1 And there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.
2 And there were some that said, Our sons, and our daughters, and ourselves are many; and we must buy corn, that we may eat, and live.
3 And others there were that said, We must pledge our fields, our vineyards, and our houses, that we may buy corn, in the famine.
4 And others there were that said, We have borrowed money for the kings tax on our fields and vineyards.
5 Yet now our flesh is like the flesh of our brethren, our children are like their children: and, lo, we must force our sons and our daughters to become servants, and some of our daughters are forced to become so, and our hand is powerless; and our fields and our vineyards belong to others.
6 And it displeased me greatly when I heard their complaint and these words.
7 Then did I consult with my heart, and I upbraided the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, "Ye exact usury, every one of his brother!" And I brought together a great assembly against them.
8 And I said unto them, We have indeed ransomed our brethren the Jews, who had been sold unto the various nations, as far as our means went: and will ye yourselves even sell your brethren, so that they will be sold again unto us? And they remained silent, and found no answer.
9 Then said I, The thing is not good which ye are doing: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, because of the taunting of the nations, our enemies?
10 And also I, my brothers, and my young men, have lent them money and corn: I pray you, let us relinquish this loan.
11 Give back to them, I pray you, even this day, their fields, 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 have lent them.
12 Then said they, We will give all back, and of them will we require nothing: so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and made them swear, that they would do in accordance with this promise.
13 Also my lap did I shake out, and said, So may God shake out every man that performeth not this promise, from his house and of his toilgotten wealth, and so let him remain shaken out, and empty. And all the assembly said, Amen, and they praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise.
14 Moreover from the day that the king had enjoined on me to be governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year up to the two and thirtieth year of king Artaxerxes, full twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food of the governor.
15 But the former governors that had been before me had made it heavy for the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver: yea, even their young men ruled over the people; but I myself did not act so, because of the fear of God.
16 And in the work of this wall also did I labor actively; and we bought not any fields; and all my young men were assembled there by the work.
17 Moreover of the Jews and rulers, one hundred and fifty men, besides those that came unto us from the nations that are about us, ate at my table.
18 And that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also birds were prepared for me, and once in ten days all sorts of wine in abundance: yet with all this I required not the food of the governor; because the service lay heavily upon this people.
19 Remember for me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.