Nehemiah 5:8
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New International Version
and said: "As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.

New Living Translation
At the meeting I said to them, "We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?" And they had nothing to say in their defense.

English Standard Version
and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say.

New American Standard Bible
I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say.

King James Bible
And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and said, "We have done our best to buy back our Jewish countrymen who were sold to foreigners, but now you sell your own countrymen, and we have to buy them back." They remained silent and could not say a word.

International Standard Version
I accused them, "To the best of our ability, we've been buying back our fellow Jews who had been sold to foreigners. Even now you're selling your fellow countrymen, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet and never spoke a word.

NET Bible
I said to them, "To the extent possible we have bought back our fellow Jews who had been sold to the Gentiles. But now you yourselves want to sell your own countrymen, so that we can then buy them back!" They were utterly silent, and could find nothing to say.

New Heart English Bible
I said to them, "We, after our ability, have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the nations; and would you even sell your brothers, and should they be sold to us?" Then they held their peace, and found never a word.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then I told them, "We have done our best to buy back our Jewish relatives who had been sold to other nations. Now you are selling your Jewish relatives so that we have to buy them back again!" They were unable to say anything.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And I said unto them: 'We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, that sold themselves unto the heathen; and would ye nevertheless sell your brethren, and should they sell themselves unto us?' Then held they their peace, and found never a word.

New American Standard 1977
And I said to them, “We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a word to say.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren, the Jews who had been sold unto the Gentiles; and will ye even sell your brethren? And shall they be sold unto us? Then they remained silent, for they had nothing to answer.

King James 2000 Bible
And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold unto the nations; and will you even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

American King James Version
And I said to them, We after our ability have redeemed our brothers the Jews, which were sold to the heathen; and will you even sell your brothers? or shall they be sold to us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

American Standard Version
And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, that were sold unto the nations; and would ye even sell your brethren, and should they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found never a word.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I said to them: We, as you know, have redeemed according to our ability our brethren the Jews, that were sold to the Gentiles: and will you then sell your brethren, for us to redeem them ? And they held their peace, and found not what to answer.

Darby Bible Translation
And I said to them, We, according to our ability, have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold to the nations; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? And they were silent and found no answer.

English Revised Version
And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and would ye even sell your brethren, and should they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found never a word.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I said to them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold to the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold to us? Then they held their peace, and found nothing to answer.

World English Bible
I said to them, "We, after our ability, have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the nations; and would you even sell your brothers, and should they be sold to us?" Then they held their peace, and found never a word.

Young's Literal Translation
and say to them, 'We have acquired our brethren the Jews, those sold to the nations, according to the ability that is in us, and ye also sell your brethren, and they have been sold to us!' and they are silent, and have not found a word.
Study Bible
Nehemiah Defends the Oppressed
7I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, "You are exacting usury, each from his brother!" Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. 8I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. 9Again I said, "The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?…
Cross References
Leviticus 25:48
then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,

Nehemiah 5:9
Again I said, "The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
Treasury of Scripture

And I said to them, We after our ability have redeemed our brothers the Jews, which were sold to the heathen; and will you even sell your brothers? or shall they be sold to us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

We after

Matthew 25:15,29 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; …

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to …

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially …

redeemed

Leviticus 25:47-49 And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by you, and your brother …

sell your

Exodus 21:16 And he that steals a man, and sells him, or if he be found in his …

Deuteronomy 24:7 If a man be found stealing any of his brothers of the children of …

shall they

Romans 14:15 But if your brother be grieved with your meat, now walk you not charitably. …

1 Corinthians 8:11 And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

held

Job 29:10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

Job 32:15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.

Matthew 22:12 And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding …

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them …

(8) Will ye even sell your brethren?--The appeal is a strong one. Nehemiah and his friends had redeemed Jews from the heathen with money; these men had caused Jews to be sold to Jews.

Nothing to answer.--They might have replied had the letter of the law been urged; but this argument puts them to shame.

Verse 8. - We after our ability have redeemed our brethren. "We," here, may be either "we Jews of the captivity," in contrast with "you who have long returned from it," or "we of my house and household" (equivalent to the "I, my brethren, and my servants" of ver. 10), in contrast with "you rich Jews not of my household." Nehemiah must appeal to a well-known fact, that he and others had been in the habit of redeeming enslaved Jews among the heathen. Will ye even sell your brethren? An argumenturn ad verecundiam. Will ye do the exact opposite? Cause your brethren to be sold into slavery? And not to heathen masters, but to men of their own nation, unto us? Roman creditors, if they sold their debtor slaves, were required by law to sell them across the Tiber - to men of a different race. It was felt to add to the indignity of the slave condition that one should have to serve one's own countryman, recently one's equal and (perhaps) acquaintance. They held their peace, and found nothing to answer. Or, "found never a word. The argument told. It admitted of no reply. The nobles were ashamed, and had not a word to say. And I said unto them,.... The nobles, and rulers, and other rich persons that exacted usury of the poor:

we after our ability; speaking of himself in the plural number, which now obtained in the court of Persia; or of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and others, who, according as their worldly circumstances, having been captives, would admit of:

have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the Heathen; not that they had given a ransom for them to Cyrus, or any other king of Persia, which would be contrary to the prophecies concerning their redemption, Isaiah 45:13 but such who had sold themselves to particular persons in Babylon, who, without being redeemed, could not take the advantage of the liberty granted by Cyrus, and his successors; and it may be there were others also in the like circumstances, in other neighbouring nations, that had been redeemed this way. The Jewish canon (i) now is, he that sells himself, and his children, to Gentiles, they do not redeem; but they redeem the children after their father's death; which the commentators (k) explain of the third time that he sells himself:

and will you even sell your brethren? their lands and vineyards mortgaged to them, and even their persons:

or shall they be sold unto us? must we be obliged to buy them, and to redeem them:

then they held their peace, and found nothing to answer; being convinced they had done wrong, by the arguments used, to which they could make no reply.

(i) Misn. Gittin, c. 4. sect. 9. (k) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. 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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OT History: Nehemiah 5:8 I said to them We after our (Neh Ne) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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