Saturday, 23 June 2018

Nehemiah 5

Some of those governed by Nehemiah are clearly in a bad way with respect to economic hardship. They appear to have 'sold' their children into slavery, and mortgaged their fields to pay taxes. JB renders כבשׁ as sell (מכר) and rape (שׁגל), KJV as bring into bondage (אסר). I don't have quite this luxury of free interpretation. But the exploitation among the chosen example is clear nonetheless.

KJV is showing its prejudice when it labels the nations as the heathen. "O'er heathen lands afar, thick darkness broodeth yet". This is the kind of prejudiced reading I grew up with in the shadow of  the colonial tradition. Some hymnody is less than inspirational. For גוי, KJV has about 2/3 nation and most of the rest heathen with a few gentile and people. I have used only nation for this word. Nation and body are possibly related stems. All the stems beginning with גו are noted here - I am using this site now for experimentation with presenting parts of my emerging glossary.

Nehemiah is from נאם to comfort. In the great analogy, this is the comforter, the one who builds the temple, whether new or old. Do his actions (in verse 13, his questions) represent the actions of God who takes care of his people? (Not to mention others for the moment.) Perhaps that lets us see the way in which he uses the viceroy's office and privilege. How do we use ours?

There is a phrase in verse 11 with three consecutive stems, דגן ,ירשׁ ,צהר, grain, new wine, clarified oil that sent me back to Deuteronomy and three of the minor prophets, Hosea 2.10, Joel 1.10, 2.19, 24 and Haggai 1.11. I use clarified oil to distinguish this oil from שׁמן. This phrase is like a leitmotif in Deuteronomy (7.13, 11.14, 12.17, 14.23, 18.4, 28.51) concerning the richness of the land to be possessed (also ירשׁ - no one puts new wine in old wine-skins). Also in Jeremiah, e.g. 31.12. And there are a couple yet to come.

Verse 14. It is not passive voice ('I was appointed' KJV). JB has 'the king appointed'. There is no antecedent for the subject of the verb. All these moves are clarifications to enable speed-reading. No one ever heard 'the word' with speed reading. Somehow we need to match God's patience.

Verse 2 - (we are many) perhaps a euphemism for selling their children into slavery.

Verse 13 - his, i.e. God's house and God's labour. As we labour for God so God labours for us. Not to be brushed off lightly. Hopefully that leaves the exploiters without resentment.

Nehemiah 5 Fn Min Max Syll
וַתְּהִ֨י צַעֲקַ֥ת הָעָ֛ם וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֖ם גְּדוֹלָ֑ה
אֶל־אֲחֵיהֶ֖ם הַיְּהוּדִֽים
1 And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives,
to their kin, the Judeans.
3d 4A 13
וְיֵשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֹמְרִ֔ים בָּנֵ֥ינוּ וּבְנֹתֵ֖ינוּ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ רַבִּ֑ים
וְנִקְחָ֥ה דָגָ֖ן וְנֹאכְלָ֥ה וְנִחְיֶֽה
2 And there are who say, Our sons and our daughters, (we are many),
and we will take the grain, and we will eat that we may live.
3e 4B 18
וְיֵשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֹמְרִ֔ים שְׂדֹתֵ֛ינוּ וּכְרָמֵ֥ינוּ וּבָתֵּ֖ינוּ אֲנַ֣חְנוּ עֹרְבִ֑ים
וְנִקְחָ֥ה דָגָ֖ן בָּרָעָֽב
3 And there are who say, our fields and our vineyards and our houses we have given as surety,
that we may take the grain in scarcity.
3d 4B 23
וְיֵשׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֹמְרִ֔ים לָוִ֥ינוּ כֶ֖סֶף לְמִדַּ֣ת הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ
שְׂדֹתֵ֖ינוּ וּכְרָמֵֽינוּ
4 And there are who say, we have borrowed money for the levy of the king,
our fields and our vineyards.
3e 4B 17
וְעַתָּ֗ה כִּבְשַׂ֤ר אַחֵ֙ינוּ֙ בְּשָׂרֵ֔נוּ כִּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם בָּנֵ֑ינוּ
וְהִנֵּ֣ה אֲנַ֣חְנוּ כֹ֠בְשִׁים אֶת־בָּנֵ֨ינוּ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵ֜ינוּ לַעֲבָדִ֗ים וְיֵ֨שׁ מִבְּנֹתֵ֤ינוּ נִכְבָּשׁוֹת֙ וְאֵ֣ין לְאֵ֣ל יָדֵ֔נוּ וּשְׂדֹתֵ֥ינוּ וּכְרָמֵ֖ינוּ לַאֲחֵרִֽים
5 And now as the flesh of our kin is our flesh, as their children our children,
and behold we ourselves have lost control of our sons, and our sons are slaves, and there are some from our daughters who are controlled, and impotent is our hand, and our fields and our vineyards belong to others.
3e 4C 18
וַיִּ֥חַר לִ֖י מְאֹ֑ד
כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־זַֽעֲקָתָ֔ם וְאֵ֖ת הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה
6 And I burned with much anger,
as I heard their appeal and these words.
3e 4C 6
וַיִּמָּלֵ֨ךְ לִבִּ֜י עָלַ֗י וָאָרִ֙יבָה֙ אֶת־הַחֹרִ֣ים וְאֶת־הַסְּגָנִ֔ים וָאֹמְרָ֣ה לָהֶ֔ם מַשָּׁ֥א אִישׁ־בְּאָחִ֖יו אַתֶּ֣ם נֹשִׁ֑ים
וָאֶתֵּ֥ן עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם קְהִלָּ֥ה גְדוֹלָֽה
7 But I reigned over my heart, and I contended with the freeborn and the prefects, and said to them, You have lured each his kin. You have lured them.
And I positioned a great congregation against them.
3e 4B 36
וָאֹמְרָ֣ה לָהֶ֗ם אֲנַ֣חְנוּ קָ֠נִינוּ אֶת־אַחֵ֨ינוּ הַיְּהוּדִ֜ים הַנִּמְכָּרִ֤ים לַגּוֹיִם֙ כְּדֵ֣י בָ֔נוּ וְגַם־אַתֶּ֛ם תִּמְכְּר֥וּ אֶת־אֲחֵיכֶ֖ם וְנִמְכְּרוּ־לָ֑נוּ
וַֽיַּחֲרִ֔ישׁוּ וְלֹ֥א מָצְא֖וּ דָּבָֽר
8 And I said to them, We have acquired our kin the Judeans, the ones being sold to the nations, as often as was in us. And even you, will you sell your kin? Or will they be sold to us?
But they kept silent and failed to find a word.
3d 4C 45
וָאוֹמַ֕ר לֹא־ט֥וֹב הַדָּבָ֖ר אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּ֣ם עֹשִׂ֑ים
הֲל֞וֹא בְּיִרְאַ֤ת אֱלֹהֵ֙ינוּ֙ תֵּלֵ֔כוּ מֵחֶרְפַּ֖ת הַגּוֹיִ֥ם אוֹיְבֵֽינוּ
9 And I said, Not good is the thing that you are doing.
Is it not in the fear of our God you should go, out of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?
3e 4C 14
וְגַם־אֲנִי֙ אַחַ֣י וּנְעָרַ֔י נֹשִׁ֥ים בָּהֶ֖ם כֶּ֣סֶף וְדָגָ֑ן
נַֽעַזְבָה־נָּ֖א אֶת־הַמַּשָּׁ֥א הַזֶּֽה
10 And even I, my kin, or my lads, might have lured from them silver or grain.
Let us forsake please, this luring.
3e 4B 18
הָשִׁיבוּ֩ נָ֨א לָהֶ֜ם כְּהַיּ֗וֹם שְׂדֹתֵיהֶ֛ם כַּרְמֵיהֶ֥ם זֵיתֵיהֶ֖ם וּבָתֵּיהֶ֑ם
וּמְאַ֨ת הַכֶּ֤סֶף וְהַדָּגָן֙ הַתִּיר֣וֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתֶּ֖ם נֹשִׁ֥ים בָּהֶֽם
11 Restore please to them as of today, their fields, their vineyards, their olive trees, and their houses,
and a hundred of the silver, and the grain, the new wine, and the clarified oil that you have lured from them.
3d 4C 23
וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ נָשִׁ֗יב וּמֵהֶם֙ לֹ֣א נְבַקֵּ֔שׁ כֵּ֣ן נַעֲשֶׂ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר אַתָּ֣ה אוֹמֵ֑ר
וָאֶקְרָא֙ אֶת־הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים וָֽאַשְׁבִּיעֵ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֖וֹת כַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה
12 And they said, We will restore, and from them, nothing we will demand, so we will do as you say.
And I called the priests, and I had them swear to do according to this word.
3e 4B 23
גַּם־חָצְנִ֣י נָעַ֗רְתִּי וָֽאֹמְרָ֡ה כָּ֣כָה יְנַעֵ֪ר הָֽאֱלֹהִ֟ים אֶת־כָּל־הָאִישׁ֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹֽא־יָקִ֜ים אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה מִבֵּיתוֹ֙ וּמִ֣יגִיע֔וֹ וְכָ֛כָה יִהְיֶ֥ה נָע֖וּר וָרֵ֑ק
וַיֹּאמְר֨וּ כָֽל־הַקָּהָ֜ל אָמֵ֗ן וַֽיְהַלְלוּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָעָ֖ם כַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה
13 Also I brushed off my forearm and said, Thus will God brush off every person who not does uphold this word, from his house, and from his labour. Thus he will be brushed off and emptied.
And all the congregation said, Amen. And they praised Yahweh. And the people did according to this word.
3d 4B 48
גַּ֞ם מִיּ֣וֹם ׀ אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֣ה אֹתִ֗י לִהְי֣וֹת פֶּחָם֮ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ יְהוּדָה֒ מִשְּׁנַ֣ת עֶשְׂרִ֗ים וְ֠עַד שְׁנַ֨ת שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים וּשְׁתַּ֙יִם֙ לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁ֣סְתְּא הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ שָׁנִ֖ים שְׁתֵּ֣ים עֶשְׂרֵ֑ה
אֲנִ֣י וְאַחַ֔י לֶ֥חֶם הַפֶּ֖חָה לֹ֥א אָכַֽלְתִּי
14 ~ Moreover from that day, he commanded me to become their viceroy in the land of Judah from the twentieth year to the thirty second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years.
I and my kin have not eaten the bread of the viceroy.
3e 4C 46
וְהַפַּחוֹת֩ הָרִאשֹׁנִ֨ים אֲשֶׁר־לְפָנַ֜י הִכְבִּ֣ידוּ עַל־הָעָ֗ם וַיִּקְח֨וּ מֵהֶ֜ם בְּלֶ֤חֶם וָיַ֙יִן֙ אַחַר֙ כֶּֽסֶף־שְׁקָלִ֣ים אַרְבָּעִ֔ים גַּ֥ם נַעֲרֵיהֶ֖ם שָׁלְט֣וּ עַל־הָעָ֑ם
וַאֲנִי֙ לֹא־עָשִׂ֣יתִי כֵ֔ן מִפְּנֵ֖י יִרְאַ֥ת אֱלֹהִֽים
15 And the former viceroys that were before, were heavy over the people, and had taken from them bread and wine, after forty silver shekels. Also their lads had authority over the people.
But I, I have not done so in the presence of the fear of God.
3e 4C 49
וְ֠גַם בִּמְלֶ֜אכֶת הַחוֹמָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ הֶחֱזַ֔קְתִּי וְשָׂדֶ֖ה לֹ֣א קָנִ֑ינוּ
וְכָל־נְעָרַ֔י קְבוּצִ֥ים שָׁ֖ם עַל־הַמְּלָאכָֽה
16 ~ And also in the lines of work of this wall, I was resolute, but we acquired no field,
and all my lads were collected there over the lines of work.
3e 4C 21
וְהַיְּהוּדִ֨ים וְהַסְּגָנִ֜ים מֵאָ֧ה וַחֲמִשִּׁ֣ים אִ֗ישׁ וְהַבָּאִ֥ים אֵלֵ֛ינוּ מִן־הַגּוֹיִ֥ם אֲשֶׁר־סְבִיבֹתֵ֖ינוּ עַל־שֻׁלְחָנִֽי 17 And the Judeans and the prefects, a hundred and fifty men, and they came to us,
from the nations that surrounded us, at my table.
3c 4B 37
וַאֲשֶׁר֩ הָיָ֨ה נַעֲשֶׂ֜ה לְי֣וֹם אֶחָ֗ד שׁ֣וֹר אֶחָ֞ד צֹ֠אן שֵׁשׁ־בְּרֻר֤וֹת וְצִפֳּרִים֙ נַֽעֲשׂוּ־לִ֔י וּבֵ֨ין עֲשֶׂ֧רֶת יָמִ֛ים בְּכָל־יַ֖יִן לְהַרְבֵּ֑ה
וְעִם־זֶ֗ה לֶ֤חֶם הַפֶּחָה֙ לֹ֣א בִקַּ֔שְׁתִּי כִּֽי־כָֽבְדָ֥ה הָעֲבֹדָ֖ה עַל־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּֽה
18 And what was done for one day, one bull, six pure sheep were done for me, and birds. And once every ten days, with all wine in abundance.
And with this, the bread of the viceroy I did not seek, for the service was heavy over this people.
3c 4C 41
זָכְרָה־לִּ֥י אֱלֹהַ֖י לְטוֹבָ֑ה
כֹּ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂ֖יתִי עַל־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּֽה
19 Remember me, my God, for the good,
all that I have done over people this.
3e 4A 9

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