the famine."H3426H559H6148H7704H3754H1004H3947H1715H7458 4And others said, "We have had to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay our taxes.H3426H559H3867H3701H4428H4060H7704H3754 5We belong to the same family as those who are wealthy, and our children are just like theirs. Yet we must sell our children into slavery just to get enough money to live. We have already sold some of our daughters, and we are helpless to do anything about it, for our fields and vineyards are already mortgaged to others."H1320H1320H251H1121H1121H3533H1121H1323H5650H1323H3426H3533H410H3027H312H7704H3754 6When I heard their complaints, I was very angry.H3966H2734H8085H2201H1697 7After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, "You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!" Then I called a public meeting to deal with the problem.H4427H3820H7378H2715H5461H559H5378H5383H5375H4855H376H251H5414H1419H6952 8At the meeting I said to them, "We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?" And they had nothing to say in their defense.H559H1767H7069H251H3064H4376H1471H4376H251H4376H2790H4672H1697 9Then I pressed further, "What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations?H559H2896H1697H6213H3212H3374H430H2781H1471H341 10I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest.H251H5288H5383H3701H1715H5800H4855 11You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil."H7725H3117H7704H3754H2132H1004H3967H3701H1715H8492H3323H5383 12They replied, "We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say." Then I called the priests and made the nobles and officials swear to do what they had promised.H559H7725H1245H6213H559H7121H3548H7650H6213H1697 13I shook out the folds of my robe and said, "If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you like this from your homes and from your property!" The whole assembly responded, "Amen," and they praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.H5287H2684H559H430H5287H376H1004H3018H6965H1697H5287H7386H6951H559H543H1984H3068H5971H6213H1697 14For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance.H3117H6680H6346H776H3063H6242H8141H8147H7970H8141H783H4428H8147H6240H8141H251H398H3899H6346 15The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.H7223H6346H6440H3513H5971H3947H3899H3196H310H705H8255H3701H1571H5288H7980H5971H6213H6440H3374H430 16I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall.H2388H4399H2346H7069H7704H5288H6908H4399 17I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands!H7979H3967H2572H376H3064H5461H935H1471H5439 18The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor's food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.H6213H3117H259H7794H8337H1305H6629H6833H6213H6235H3117H7235H3196H5973H1245H3899H6346H5656H3513H5971 19Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.H2142H430H2896H6213H5971
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.