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 5:13-14, So Nehemiah Shook The Dust Off His Garment

This opening picture of Nehemiah standing before The People and by example shook the garment he was wearing so that the dust from the earth was removed and all The People could see the dust being blown around by the wind and settling to the ground. All that was in the pockets were also emptied out and fell to the ground.

This was a picture of what Nehemiah wanted the Judges of Judah to understand well. The garment was what covered the arms, like an outer jacket or shirt. This shaking is the same thing found in Isaiah 49:22. (quot from Ralbag and Rashi)

The reason behind this was the pocket in the garment which would be emptied too, along with the shaking of the garment of dust and dirt. The Hebrew word used here is; נָעַ֗ר, naw-ar', Strong's #5287, to shake out, the idea of the rustling of a lion's mane; to tremble about: to shake.

This was what Nehemiah was asking G-d to do to every one of The Lords that had lent to The Poor People of Judah and who had relinquished their debts.

So may G-d shake, just as I have shook the dust from my garment, let G-d shake loose anyone who will not comply with this oath, may He shake him from his home, may everything he has be destroyed that he has toiled for.

This is one of the things that Prophets enacts symbolical and portray the event which they foretell, and which will eventually be a fulfillment of the prophecy given. ie; Jeremiah 51:63,64; IIKings13:17.

Lets read the next two verses of Nehemiah 5,

V13 Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, "So may G-d shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" and praised the L-RD. Then the people did according to this promise.
V14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor's provisions.

In the last verse, 14, we find a new subject being introduced from Nehemiah's personal life. No benefit was received for his position as the Royal Persian Satrap(Governor) of Judah, from King Artaxerxes of Persia.