5 Then came there to be a great outcry of the people and their wives,—against their brethren the Jews.
2 And there were some who were saying, Our sons and our daughters are we pledging,—that we may obtain corn and eat and keep ourselves alive.
3 And there were some who were saying, Our fields and our vineyards and our houses are we pledging,—that we may obtain corn in the dearth.
4 And there were others who were saying, We have borrowed silver for the king’s tribute,—[upon] our lands and our vineyards.
5 Now therefore as is the flesh of our brethren so is our flesh, as are their children so are our children. Yet lo! we are putting in subjection our sons and our daughters for bondservants, yea there are some of our daughters already trodden down, and we are powerless, and our fields and our vineyards belong to others.
6 And it angered me greatly,—when I heard their outcry, and these words.
7 So my heart took counsel unto me and I contended with the nobles and with the deputies, and said to them, A loan on interest—every man to his brother are ye making,—So I appointed over them a great assembly;
8 and I said unto them We have bought our brethren the Jews who had sold themselves unto the nations according to our ability, and will ye even sell your brethren or shall they sell themselves unto us? And they were silent, and found no answer.
9 Then said I, Not good is the thing which ye are doing,—ought ye not in the fear of God to walk, because of the reproach of the nations our enemies?
10 I too then my brethren and my young men, might be lending unto them on interest silver and corn! I pray you, let us leave off this lending on interest!
11 Restore, I pray you, unto them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses,—also the hundredth of silver and corn, new wine and oil, for which ye have been lending to them.
12 And they said, We will restore them and from them will we require nothing, so will we do as thou art saying. Then called I the priests, and put them on oath to do according to this promise.
13 Also my lap shook I out and said—Thus and thus may God shake out every man who shall not confirm this promise out of his house and out of his labour, yea thus and thus let him be shaken out and empty,—And all the convocation said, Amen! and praised Yahweh, and the people did according to this promise.
14 Moreover from the day I was commanded to become their pasha in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years I and my brethren pasha’s bread have not eaten;
15 whereas the former pashas who were before me suffered themselves to be a burden upon the people and took from them in bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver, even their young men bare rule over the people,—but I did not so, because of the fear of God.
16 Moreover also in this work of the wall I repaired, and no field did we buy,—though all my young men were gathered thither unto the work.
17 And Jews and deputies, a hundred and fifty men, and they who were coming in unto us from among the nations which were round about us [depended] upon my table.
18 Now that which was prepared for a single day was—one ox, six choice sheep, also fowls were prepared for me, and apportioned unto ten days of every sort of wine in abundance,—yet in spite of this the bread of the pasha demanded I not, because heavy was the bondage upon this people.
19 Remember unto me, O my God, for good,—all that I have done for this people.