Taking advantage of disadvantaged brethren 

Old Testament: Neh 5.1–5

To read the Bible in a year, read Nehemiah 4–6 on June 17, In the year of our Lord 2022

By Don Ruhl 

The Jews had a rough time after returning from Babylonian captivity. While in Jerusalem a famine struck and that made it even harder for some families. Here is what Nehemiah discovered: 

And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.” There were also some who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.” There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

– Nehemiah 5.1–5 

Brethren made slaves out of their own brethren. That should not have been. The same rich brethren took possession of their poorer brethren’s property. How then could they ever pay off their debt. 

The poor were disadvantaged and the wealthy ones made it worse. However, there were some rich Jews who helped their poor brethren, as the rest of the chapter shows. 


  • Do you take advantage of people who have been disadvantaged? 
  • Has someone taken advantage of you? 

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