1. The common people and their wives presented very serious complaints against their Jewish brothers.
2. Some of them said, "We have big families and we need wheat to eat for strength to live."
3. Others cried out, "We have to mortgage our fields, vineyards and houses to get grain because of this famine."
4. Others said, "We have borrowed money on account of our fields and vineyards in order to pay the tax to the king.
5. Though we are of the same race as our brothers and our children are not different from their children, we have to give our sons as slaves; even many of our daughters are now regarded as concubines. And we do not have any other solution, inasmuch as our fields and vineyards have passed on to others."
6. Those complaints and accusations filled me with indignation
7. and I reproached the nobles and the counselors,
8. saying to them, "Why do you not have compassion on your brothers?" Because of this, I held a great assembly and said to them, "We have rescued, according to our resources, our Jewish brothers who were slaves. But are you now buying your own brothers?" They remained silent. They could not answer.
9. And I continued, "What you do is not good. Should you not live in obedience to our God lest we be put to shame by our pagan enemies?
10. My brothers, my relatives and I have also lent money and wheat. Now then, let us forget everything they owe us,
11. returning to them at once their fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and canceling their debts in money, wheat, wine and oil."
12. They answered me, "We will return these and demand nothing from them. We will do as you have said." So I called the priests, and before them made all of them swear an oath that they would fulfill their promise.
13. Then I shook out the folds of my mantle, saying, "So may God shake out of his house and his inheritance all who do not fulfill this word, and may he be so shaken that nothing is left of him." The whole assembly answered, "Amen" and praised Yahweh. And the people fulfilled their promise.
14. King Artaxerxes had appointed me governor of the land of Judah in the twentieth year of his reign. Until the thirty-second year, or rather, for twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ever demanded to be given the governor's bread.
15. But the former governors had collected forty pieces of silver per day from the people. This payment was a burden to the people, and so were their servants.
16. As I dedicated myself to rebuilding the wall, I did not buy fields; and all my men were there helping.
17. At my table a hundred and fifty men, leaders and counselors were seated, besides those who came to us from neighboring nations.
18. A male calf, six choice rams and fowls were slaughtered daily, and every ten days a great quantity of wine was brought. But though all these were charged to my account, I never asked for the governor's bread, because the people were already burdened enough with the task of reconstruction.
19. Remember for my good, my God, all that I have done for this people!