Nehemiah 5:15
New International Version
But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that.

New Living Translation
The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.

English Standard Version
The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

Berean Study Bible
The governors before me had heavily burdened the people, taking from them bread and wine plus forty shekels of silver. Their servants also oppressed the people, but I did not do this because of my fear of God.

King James Bible
But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

New King James Version
But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

New American Standard Bible
But the previous governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of my fear of God.

NASB 1995
But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God.

NASB 1977
But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God.

Amplified Bible
But the former governors who were [in office] before me put heavy burdens on the people and took food and wine from them in addition to forty shekels of silver [as an excessive monthly salary]; even their servants assumed authority over the people. But I did not do so because of the [reverent] fear of God.

Christian Standard Bible
The governors who preceded me had heavily burdened the people, taking from them food and wine as well as a pound of silver. Their subordinates also oppressed the people, but because of the fear of God, I didn’t do this.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The governors who preceded me had heavily burdened the people, taking food and wine from them, as well as a pound of silver. Their subordinates also oppressed the people, but I didn’t do this, because of the fear of God.

American Standard Version
But the former governors that were before me were chargeable unto the people, and took of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the Rulers who had preceded me had enslaved the people, and they took from them wine and bread and much money for taxes, unto forty shekels, also their Servants ruled over the people and were authorized over them, and they abused them, and I have not done so, because of the presence of the awe of God.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
But as for the former acts of extortion wherein those who were before me oppressed them, they even took of them their last money, forty didrachms for bread and wine; and the very outcasts of them exercised authority over the people: but I did not so, because of the fear of God.

Contemporary English Version
Each governor before me had been a burden to the people by making them pay for his food and wine and by demanding forty silver coins a day. Even their officials had been a burden to the people. But I respected God, and I didn't think it was right to be so hard on them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But the former governors that had been before me, were chargeable to the people, and took of them in bread, and wine, and in money every day forty sides: and their officers also oppressed the people. But I did not so for the fear of God.

English Revised Version
But the former governors that were before me were chargeable unto the people, and took of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

Good News Translation
Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Those who were governors before me had made life difficult for the people by taking from them food and wine plus one pound of silver. Even the governors' servants took advantage of their power over the people. But I didn't do that, because I feared God.

International Standard Version
Nevertheless, the former governors before me placed a heavy burden on the people. They received food and wine, plus a tax of 40 shekels of silver. Even their young men took advantage of the people, but I never did so because I feared God.

JPS Tanakh 1917
But the former governors that were before me laid burdens upon the people, and took of them for bread and wine above forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants lorded over the people; but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

Literal Standard Version
the former governors who [are] before me have made themselves heavy on the people, and take of them in bread and wine, besides forty shekels in silver; also, their servants have ruled over the people—and I have not done so, because of the fear of God.

NET Bible
But the former governors who preceded me had burdened the people and had taken food and wine from them, in addition to forty shekels of silver. Their associates were also domineering over the people. But I did not behave in this way, due to my fear of God.

New Heart English Bible
But the former governors who were before me were supported by the people, and took bread and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants ruled over the people: but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

World English Bible
But the former governors who were before me were supported by the people, and took bread and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants ruled over the people: but I didn't do so, because of the fear of God.

Young's Literal Translation
the former governors who are before me have made themselves heavy on the people, and take of them in bread and wine, besides in silver forty shekels; also, their servants have ruled over the people -- and I have not done so, because of the fear of God.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Nehemiah's Generosity
14Furthermore, from the day King Artaxerxes appointed me to be their governor in the land of Judah, from his twentieth year until his thirty-second year (twelve years total), neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15The governors before me had heavily burdened the people, taking from them bread and wine plus forty shekels of silver. Their servants also oppressed the people, but I did not do this because of my fear of God. 16Instead, I devoted myself to the construction of the wall, and all my servants were gathered there for the work; we did not acquire any land.…

Cross References
Genesis 20:11
Abraham replied, "I thought to myself, 'Surely there is no fear of God in this place. They will kill me on account of my wife.'

Genesis 42:18
and on the third day he said to them, "I fear God. So do this and you will live:

Nehemiah 5:9
So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our foreign enemies?

Nehemiah 5:16
Instead, I devoted myself to the construction of the wall, and all my servants were gathered there for the work; we did not acquire any land.

Job 31:23
For calamity from God terrifies me, and His splendor I cannot overpower.

Jeremiah 32:9
So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and I weighed out seventeen shekels of silver.

Lamentations 5:8
Slaves rule over us; there is no one to deliver us from their hands.


Treasury of Scripture

But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable to the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants bore rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

even their

1 Samuel 2:15-17
Also before they burnt the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw…

1 Samuel 8:15
And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

Proverbs 29:12
If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

so did

Matthew 5:47
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

2 Corinthians 11:9
And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

2 Corinthians 12:13
For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

because

Nehemiah 5:9
Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?

Job 31:23
For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.

Psalm 112:1
Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.









(15) Besides forty shekels of silver.--Either in bread and wine over forty shekels, or, received in bread and wine, and beyond that, forty shekels. The latter, on the whole, is to be preferred; it would amount to about four pounds from the entire people daily.

So did not I, because of the tear of God.--Nehemiah contrasts his forbearance with the conduct of former governors; we cannot suppose him to mean Zorubbabel, but some of his successors. The practice he condemns was common among the satraps of the Persian princes. Note that usury and rigour were interdicted, in Leviticus 25:36; Leviticus 25:43, with the express sanction, "Fear thy God."

Verse 15. - The former governors that had been before me. Of these, two only are known to us, Zerubbabel and Ezra; but it is probable that there had been others. Were chargeable unto the people. The words of the original are stronger, and should be rendered "had oppressed the people (ἐβάρυναν, LXX.), "had been heavy upon them. Had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels. Rather, "had taken from them, for bread and wine, above forty shekels." (So Ewald and Bertheau.) Forty shekels a day from the whole people would seem to be intended - not forty shekels a year from each person, as some explain. Even their servants bare rule. The oppression exercised by the domestics and other hangers-on of rulers is often worse than their own. This is especially the case in the East, where eunuchs and other domestics have been the most fearful tyrants. Haman under Xerxes, Sejanus under Tiberius, Narcissus under Nero, are examples. So did not I. I neither exacted money, nor allowed my servants to bear rule. Because of the fear of God. Because I felt that it would be wrong, either absolutely or under the circumstances.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
The governors
וְהַפַּחוֹת֩ (wə·hap·pa·ḥō·wṯ)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 6346: A governor

before me
לְפָנַ֜י (lə·p̄ā·nay)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine plural construct | first person common singular
Strong's 6440: The face

had heavily burdened
הִכְבִּ֣ידוּ (hiḵ·bî·ḏū)
Verb - Hifil - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 3513: To be heavy, weighty, or burdensome

the people,
הָעָ֗ם (hā·‘ām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5971: A people, a tribe, troops, attendants, a flock

taking
וַיִּקְח֨וּ (way·yiq·ḥū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 3947: To take

from them
מֵהֶ֜ם (mê·hem)
Preposition-m | Pronoun - third person masculine plural
Strong's 1992: They

bread
בְּלֶ֤חֶם (bə·le·ḥem)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3899: Food, bread, grain

and wine
וָיַ֙יִן֙ (wā·ya·yin)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3196: Wine, intoxication

plus
אַחַר֙ (’a·ḥar)
Adverb
Strong's 310: The hind or following part

forty
אַרְבָּעִ֔ים (’ar·bā·‘îm)
Number - common plural
Strong's 705: Forty

shekels
שְׁקָלִ֣ים (šə·qā·lîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 8255: A weight, a commercial standard

of silver.
כֶּֽסֶף־ (ke·sep̄-)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3701: Silver, money

Their servants
נַעֲרֵיהֶ֖ם (na·‘ă·rê·hem)
Noun - masculine plural construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 5288: A boy, lad, youth, retainer

also
גַּ֥ם (gam)
Conjunction
Strong's 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

oppressed
שָׁלְט֣וּ (šā·lə·ṭū)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 7980: To dominate, govern, to permit

the people,
הָעָ֑ם (hā·‘ām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5971: A people, a tribe, troops, attendants, a flock

but I
וַאֲנִי֙ (wa·’ă·nî)
Conjunctive waw | Pronoun - first person common singular
Strong's 589: I

did not
לֹא־ (lō-)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

do
עָשִׂ֣יתִי (‘ā·śî·ṯî)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 6213: To do, make

this
כֵ֔ן (ḵên)
Adverb
Strong's 3651: So -- thus

because
מִפְּנֵ֖י (mip·pə·nê)
Preposition-m | Noun - common plural construct
Strong's 6440: The face

of my fear
יִרְאַ֥ת (yir·’aṯ)
Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 3374: Fear, reverence

of God.
אֱלֹהִֽים׃ (’ĕ·lō·hîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative


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OT History: Nehemiah 5:15 But the former governors who were before (Neh Ne)
Nehemiah 5:14
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