Influence of Nehemiah on the Murashu Firm at Nippur after he went to the king in 432 BCE


The book of Nehemiah outlined the powerful reformatory influence of Nehemiah after he returned in 444 BCE and the subsequent problems he encountered with the rentals, leases, mortages, debts, and suffering of the people in and around Jerusalem. Interestingly the Murashu firm started their agricultural “Bank” operations three years after Nehemiah left. They opened their bank in Nippur close to Babylon. They were Jews working there and collect and distribute money and commodities between parties.

The texts of this firm, some published by Hilprecht and Clay and discussed by a number of scholars including the book used here, M. W. Stolper, indicated that when Nehemiah went back to the king in the 32 nd year of Artaxerxes I, in 432 BCE, the Murashu Firm suddenly “slowed-down” on their financial activities. Why? One can only think that Nehemiah had a strong hand here with the support of the king. Every aspect listed by Stolper below in his figures, are pointed out in the Bible as aspects that Nehemiah strongly opposed. Especially debt.

Mortages at the Murashu Firm is the lowest after Nehemiah arrived at Artaxerxes I court in the 32 year 432 BCE.

Stolper Fig 9 page 112

Significant drop in leases after the arrival of Nehemiah. Fig 8 page 111.

Rent receipts majorly down after Nehemiah’s arrival Fig 7 page 110

Receipts for taxes low. After he left it increased significantly. Fig 6.

At his arrival the lowest rentals from Murashu Firm, Fig 5 page 110

Rentals to Murashus the lowest at his arrival in Fig 4 on page 110.

Thus, the arrival of Nehemiah at the throne had a vivid effect on the Murashu Firm and its texts displays his presence. It is known from the Bible that he was a campaigner for the minimization of these aspects. And sure enough in the Murashu Firm texts in M. W. Stolper’s presentation in these tables, one can see Nehemiah’s powerful influence.




Stolper, M. W. Management and politics in later Achaemenid Babylonia; new texts from the Murašû archive (Diss. Ann Arbor, 1974) = Entrepreneurs and Empire: the Murašû Archive, the Murašû Firm, and Persian Rule in Babylonia. Leiden, 1985. Can be downloaded from internet.