I, as well as my brothers and my servants, have been lending the people money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury.
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" (ver. 2).
2. Borrowing tends to poverty. "We have mortgaged our lands" (ver. 3).
3. Taxation tends to poverty. "We have borrowed money for the king's tribute" (ver. 4).
4. Poverty may sometimes have cause for protest against injustice.
5. Poverty is experienced by the people of God who are engaged in holy toils.
II. THE RICH.
1. The rich must not take undue advantage of calamitous circumstances. "Because of the dearth" (ver. 3).
2. The rich must not be inconsiderate. "Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren" (ver. 5).
3. The rich must not be cruel. "Our daughters are brought unto bondage" (ver. 5).
4. The rich must not violate the law of God. "Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God?" (ver. 9).
III. THE REBUKE.
1. Angry. "And I was very angry."
2. Reflective. "I consulted with myself" (ver. 7).
3. Impartial. "The nobles and the rulers."
4. Sustained. "And I set a great assembly against them."
5. Argumentative (ver. 8).
6. Unanswerable. "They held their peace, and found nothing to answer."
7. Successful. "We will restore." - E.
Let us leave off this usury.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
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