Nehemiah Chapter 5, Complaints and Problems of Judah

beemanlee's picture

This chapter is full of many different problems which happened during the time of construction if the Walls around Jerusalem. This time frame took 52 days to complete.

Three different problems arose. ONE:Many landless People were without food. TWO:Landlords were forced to mortgage their land because of the famine. THREE: Borrowing was necessary to pay property tax imposed by the Persistent.

Verses 1-5, debts, interests and bondage.
Verses 6-13, payments of interest abolished.
Verses 14-19, examples of Unselfishness.

beemanlee's picture

Nehemiah 5:11-12, Lords, Restore Unto The Poor Their Securitys

What Nehemiah required of The Lords of Judah: This very day relinquish this debt you hold with The People who are constructing The Wall. For The People of Judah have become impoverished and in need of food. (quote from Malbim on verse 11)

The first verse 11, has a different power of ten on one hundred that differs in translation from Hebrew on where the decimal point is placed. The actual word in Hebrew is וּמְאַ֨ת, Strongs #3967, may-yaw'; a prime number; a hundred; also is a multiplication or fraction. The most common usage for this is "one hundred" in the Hebrew text. It is more commonly used as a multiplier power of hundred, eleven hundred, hundredth, hundredfold, six score, and a hundred times rather that a fractional as in the NKJV which I'm using is hundredth.

The idea Nehemiah is using is replacement of all the property held as security as this large amount shekels of silver and not a fractional replacement of it. (quote from Rashi, Ralbag, and Ramban)

Metzudos, and Malbim Comment on it from The Hebrew this way: The inordinate large sum of one hundred was chosen to stress that the loan must be relinquished no mater how large, even up to the sum of one hundred shekels of silver. The loans of silver, grain, wine and oil must be relinquished, even though the amount is not spelled out in this verse, it is in the following verse 12, where fields, vineyards and olive orchards are mentioned specifically by their words, "we will restore [it]".

Lets read the next two verses of Nehemiah 5,

V11 "Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."
V12 So they said, "We will restore [it,] and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say." Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.

So we have The Poor People of Judah who took loans from the Lords of Judah having all their property and children that was held against the loans to them restored.

Nehemiah called the Kohanim and administered the oath to The Lords of Judah who had agreed to relinquish the debts. The presence of The Kohanim added to the solemn binding commitment of the oath which was part of their job on this occasion. (quote from Rashi).

The Understanding of a "Yoke of Bondage" is also brought out in Psalm 55:22, Galatians 5:1, and Matthew 11:28-30. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)

It is not G-d's intent to have His People live in bondage to sin but in freedom from sin.

G-d's Yoke is Light! It involves "our personal surrender" to It, which is the Ultimate place for His People, who are called by His Name, to be.