Nehemiah 5:13
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, "In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!" At this the whole assembly said, "Amen," and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.

New Living Translation
I shook out the folds of my robe and said, "If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you like this from your homes and from your property!" The whole assembly responded, "Amen," and they praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.

English Standard Version
I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.

New American Standard Bible
I also shook out the front of my garment and said, "Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.

King James Bible
Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I also shook the folds of my robe and said, "May God likewise shake from his house and property everyone who doesn't keep this promise. May he be shaken out and have nothing!" The whole assembly said, "Amen," and they praised the LORD. Then the people did as they had promised.

International Standard Version
I also shook my robes, and said, "May God shake out every man from his house and his possessions who does not keep this promise. May he be emptied out and shaken just like this." All the assembly said, "Amen!" and praised the LORD. And the people kept their promise.

NET Bible
I also shook out my garment, and I said, "In this way may God shake out from his house and his property every person who does not carry out this matter. In this way may he be shaken out and emptied!" All the assembly replied, "So be it!" and they praised the LORD. Then the people did as they had promised.

New Heart English Bible
Also I shook out my lap, and said, "So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that doesn't perform this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied." All the assembly said, "Amen," and praised the LORD. The people did according to this promise.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I brushed off my clothes and said, "In the same way, may God brush off from home and work everyone who refuses to keep this promise. In the same way, may everyone be brushed off and left with nothing." Then the whole congregation said amen and praised the LORD. The people did what they had promised.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Also I shook out my lap, and said: 'So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied.' And all the congregation said: 'Amen', and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

New American Standard 1977
I also shook out the front of my garment and said, “Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen!” And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Also I shook my lap and said, Thus will God shake out each man from his house and from his labour, that does not perform this promise, even thus shall he be shaken out and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

King James 2000 Bible
Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performs not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

American King James Version
Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performes not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

American Standard Version
Also I shook out my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the assembly said, Amen, and praised Jehovah. And the people did according to this promise.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Moreover I shook my lap, and said: So may God shake every man that shall not accomplish this word, out of his house, and out of his labours, thus may he be shaken out, and become empty. And all the multitude said: Amen. And they praised God. And the people did according to what was said.

Darby Bible Translation
Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house and from his earnings, that performeth not this promise: even thus be he shaken out and emptied! And all the congregation said, Amen! And they praised Jehovah. And the people did according to this promise.

English Revised Version
Also I shook out my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

Webster's Bible Translation
Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

World English Bible
Also I shook out my lap, and said, "So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that doesn't perform this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied." All the assembly said, "Amen," and praised Yahweh. The people did according to this promise.

Young's Literal Translation
also, my lap I have shaken, and I say, 'Thus doth God shake out every man, who doth not perform this thing, from his house, and from his labour; yea, thus is he shaken out and empty;' and all the assembly say, 'Amen,' and praise Jehovah; and the people do according to this thing.
Study Bible
Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed
12Then they said, "We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say." So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. 13I also shook out the front of my garment and said, "Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise. 14Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my kinsmen have eaten the governor's food allowance.…
Cross References
Acts 18:6
But when they opposed and insulted him, he shook out his garments and told them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."

1 Corinthians 14:16
Otherwise, if you speak a blessing in spirit, how can someone who is uninstructed say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying?

Nehemiah 8:6
Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Treasury of Scripture

Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performes not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

I shook my lap (So 'when the Roman ambassadors entered the senate of Carthage, they had their toga gathered up in their bosom, and said, We carry here peace and war; you may have which you will. The senate answered, You may give which you please. They then shook their toga, and said, We bring you war.'--Livy.)

Matthew 10:14 And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you …

Acts 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium.

Acts 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, …

So God

1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said to him, The LORD has rent the kingdom of Israel from …

1 Kings 11:29-31 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, …

Zechariah 5:3,4 Then said he to me, This is the curse that goes forth over the face …

emptied. Heb. empty, or void. Amen

Numbers 5:22 And this water that causes the curse shall go into your bowels, to …

Deuteronomy 27:14-26 And the Levites shall speak, and say to all the men of Israel with …

praised

1 Chronicles 16:36 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the …

the people

2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, …

Psalm 50:14 Offer to God thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the most High:

Psalm 76:11 Vow, and pay to the LORD your God: let all that be round about him …

Psalm 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep your righteous judgments.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 Better is it that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay.

(13) Shook my lap.--This symbolical act imprecated on every man who broke this covenant an appropriate penalty: that he be emptied of all his possessions, even as the fold of Nehemiah's garment was emptied. And it is observable that the iniquity thus stopped is not referred to in the subsequent covenant (Nehemiah 10), nor is it one of the offences which the governor found on his second return (Nehemiah 13).

Verse 13. - Also I shook my lap. Even the taking of the oath did not seem sufficient to the prudent governor. He would strengthen the oath by a malediction, and a malediction accompanied by a symbolical act, to render it the more impressive. Among the nations of antiquity few things were so much dreaded as falling under a curse. The maledictions of Deuteronomy 28:16-44 were the supreme sanction which Moses devised for the Law, whereof he was the promulgator. Curses protected the tombs and inscriptions of the Assyrian and Persian kings, the contracts of the Babylonians, and the treaties of most nations. Nehemiah's curse is an unusual one, but very clear and intelligible. He prays that whosoever departs from his promise given may be cast forth a homeless wanderer, emptied of all his possessions, as empty as the fold in his own dress, which he first gathers into a sort of bag or pocket, and then throws from him and so empties out. To this the assembly responded by a hearty "Amen," and then praised the Lord for the happy ending of the whole affair; in which they piously traced the directing and over-ruling hand of God, "restraining the fierceness of men," and "turning it to his praise" (Psalm 76:10 - Prayer-Book version).

CHAPTER 5:14-19 GENERAL ACCOUNT OF NEHEMIAH'S GOVERNMENT (vers. 14-19). Having given this account of the internal difficulties which threatened to put a stop to the building of the wall before it was well begun, and been led in the course of it to speak of the poverty and sufferings of the common people, Nehemiah not unnaturally goes on to inform us of the methods by which in his general government he endeavoured to alleviate the distress, or at any rate to avoid adding to the burthens which pressed upon the poorer classes. From the time that he entered upon his office, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, B.C. 444, to the time of his writing this portion of his Book, in the thirty-second year of the same king, B.C. 432, he had lived entirely at his own expense, requiring no contributions from the people, either in provisions or money, for the support of himself or his court (ver. 14). This was quite contrary to the previous practice of Jewish governors (ver. 15), and indeed of Oriental governors generally, whether under the Persian system or any other, such persons almost universally taxing their provinces, sometimes very heavily, for their current expenses, and often accumulating princely fortunes by their exactions. Nehemiah had also maintained a noble hospitality, of which he may be excused for being a little proud, during these twelve years of his governorship, entertaining daily at his table 150 of the chief inhabitants of Jerusalem, besides many foreign Jews who from time to time came on visits to the Judaean capital (vers. 17, 18). It is conjectured that he was able to take this course, and spend so largely without receiving any income from his province, because he retained his place of cupbearer, and as such drew a large salary from the Persian court (Ewald, 'History of Israel,' vol. 5. p. 150, E. Tr.). However this may have been, he certainly disbursed large sums of money in Jerusalem, and must have done something to alleviate the general poverty by his lavish expenditure. He takes credit, further, for giving the services of his private attendants to the work of the wall during the whole time that it was in building (ver. 16), and for having abstained from the purchase of any land, when, through the general poverty, it might have been bought at a low price from those who were anxious to part with it (ibid.). HIS conduct beyond a doubt stood in the strongest contrast with that of the ordinary Persian satrap, or other governor, and we cannot be surprised that he looked on it with some complacency. He felt that he had done much for his people. He looked, however, for his reward not to them, not to man, but to God; and desired that his reward should be not present gratitude and thanks, not even posthumous fame, but God's approval and remembrance only (ver. 19). "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." Also I shook my lap,.... The fore skirts of his garment, shaking the dust out of them, as a symbol of what follows; a like rite was used in the case of peace and war, the choice of either, by the Romans, as proposed by their ambassadors to the Carthaginians, as having either in their bosom to shake out (l):

and said, so God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour; what he has got by his labour:

that performeth not his promise; confirmed by an oath:

even thus be he shaken out, and emptied; of all that he has in the world, and out of the world too, as Jarchi adds:

and all the congregation said, Amen; so let it be, even those that had taken pledges and usury, as well as others:

and praised the Lord; that had given them such a governor to direct, advise, and exhort them to their duty, and had inclined their hearts to attend thereunto:

and the people did according to this promise; they punctually kept it, and the oath they had sworn.

(l) Florus, l. 2. c. 6. Liv. l. 21. c. l8. 5:6-13 Nehemiah knew that, if he built Jerusalem's walls ever so high, so thick, or so strong, the city could not be safe while there were abuses. The right way to reform men's lives, is to convince their consciences. If you walk in the fear of God, you will not be either covetous of worldly gain, or cruel toward your brethren. Nothing exposes religion more to reproach, than the worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it. Those that rigorously insist upon their right, with a very ill grace try to persuade others to give up theirs. In reasoning with selfish people, it is good to contrast their conduct with that of others who are liberal; but it is best to point to His example, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich, 2Co 8:9. They did according to promise. Good promises are good things, but good performances are better.
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