July 23, 2024

Thomas McNeilly

Jesus Christ is King

How to understand Nehemiah Chapter 5: Predatory Lending and Matthew 5:16

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People are coming to Nehemiah with various complaints. They’re having trouble getting grain during a famine and are being forced to pledge their property just to get enough to eat. They say that they’re borrowing money in order to pay their taxes to the king, and the people who are lending the money—fellow Jews—are forcing them to essentially rent out their sons and daughters as slaves. Not cool. Some of their daughters have even been raped. Totally not cool. Nehemiah gets angry, and accuses the nobles and officials of preying on their own people by charging excessive interest. They’re essentially selling the people back into exile and slavery. The nobles have no argument to make against this. Busted. Nehemiah says that the nobles should give back all the property they’ve confiscated from the people and to return what they’ve taken from them in interest. The nobles and the priests agree and promise to forgive the people’s debts and return their property. Nehemiah, performance artist, shakes out the folds of his garment, saying that anyone who fails to follow through will be shaken out from the fold of the House of Israel. Fortunately, the nobles and priests follow through on their promise. Nehemiah explains that he served as governor over Judah for twelve years. Selflessly, he and his brothers didn’t even eat the food allowance granted them by the Emperor and survived on Ashdodite takeout. Unlike previous governors who excessively taxed and burdened the people, Nehemiah says he was a good governor. He devoted his attention to rebuilding the wall, and didn’t acquire land. He goes through the number of people who dined at his table and what they typically ate in a day, along with how much wine they had for ten days. So generous. Nehemiah further demonstrates his restraint in not also taking advantage of the food allowance. What a great guy. He asks God to remember him because of the good he’s done. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. https://temtube.com/#followforfollowback#bible#bibleverse#jesus#jesuschrist