Ye exact usury - This was expressly contrary to the law of God; and was doubly cruel at this time, when they were just returning out of the land of their captivity, and were suffering from the effects of a dearth. Some think that it was about the time of a Sabbatical year, when their land must have lain at rest without cultivation, and during which they were expressly commanded not to exact any debt. Deuteronomy 15:2.
I set a great assembly against them - Brought all these delinquents before the rulers of the people.
Ye exact usury - The phrase is unique to Nehemiah, and is best explained by the context, which shows the practice of the rich Jews at the time to have been not so much to lend on usury as to lend on mortgage and pledge.
This chapter is based on Nehemiah 5.
The wall of Jerusalem had not yet been completed when Nehemiah's attention was called to the unhappy condition of the poorer classes of the people. In the unsettled state of the country, tillage had been to some extent neglected. Furthermore, because of the selfish course pursued by some who had returned to Judea, the Lord's blessing was not resting upon their land, and there was a scarcity of grain. PK 646.1Read in context »