And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their
brethren the Jews.

For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore
we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and
houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and
that upon our lands and vineyards.

Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their
children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants,
and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in
our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and
said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great
assembly against them.

And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews,
which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall
they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our
God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and
corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.

Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards,
their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and
of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will
we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that
they should do according to this promise.

Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and
from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out,
and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the
people did according to this promise.

Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of
Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of
Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten
the bread of the governor.

But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the
people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver;
yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because
of the fear of God.

Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and
all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers,
beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.

Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also
fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine:
yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage
was heavy upon this people.

Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this

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