“Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River. I gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent officers of the army and cavalry with me. However, when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.”
Nehemiah did not bring any returning Jews with him. Instead he had a section of the Persian army with him, including cavalry. Sanballat was the governor of Samaria in the Province Beyond the River. The river referred to was the territory west of the Euphrates River. Sanballat may have been a Moabite. In fact, some archeological digs have found papyrus with his name on it as the governor of Judah. Tobiah was an Ammonite official. Both of them seemed to be opposed to what was going on in Jerusalem, as their names will appear a few more times in this biblical account of Nehemiah.