1 And there occurred a great outcry of the people and their wives against their brothers, the Jews.
2 And there were those who were saying: “Our sons and our daughters are very many. Let us receive grain as a price for them, and then we may eat and live.”
3 And there were those who were saying: “Let us offer up our fields and vineyards, and our houses, and then we may receive grain during the famine.”
4 And others were saying: “Let us borrow money for the tribute of the king, and let us surrender our fields and vineyards.”
5 And now, as is the flesh of our brothers, so is our flesh; and as are their sons, so also are our sons. Behold, we have subjugated our sons and our daughters into servitude, and some of our daughters are slaves, nor do we have the ability to redeem them, for others possess our fields and our vineyards.
6 And when I had heard their outcry in these words, I was exceedingly angry.
7 And my heart considered within me. And I rebuked the nobles and the magistrates, and I said to them, “Have you each been exacting usury from your brothers?” And I gathered together a great assembly against them.
8 And I said to them: “As you know, in accord with what was possible for us, we have redeemed our brothers, the Jews, who had been sold to the Gentiles. And yet you now sell your brothers, and we must redeem them?” And they were silent, nor did they find anything to answer.
9 And I said to them: “The thing that you are doing is not good. Why are you not walking in the fear of our God, so that there may be no reproach against us from our enemies, the Gentiles?
10 Both I and my brothers, with my servants, have lent money and grain to many. Let us agree not to ask for its return. Let us forgive the other money that is owed to us.
11 On this day, restore their fields, and their vineyards, and their olive groves, and their houses to them. Then, too, the hundredth part of the money, and of the grain, wine, and oil, which you usually exact from them, give it to them.”
12 And they said: “We will restore it, and we will require nothing from them. And we will do just as you say.” And I called the priests, and I had them swear an oath, so that they would act in accord with what I had said.
13 Moreover, I shook out my lap, and I said: “So may God shake out every man, who does not fulfill this word. From his house and from his labors, so may he be shaken out and become empty.” And the entire multitude said, “Amen.” And they praised God. Therefore, the people acted in accord with what was said.
14 Now from that day, on which the king had ordered me to be governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of king Artaxerxes, for twelve years, I and my brothers did not eat the yearly allowance that was owed to the governors.
15 But the former governors, the ones who had been before me, were a burden to the people, and they took from them bread and wine, and forty shekels of money each day. And their officials also oppressed the people. But I did not do so, out of fear of God.
16 In fact, I preferred to build in the work of the wall, and I bought no land, and all my servants were gathered to do the work.
17 Likewise, the Jews and the magistrates, one hundred and fifty men, were at my table, with those who came to us from among the Gentiles that are around us.
18 Now there was prepared for me, on each day, one ox and six choice rams, along with poultry. And once every ten days, I distributed diverse wines and many other things. Yet I did not require my yearly allowance as governor. For the people were greatly impoverished.
19 Remember me, O my God, for good, in accord with all that I have done for this people.