and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say.  So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?
(Nehemiah 5:8-9 ESV)
Nehemiah and the others are working so hard to rebuild the nation of God, but on the inside these guys are lying and cheating and oppressing and undoing all of their work. It is no good to build a wall around Jerusalem if their hearts are as wicked as the pagans outside the walls.
I love it that it says Nehemiah took counsel with himself. He may have been all alone and every other official around him was corrupt in this. It doesn’t mention any others on his side, just that they were all silent when he brought up these questions.
The other thing that happened here that he doesn’t focus on is that it was like tax return season. It was like the year of Jubilee! Children taken in slavery were returned to their parents, land was returned to families, and interest that had been taken was given back. There were a ton of folks that became poorer, but there were even more that day that became richer!