Daily Word

False Friends  |  Nehemiah 6:17-19 (NLT)

17 During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah. 18 For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me.

Nehemiah 6:17-19 (NLT)


While the wall rebuilding was going on, Tobiah was sending letters to the Jewish nobels in the city and they were informing him what Nehemiah was doing. Could you imagine? Here is Nehemiah, he was there to do a good work of God that would benefit the people of Jerusalem, and some of the leaders were fraternizing with the enemy! And this Tobiah, who may have been a Jew – but at least was related by marriage – was opposing his work, trying to intimidate him. The very guys Nehemiah was there to help were opposing him. The ones who could see clearly that God was in this were traitors – traitors not just to Nehemiah, but to the Lord. 

Loose living

How could this be? Clarke’s commentary points out that prior to the coming of Nehemiah to Jerusalem, the Jews were already intermixing with the non-Jews through intermarriage with Ashdodites, Ammonites, and Moabites; (Neh 13:23). We remember Ezra had to deal with this, (Ezr 9:3) primarily among the common people, though there were both chiefs and priests who also did it. But here the non-Jews and Jewish nobles had formed bonds and, in a way, these Jewish leaders had sold their souls. At a minimum, they were compromising their faith.

What were they thinking?

What were they thinking? Maybe things like: “Tobiah is family but Nehemiah is the outsider.” Or, “We’ve got lucrative deals with Tobiah that we don’t want to lose. Tobiah has been around longer.”

Nehemiah’s response?

As we saw yesterday, he played it cool and let God deal with the situation. “He wasn’t going to demand the nobles change their minds about Tobiah; but he wasn’t going to deny what he knew to be true about Tobiah either. He seems willing to let it go and let God take care of it.” (enduringword.com)

Can you trust the Lord with your situation? Or, can you pray for your spiritual leaders who may be under attack for doing God’s work?

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