Tobiah the Ammonite

The Bible identifies a man from the Persian period called Tobiah as an Ammonite (Nehemiah 2:10, 19, 4, 6, 13). But Bible students often express frustration with these references because the name Tobiah is Israelite! The ending –iah (yhw in Hebrew) is a shortened form of the Israelite God Yahweh. Tobiah means “Yahweh is good.”

Why then does the Bible call a person with an Israelite name an Ammonite? At Araq el-Emir, on a cliff above the Wadi Sir (pronounced “seer”), about five miles wesr of Amman and near a huge Hellenistic palace, the name Tobiah has been found inscribed into the rock twice in Aramaic script. Although the inscriptions date later than the Persian period, they suggest that there indeed was a Tobiad dynasty of rulers located east of the Jordan in the region of Ammon.

I believe that this dynasty included the earlier Tobiah who is mentioned in Nehemiah. But was this an Ammonite dynasty?

The scholarly consensus on this complicated problem is that it probably was not.a Perhaps the Biblical designation signified that they lived in the Ammonite region and were, for this or some other reason, not considered fully Jewish by Nehemiah.