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The Scheming Tactics of Kingdom Enemies, Part 8 - (The Enemy's Tactic of Disloyalty)

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | December 2, 2023 | Nehemiah 6:17-19


Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. Nehemiah 6:17


Tobiah was a more treacherous influence in this tactic of disloyalty than Sanballat, since he was probably a fellow Jew, in addition to being a nominal adherent of Yahweh. His numerous binding agreements within the Jewish community were probably trading contracts, facilitated by his marriage connections. His wife’s family, the descendants of Arah, is mentioned in Ezra 2:5, and while neither Shecaniah nor this Meshullam can be identified, we know from 13:4 that Tobiah had family ties with the priestly or high-priestly house of Eliashib, probably by marriage. While such links and loyalties were embarrassing enough in themselves, we now learn how busily they were exploited by conspiracies, persuasive talk, leaks of information and threatening letters. All this, in addition to the outside pressures already described, brought Nehemiah under attack from almost every quarter.

During Nehemiah's efforts to rebuild the wall, there is a disheartening revelation of disloyalty among the nobles of Judah. They are in communication with Tobiah, an adversary, compromising the unity and integrity of the community. The loyalty of many in Judah had been compromised by oaths and familial ties to Tobiah. This tangled web of relationships created an atmosphere where allegiance to God's mission was overshadowed by personal loyalties, leading to betrayal and communication with the enemy. Tobiah's letters served as a tool of intimidation, aimed at discouraging and undermining Nehemiah's leadership. The enemy often uses disloyalty and internal strife to weaken the resolve of those working toward God's purposes. Relational disloyalties always threaten kingdom progress because those that we expect should be loyal to us cause us the greatest grief when they don’t stand by us and this is what happened to Nehemiah.


Do you feel afraid, or discouraged in serving God? Are you confused or deceived? You need to live your life according to God’s priorities. Don’t let neutral things or even good things become the enemy of the best that you are supposed to be. Allow God to strengthen your hands and finish the work so that He may be glorified in accomplishing His great work.


Dear Lord, guard my heart against the enemy's tactic of disloyalty within your church and my communities. Help me to prioritize allegiance to your mission above personal loyalties and to handle relationships in a way that strengthens rather than weakens our unity. Grant me discernment and resilience against intimidation, knowing that my ultimate loyalty is to you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.




The phrase "nobles of Judah" in Hebrew is "ḥaḵamê yəhûḏāh" (חַכְמֵי יְהוּדָה). "ḥaḵamê" implies wise or prudent individuals, often denoting leaders, and "yəhûḏāh" refers to the tribe of Judah. Therefore, the phrase conveys the idea of the wise or influential leaders among the tribe of Judah.

Similar terminology is found in other biblical passages, where "nobles" or "leaders" are mentioned in the context of societal structures and decision-making processes. For instance, in Numbers 1:16, leaders are selected from the tribes. The term "nobles of Judah" refers to the distinguished or prominent individuals among the tribe of Judah. Throughout the Bible, the word "nobles" is often associated with leaders, elders, or influential figures within a community. In this context, it signifies the leadership or influential class within the tribe of Judah during the period of Nehemiah's rebuilding efforts.

In Nehemiah 6:17, the reference to the "nobles of Judah" suggests that key leaders and influencers within the tribe were involved in the opposition or conspiracy against Nehemiah's work. This adds a layer of complexity to the challenges Nehemiah faced, as those with influence were among his adversaries.

The inclusion of the "nobles of Judah" in the narrative serves as a reminder that even within communities or groups of believers, challenges can arise from influential individuals. It prompts reflection on the importance of navigating opposition with wisdom, discernment, and reliance on God's guidance.


How does the presence of opposition among the "nobles of Judah" in Nehemiah's story offer insights into dealing with challenges that may arise within influential or leadership circles in our own lives or communities?

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