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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Nehemiah 5:1-5

We have here the tears of the oppressed, which Solomon considered, Eccl. 4:1. Let us consider them as here they are dropped before Nehemiah, whose office it was, as governor, to deliver the poor and needy, and rid them out of the hand of the wicked oppressors, Ps. 82:4. Hard times and hard hearts made the poor miserable. I. The times they lived in were hard. There was a dearth of corn (Neh. 5:3), probably for want of rain, with which God had chastised their neglect of his house (Hag. 1:9-11)... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Nehemiah 5:3

Some also there were that said, we have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses ,.... Made them over to others, put them into their hands as pledges for money received of them: that we may buy corn ; for the support of their families: because of the dearth ; or famine; which might be occasioned by their enemies lying in wait and intercepting all provisions that might be brought to them; for this seems not to be the famine spoken of in Haggai 1:10 for that was some years before... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Nehemiah 5:4

There were also that said ,.... Who though they were able to buy corn for their families without mortgaging their estates: yet, say they: we have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards ; for though the priests, Levites, and Nethinims, were exempted from it, yet not the people in common; and some of these were so poor, that they could not pay it without borrowing upon their estates, and paying large usury for it, see Ezra 6:8 read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Nehemiah 5:5

Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren ,.... We are of the same nature, nation, stock, and religion: our children as their children; are circumcised as they, and have a right to the same privileges in church and state: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and daughters to be servants ; shall be obliged to it, unless relieved: and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already ; sold to be servants, as they might in case of the poverty of parents, Exodus 21:7 ,... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Nehemiah 5:3

Because of the dearth - About the time of Zerubbabel, God had sent a judicial dearth upon the land, as we learn from Haggai, Haggai 1:9 , etc., for the people it seems were more intent on building houses for themselves than on rebuilding the house of the Lord: "Ye looked for much, and, lo, it is come to little; because of mine house that is waste; and ye run, every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Nehemiah 5:4

We have borrowed money - This should be read, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute on our lands and vineyards. They had a tax to pay to the Persian king in token of their subjection to him, and though it is not likely it was heavy, yet they were not able to pay it. read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Nehemiah 5:5

We bring in to bondage our sons - The law permitted parents to sell their children in times of extreme necessity, Exodus 21:7 . read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Nehemiah 5:1-13

1. Over-population (verse 2); 2. A recent famine (verse 3); and, 3. The weight of taxation, arising from the large amount annually demanded from the province by the Persians in the way of tribute (verse 4). As there is no reason to suppose that the tribute had been augmented recently, this cause must be viewed as constant. The over-population may have arisen, in part, from the influx of immigrants, in part from the narrow extent of the territory which the returned tribes had... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Nehemiah 5:1-13

Extortion rebuked. Rulers of men have no easy task. No sooner have they provided a remedy for one evil than another presents itself. Nehemiah found this to be the case. He had preserved the city from the enemies outside, and was fast proceeding with the fortifications which would be a permanent protection; but before they were completed a cry arose within which called his attention to dangers quite as threatening. Of what avail to have secured the people from the foreign foe if they were... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Nehemiah 5:1-13

The rich rebuked for taking advantage of the poor. I. THE POOR . 1. Numbers tend to poverty. "We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live" (verse 2). 2. Borrowing tends to poverty. "We have mortgaged our lands" (verse 3). 3. Taxation tends to poverty. "We have borrowed money for the king's tribute" (verse 4). 4. Poverty may sometimes have cause for protest against injustice. 5. Poverty is experienced by... read more

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