And my God put into my heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them who came up at the first, and found written in it,
All Commentaries on Nehemiah 7:5 Go To Nehemiah 7
And I rebuked the nobles and officials and said to them, 'Are each of you to exact interest from your own brethren?' And I called together a large meeting against them, and said to them: 'We, as you know, have bought back /850/ our brethren the Jews who were sold to the Gentiles, according to our means, and now you are selling our brothers, and we are buying them?', and so on until it says: 'I and my brethren and my servants have lent money and grain to very many people. Let us together not require that loan to be repaid!1 As the most excellent leader of the heavenly militia2 and wise architect3 of God's city, he first of all declared that he himself4 had done what he wished the nobles and magistrates of the people to do, namely to give alms5 to the poor and seek nothing from them save faithfulness to God's law and the building of his city. In this passage, it behooves us not to scrutinize the allegorical meaning but to observe the literal meaning of the text itself by performing it as diligently as we can,6 namely so that quite apart from the daily fruits of almsgiving, we should take care whenever a general time of famine and want has afflicted the people not only to give poor people what we can but also to forgive that tribute which we have been accustomed to exact from our subjects as though by right, in order that the Father might forgive us our debts too.