An Ammonite prince, in league with Sanballat and the Samaritans against the pious Jews, who were rebuilding the ruined temple, Ne 2:10; 4:3. His threats and treachery were employed in vain. During Nehemiah's absence, Tobiah was unlawfully established by some of the chief men of Judah, his relatives, in a fine apartment of the new temple; but was ignominiously expelled on the governor's return, Ne 6:17-19; 13:1-9.
pleasing to Jehovah, the "servant," the "Ammonite," who joined with those who opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Exile (Ne 2:10). He was a man of great influence, which he exerted in opposition to the Jews, and "sent letters" to Nehemiah "to put him in fear" (Ne 6:17-19). "Eliashib the priest" prepared for him during Nehemiah's absence "a chamber in the courts of the house of God," which on his return grieved Nehemiah sore, and therefore he "cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber" (Ne 13:7-8).
TOBIAH or TOBIJAH ("goodness of Jehovah".)
1. A Levite employed by Jehoshaphat to teach the law in the cities of Judah (2Ch 17:8).
2. "The slave, the Ammonite." With Sanballat and Geshem tried by fair means and foul to thwart Nehemiah (Ne 2:10,19; 6:17-18; 13:1-8). He had the greater power of mischief, being married into a Jewish family (the daughter of Shechaniah), and having his son Johanan married to the daughter of Meshullam, thus he had a Jewish party on his side. As Sanballat represented Moab's hereditary grudge against Israel, so Tobiah represented Ammon's. Eliashib was allied to Tobiah; possibly Sanballat, Eliashib's son in law, was related to Tobiah, and so Tobiah was connected with Eliashib (Ne 13:4). Hence, it was deemed necessary to read before the people the law that "the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God forever" (Ne 13:1). Tobiah was notorious for contemptuous sarcasm (Ne 4:3-5), "even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall."
Nehemiah winced under his scorn and appealed to God for vindication: "hear, O God, for we are despised, and turn their reproach upon their own head." The psalmist of Psalm 123 (possibly Nehemiah) speaks in the person of Israel similarly of Moab's, Ammon's, and Samaria's contempt: "behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters (glancing in contrast at 'Tobiah the servant' or slave) so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God ... Have mercy upon us, for we are exceedingly filled with contempt; our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud." An undesigned coincidence between the psalm and the history.
So also Ps 79:4,12, written at the same date (see Ps 79:1) when the "holy temple" lay "defiled": "we are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us ... Render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach wherewith they have reproached Thee." Tobiah corresponded with the nobles of Judah of his party, many of whom were "sworn to him" because of affinity. These reported his good deeds before Nehemiah to win him over, and then reported Nehemiah's words to Tobiah, and wrote intimidating letters to Nehemiah (Ne 6:17-19). His crowning impudence was residing in a chamber of the temple, of which the proper use was to be a store for the vessels, the tithes, and offerings for the Levites, priests, etc., Eliashib having dared, in defiance of the law, to prepare it for him. Nehemiah was sorely grieved, and cast all Tobiah's stuff out, and commanded the cleansing of the chambers (Ne 13:1-9).
1. A family which returned from exile, but could not trace their genealogy (Ezr 2:60 = Ne 7:62); corrupted in 1Es 5:37 to Ban. 2. The Ammonite who, in conjunction with Sanballat and others, persistently opposed the work of Nehemiah (Ne 2:10,19; 4:3,7; 6:17; 13:4,8). Cf. art. Nehemiah.
2. The Ammonite, who was a bitter enemy to Nehemiah. He afterwards became allied to Eliashib the priest, but Nehemiah turned out his goods from a chamber he occupied in the court of the house. Nehemiah said of him and others, "Ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem." Ne 2:10,19; 4:3,7; 6; 13:4,8.
(goodness of Jehovah).
1. "The children of Tobiah" were a family who returned with Zerubbabel, but were unable to prove their connection with Israel --
(B.C. before 536.)
2. "Tobiah the slave, the Ammonite," played a conspicuous part in the rancorous position made by Sanballat the Moabite and his adherents to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. (B.C. 446.) The two races of Moab and Ammon found in these men fit representatives of that hereditary hatred to the Israelites which began before the entrance into Caanan, and was not extinct when the Hebrews had ceased to exist as a nation. But Tobiah, though a slave,
unless, this is a title of opprobrium --and an Ammonite, found means to ally himself with a priestly family, and his son Johanan married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
He himself was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah,
and these family relations created for him a strong faction among the Jews.
TOBIAH, an Ammonite, an enemy to the Jews. He was one of those who strenuously opposed the rebuilding of the temple, after the return from the captivity of Babylon, Ne 2:10; 4:3; 5:1,12,14. This Tobiah is called "the servant," or "slave," in some parts of Nehemiah; probably because he was of a servile condition, However, he was of great consideration in the land of the Samaritans, of which he was governor with Sanballat. This Tobiah married the daughter of Shechaniah, one of the principal Jews of Jerusalem, Ne 6:18, and had a powerful party in Jerusalem itself, who were opposed to that of Nehemiah. He maintained a correspondence by letter with this party against the interest of Ne 6:17-19; but that prudent governor, by his wisdom and moderation, defeated all their machinations. After some time, Nehemiah was obliged to return to Babylon, subsequent to having repaired the walls of Jerusalem. Tobiah took this opportunity to come and dwell at Jerusalem; and even obtained of Eliashib, who had the care of the house of the Lord, to have an apartment in the temple. But at Nehemiah's return from Babylon, some years after, he drove Tobiah out of the courts of the temple, and threw his goods out of the holy place, Ne 13:4-8. From this time the Scripture makes no farther mention of Tobiah. It is probable he retired to Sanballat at Samaria.