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Tobiah in the Temple?

Rev. Enoch Thompson | January 13, 2024 | Nehemiah 13:4-5



⁴ Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, ⁵ and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, . . . Nehemiah 13:4-5 (NIV).



Throughout the narrative of the reconstruction effort of the people of Israel, we have all seen the man Tobiah to be a key element in the opposition to the work. “Tobiah and Sanballat” were equal to enemies of progress. How come then that at any point Tobiah could have a place among God’s people, to the extent of having accommodation in the Temple of God? Tobiah now occupied “a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests. (Nehemiah 13:5), NIV.


“Eliashib” is the answer to the sad situation above.  He had allowed his personal relationship with Tobiah to influence his judgment and had thoughtlessly apportioned accommodation to Tobiah in the Temple.  Unholy associations will yield sinful decisions and actions When we find Tobiah in the Temple, we can be sure that Eliashib has allowed himself to be used to get Tobiah in. The path to sin is the exercise of our will. Sin gets a seat of honour in our hearts and occupies the place where the glory of God should be when by the freewill, we allow it to take that place. Similarly, evil people get into church leadership and pollute the character and beauty of the Church when the Church is not spiritually awake enough to isolate itself from them, or when the Church willfully appoints such people because of some soft spot they may have for them.



Has sin got a seat in your heart, is Tobiah occupying some room in God’s Temple which is your body?

Let us be careful what we do to open our lives up to evil and evil people, for Tobiahs still seeks a place in the Temple of God.



Dear Lord, my heart bleeds that sin finds its way in from time to time, by my thoughts, my words and my will. I pray that you forgive me for the wrong use of my will to a place to sin in my life. I pray that the Church will be sensitive to your Spirit and avoid giving leadership roles to men and women who are contrary to the Spirit of God.

For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.






Eliashib (אֶלְיָשִׁיב) -The name "Eliashib" means "God restores" or "God is restorer" in Hebrew. The significance of names in the Bible often reflects the character or role of the person.

Eliashib is identified as a priest, and historical records from the Bible indicate that he served as the high priest during the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:1). The high priest held a crucial role in the religious and civic life of Israel. Eliashib's mention in Nehemiah 13:4-5 establishes a connection with Nehemiah's era, highlighting the continuing role of the priesthood in the post-exilic community. The involvement of the high priest in the narrative implies his influence on the religious affairs of Jerusalem.

The context of Nehemiah 13 reveals that Eliashib was associated with Tobiah, an adversary of Nehemiah. This collaboration resulted in the misuse of a room in the temple reserved for offerings. Eliashib's actions symbolize a departure from the sacred duties of the priesthood, indicating negligence and a compromise of integrity. Eliashib's involvement with Tobiah is symbolic of how even those in sacred positions can be led astray, emphasizing the need for spiritual vigilance and the potential consequences of compromising with worldly influences.


Reflect on the dual role of Eliashib as both a high priest and a figure involved in compromising actions. How does this narrative prompt us to examine the integrity of our leaders and ourselves in positions of influence? Consider the importance of maintaining spiritual vigilance and upholding the sacred responsibilities associated with leadership.

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