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Nehemiah 5:7-9

Context
5:7 I considered these things carefully 1  and then registered a complaint with the wealthy 2  and the officials. I said to them, “Each one of you is seizing the collateral 3  from your own countrymen!” 4  Because of them I called for 5  a great public assembly. 5:8 I said to them, “To the extent possible we have bought back our fellow Jews 6  who had been sold to the Gentiles. But now you yourselves want to sell your own countrymen, 7  so that we can then buy them back!” They were utterly silent, and could find nothing to say.

5:9 Then I 8  said, “The thing that you are doing is wrong! 9  Should you not conduct yourselves 10  in the fear of our God in order to avoid the reproach of the Gentiles who are our enemies?

1 tn Heb “my heart was advised upon me.”

2 tn Heb “nobles.”

3 tn Heb “taking a creditor’s debt.” The Hebrew noun מַשָּׁא (masha’) means “interest; debt” and probably refers to the collateral (pledge) collected by a creditor (HALOT 641-42 s.v.). This particular noun form appears only in Nehemiah (5:7, 10; 10:32); however, it is related to מַשָּׁאָה (mashaah, “contractual loan; debt; collateral”) which appears elsewhere (Deut 24:10; Prov 22:26; cf. Neh 5:11). See the note on the word “people” at the end of v. 5. The BHS editors suggest emending the MT to מָשָׂא (masa’, “burden”), following several medieval Hebrew MSS; however, the result is not entirely clear: “you are bearing a burden, a man with his brothers.”

4 tn Heb “his brothers.”

5 tn Heb “I gave.”

6 tn Heb “our brothers, the Jews.”

7 tn Heb “your brothers.”

8 tc The translation reads with the Qere and the ancient versions וָאוֹמַר (vaomar, “and I said”) rather than the MT Kethib, וַיֹּאמֶר (vayyomer, “and he said”).

9 tn Heb “not good.” The statement “The thing…is not good” is an example of tapeinosis, a figurative expression which emphasizes the intended point (“The thing…is wrong!”) by negating its opposite.

10 tn Heb “[should you not] walk.”



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