1
Nowe there was a great crie of the people, and of their wiues against their brethren the Iewes.
2
For there were that said, We, our sonnes & our daughters are many, therefore we take vp corne, that we may eate and liue.
3
And there were that saide, We must gage our landes, and our vineyardes, and our houses, and take vp corne for the famine.
4
There were also that said, We haue borowed money for the Kings tribute vpon our landes and our vineyardes.
5
And nowe our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, and our sonnes as their sonnes: and lo, we bring into subiection our sonnes and our daughters, as seruants, and there be of our daughters nowe in subiection, and there is no power in our handes: for other men haue our landes and our vineyardes.
6
Then was I very angrie when I heard their crie and these wordes.
7
And I thought in my minde, and I rebuked the princes, and the rulers, and saide vnto them, You lay burthens euery one vpon his brethren: and I set a great assemblie against them,
8
And I said vnto them, We (according to our abilitie) haue redeemed our brethren the Iewes, which were solde vnto the heathen: and will you sell your brethren againe, or shall they be solde vnto vs?
Then helde they their peace, and could not answere.
9
I said also, That which ye do, is not good.
Ought ye not to walke in the feare of our God, for the reproche of the heathen our enemies?
10
For euen I, my brethren, and my seruants doe lende them money and corne: I pray you, let vs leaue off this burden.
11
Restore, I pray you, vnto them this day their landes, their vineyardes, their oliues, & their houses, and remit the hundreth part of the siluer and of the corne, of the wine, and of the oyle that ye exact of them.
12
Then said they, We will restore it, and will not require it of them: we will doe as thou hast said.
Then I called the Priestes, and caused them to sweare, that they shoulde doe according to this promes.
13
So I shooke my lappe, and said, So let God shake out euery man that wil not perfourme this promise from his house, & from his labour: euen thus let him be shaken out, & emptied;
all the Cogregation said, Amen, & praised the Lord: and the people did according to this promes.
14
And from the time that the King gaue me charge to be gouernour in the lande of Iudah, from the twentieth yeere, euen vnto the two and thirtieth yeere of King Artahshashte, that is, twelue yeere, I, and my brethren haue not eaten the bread of the gouernour.
15
For the former gouernours that were before me, had bene chargeable vnto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides fourtie shekels of siluer: yea, and their seruants bare rule ouer the people: but so did not I, because of the feare of God.
16
But rather I fortified a portio in the worke of this wall, and we bought no lande, and all my seruants came thither together vnto the worke.
17
Moreouer there were at my table an hundreth & fiftie of the Iewes, & rulers, which came vnto vs from among the heathen that are about vs.
18
And there was prepared daily an oxe, and sixe chosen sheepe, and birdes were prepared for me, and within ten dayes wine for all in abundance.
Yet for all this I required not the bread of the gouernour: for the bondage was grieuous vnto this people.
19
Remember me, O my God, in goodnesse, according to all that I haue done for this people.