Nehemiah 13:4-5 Now before this, Eliashib the priesthad been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was a relative of Tobiah and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests.
I was reminded of this post I wrote on my former blog, while we talked about giving and levites and more of that in this wonderful men-meeting this week.
The Strategy of the enemy
I found some interesting information on this guy Tobiah on the web, which provide a good introduction to my writing this day! To be honest, I am on the hunt as hunting season is getting near here in Sweden!
Tobiah was an Ammonite official (possibly a governor of Ammon) who incited the Ammonites to hinder Ezra and Nehemiah’s efforts to rebuild Jerusalem. He, along with Sanballat the Horonite and Geshem the Arab, resorted to a stratagem, and, pretending to wish a conference with Nehemiah, invited him to meet them atOno, 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.
Tobiah also had married a daughter of Shecaniah, a Judahite leader, and had given his son, Jehohanan, in marriage to the daughter of Meshullam, another Judahite leader, 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.
Additionally, Tobiah had established a close relationship with Eliashib the High Priest, whose grandson had married the daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, such that Eliashib leased the storerooms of the temple, intended to be 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 conduct business 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,) 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.
What is the constant factor in the story of Nehemiah and Ezra, the key figures in the rebuilding process, mentioned here in the bible?
Delay, discouragement, lack of focus and lack of passion as intimidation and fear is walking hand in hand!
If you can’t conquer them join them is the constant strategy of the enemy of the rebuilding process.
When you read through the whole book of Nehemiah, how those three guys have been around and tried it from the left and the right, from the front and even from the back, but the most effective strategy turn out to be from within. I call it, Marrying yourself in! Just make sure that one of your grandchildren get an eye on this beautiful young Israelite and you only have to wait until your appearance is “familiar” so they even prepare you a room in the temple!
Now, let me ask you this question, which of your “close relatives” has been given the storeroom where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests?
Let me give you the advise to do what Nehemiah did as he was greatly displeased and throw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the room. He ordered that the rooms be purified, and he had the articles of the house of God restored there, along with the grain offering and frankincense.