5:1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives
a against their brethren the Jews.
(a) Against the rich who oppressed them.
5:2 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters,
[are] many: therefore we take up b corn [for them], that
we may eat, and live.
(b) This is the complaint of the people, showing the
extremity they were brought to.
5:4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the
king's c tribute, [and that upon] our lands and vineyards.
(c) To pay our tribute to the king of the Persians, which
was exacted yearly from us.
5:5 Yet now our flesh [is] as d 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 e [to redeem them]; for other men have
our lands and vineyards.
(d) By nature the rich are no better than the poor.
(e) We are not able to redeem them, but out of poverty are
forced to sell them to others.
5:7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and
the rulers, and said unto them, Ye f exact usury, every
one of his brother. And I set a great g assembly against
(f) You press them with usury, and seek to bring all thing
into your hands.
(g) Both because they should be moved with pity seeing how
many were oppressed by them, and also hear the judgment
of others, who should be witnesses of their dealings
with their brethren.
5:8 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 h sold
unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing [to
(h) Seeing God has once delivered them from the bondage of
the heathen, shall we make them our slaves?
5:9i Also I said, It [is] not good that ye do: ought ye not
to walk in the fear of our God because of the k reproach
of the heathen our enemies?
(i) Meaning, Nehemiah.
(k) Who by this occasion will blaspheme the Name of God,
seeing that our actions are no better than theirs.
5:11 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, l that ye exact of them.
(l) Which you take from them for the loan.
5:14 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 m bread of the governor.
(m) I did not receive the portion and diet which the
governors who were before me exacted, in which he
declares that he rather sought the wealth of the people
than his own convenience.
5:18 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 n all sorts of wine: yet
for all this required not I the bread of the governor,
because the bondage was heavy upon this people.
(n) While at other times they had by measure, at this time
they had most liberally.