Vs. 3, “Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” An all too familiar scenario as we face our own economic crises. There was not enough food to feed the people and loans & taxes were too high. Inflation was increasing and the rich were getting richer while the poor were getting poorer. Usury is the act of lending money an an incredibly high rate…i.e. credit cards of today. Nehemiah was a good leader and helped to change their economic crisis.
Regarding application…Exploitation. Vs. 10, “I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop!” It isn’t that the economic crisis was a horrible sin, it was how God’s people were treating each other. They were exploiting each other for personal gain. Money lenders were lending at rates so high that people couldn’t afford it and they were losing their land, possession, and even selling their children into slavery. Greed was taking over. Fortunately, we do not have many opportunities to ever exploit somoene, but just remember that the money God has blessed us with is not ours in the first place.