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“Injustices that Destroy Community” – Nehemiah 5.1-19

The Nature of the Problem
There was a “great outcry” (Hebrew, ‘seyaqa’, cf. Isaiah 5.7)
The outcry is “by the Jews against their Jewish brothers”
The “women” were also involved in this outcry

Root Causes for the Outcry
The poorest do not even have enough to eat! (v 2)
They had to mortgage fields and houses to stay alive!! (v 3)
They even had to borrow to pay for taxes!!! (v 4)
Summary: “some of our daughters have already been submitted” (v5)

Nehemiah’s Response
He was “very angry”
He contemplated very carefully
He accused the nobles of exacting large interests
He accused the nobles of subjecting fellow Jews into second round of slavery!

Resolution of the Problem
Four key reminders from Nehemiah
Repentance and restitution by the nobles

Conclusion: What ca we learn for today?

Questions for Bible-Study Discussion

1. All of us encounter injustice some time or other, but how do we respond?
a. Share about a time when you felt unfairly treated…
b. How did you respond? What did you learn about yourself and the world around you?

2. In the context of Nehemiah 5…
a. What is the cause(s) of injustice or the ‘great outcry’?
b. Who was it directed against?
c. Why was it so serious?
d. As we contextualize to our situation today, what are the major cries of injustice that we hear today?
e. What should the church do if similar cries are heard today?

3. Read Nehemiah 5.6-11 and then share…
a. How did Nehemiah resolve the problem of injustice in his day?
b. Is there a specific lesson that is applicable to me today?

4. At the heart of all injustice is the desire to TAKE WHAT SHOULD NOT BE OURS. As his solution to this problem, Nehemiah taught us to BE WILLING TO GIVE EVEN WHAT IS OURS rather than taking what should not be ours (v 14-19).
a. Do you agree with the principle mentioned above? Why, or why not?
b. How do we apply the above principle today, yet in a way in which we are not taken advantage of?

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