The king sent letters with Nehemiah to Sanballat the Horonite and to Tobiah the Ammonite, the high officials of the region beyond the River, in order to pave the way for what Nehemiah was to accomplish. Additionally, the king commanded Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, to provide Nehemiah with all the timber necessary to rebuild the city, walls, and gates of the temple.
Read Nehemiah 2:9-10. What do these verses tell us about the opposition Nehemiah and the Jews in general were going to face?
Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem sometime in the second part of the year 444. Opposition appears to spring up even before Nehemiah attempts any action, as the request delivered to the governors stirs up problems. Although Tobiah is a Jewish name, which meant “The Lord is good” (his son Jehohanan also carried a Jewish name, “the Lord is gracious”), he served as a governor of Ammon. Thus, Jerusalem was surrounded by enemies: Sanballat, the governor of Samaria to the north, Tobiah the governor of Ammon to the east, and Geshem the Arab (Neh. 2:18-19) to the south, who took hold of Edom and Moab. It is unfortunate that the leadership in that region shunned Nehemiah for being concerned about the “well-being” of the oppressed. Bullies don’t rejoice over the good fortune of those they intimidate.
Nehemiah’s “arrival in Jerusalem, however, with a military escort, showing that he had come on some important mission, excited the jealousy of the heathen tribes living near the city, who had so often indulged their enmity against the Jews by heaping upon them injury and insult. Foremost in this evil work were certain chiefs of these tribes, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian. From the first these leaders watched with critical eyes the movements of Nehemiah and endeavored by every means in their power to thwart his plans and hinder his work” – Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 635.
|What other biblical stories can you find that showed how those called by God to do His will faced opposition? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.|