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Tobiah (Ammonite)

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Tobiah was an Ammonite official[1] (possibly a governor of Ammon) who incited the Ammonites to hinder Ezra and Nehemiah's efforts to rebuild Jerusalem.[2][3] He, along with Sanballat and Geshem the Arab, resorted to a stratagem, and, pretending to wish a conference with Nehemiah, invited him to meet them at Ono, Benjamin. Four times they made the request, and every time Nehemiah refused to come. Their object was to frighten him from completing the restoration of Jerusalem's walls and to do him some kind of harm.[4]

Tobiah also had married a daughter of Shecaniah, a Judahite leader,[5] and had given his son, Jehohanan, in marriage to the daughter of Meshullam, another Judahite leader,[6] for ostensibly political purposes. Because of this, he somehow gained enough of a Judahite coalition to use the Judahites themselves to send letters to Nehemiah, telling him of Tobiah's "good deeds" in an apparent attempt to weaken Nehemiah's resolve to keep Tobiah out of the rebuilding effort. Tobiah meanwhile sent intimidating letters directly to Nehemiah.[7]

Additionally, Tobiah had established a close relationship with Eliashib, the Israelite high priest, such that Eliashib emptied a room of the temple filled with the Israelite's grain offerings, incense, temple articles, and the tithes of grain, new wine and oil meant for the work of the temple and the temple workers themselves so that Tobiah could put his own household goods in the newly constructed temple. Upon hearing this, Nehemiah, who was then in Babylon serving Artaxerxes II (as there was no work at the Temple during the reigns of Darius the Great, Ahasuerus (probably Xerxes), or Artaxerxes I,[8] ) requested permission to return to Judah. After returning, he promptly threw all of Tobiah's belongings out of the temple room, purified the room, and put back all that had originally been there.[9]

References

  1. "Nehemiah ii. 10". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%202:10;. 
  2. "Nehemiah ii.". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%202;. 
  3. "Nehemiah iv. 1-8". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%204:1-8;. 
  4. "Nehemiah vi.". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%206;. 
  5. "Ezra x. 2". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=15&chapter=10&verse=2&context=verse. 
  6. "Ezra viii. 16". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=15&chapter=8&verse=16&context=verse. 
  7. "Nehemiah vi. 15-19". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%206:15-19;. 
  8. "Ezra iv. 1-7". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezra%204:1-7;. 
  9. "Nehemiah xiii. 1-9". http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Nehemiah%2013:1-9;. 

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