Tobias/Job as Montuemhat King of Thebes

Published September 5, 2016 by amaic



Damien F. Mackey



  1. His Pre-Official Years


“That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Ahiqar and … Nadin were also on hand to rejoice with Tobit. Tobias’s wedding feast was celebrated with joy for seven days, and many gifts were given to him”.

Tobit 11:17-18




Thankfully the Book of Tobit is able to provide us with much biographical information for Job (= Tobias):


Job’s Life and Times


because such information about the famed holy man of great righteousness is almost completely lacking in the Book of Job.

The Book of Tobit spans the lengthy neo-Assyrian period from king “Shalmaneser” until the destruction of Nineveh (cf. Tobit 1:2 and 14:15), thus anchoring Tobias/Job chronologically.

For an expanded view of this “Shalmaneser”, see my:


The Assyrian Kings


The Book of Tobit also gives what I consider to be the correct succession of neo-Assyrian kings, Shalmaneser, to Sennacherib, to Esarhaddon. No king Sargon mentioned between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib. I give what I think to be the reason for this in:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

Whilst in this present set our focus will be on the official status of Tobias/Job in the neo-Assyrian kingdom, we learned in the previous, related series:


Tobit a High Official in Realm of Assyria. Part One: “King Shalmaneser”


‘… Tobit of … the tribe of Naphtali, who in the days of Shalmaneser, king of the Assyrians, was taken into captivity …. The Most High gave me favor and good appearance in the sight of Shalmaneser, and I was his buyer of provisions’. Tobit 1:1, 2, 13


Tobit a High Official in Realm of Assyria. Part Two: Tobit’s Status


that this Naphtalian family was one of no little importance. For, as I noted in Part Two:


Tobit, an exile, must have been a person of exceptional competence to have so risen in the kingdom of Assyria to become purveyor, or quartermaster, of the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser.

That particular rank in Assyria, termed rab[i] ekalli or rab ša muḫḫi ekalli (“… in Middle Assyrian times the ša muḫḫi ekalli is used synonymously to rab ekalli”:, may have been a very high one indeed. For, according to this following estimation of the rank


Directly under the king were three officers. The turtannu, or field marshal; the ummânu, vice-chancellor; and the rab ša muḫḫi ekalli, the major-domo. The latter was the most important and the only one with direct access to the king (though the king could of course require the audience of lower ranked men himself); even the field marshal and the vice-chancellor had to go through the major-domo to request a meeting.

[End of quote]


But Tobit was not the only person of high rank in this most talented family of his (’s+quartermaster):


The family of Tobit, as we meet them in the Book of Tobit, are exceptional people. Tobit himself becomes procurator general, quartermaster for King Shalmaneser, and is sent on important purchasing expeditions to Media (Persia). His nephew Ahiqar becomes royal cupbearer, in effect the administrator of the entire empire. Their kinsman Gabiel in Media also has an important post there.

[End of quote]


One might think it inevitable therefore, too, that Tobias/Job – being able to boast of so high-ranking a father (Tobit) and a cousin (Ahiqar), in the kingdom of Assyria – would also have attained ultimately to a position of greatest prominence.

His arrival at manhood, when Tobias/Job married Sarah and then returned safely to his parents in Nineveh, was, as we read above, an occasion of “joy for all the Jews [preferably Israelites?] who lived in Nineveh”. Even the great man, Ahiqar, attended the celebration, along with Nadin. For my identification of this sinister character, Nadin, see:


“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”


Tobias/Job, having now arrived at a most meaningful phase of his early adult life, was soon to be catapulted into such public prominence as would see him, as I wrote previously:


… rise to highest judicial office. One has only to read e.g. Job 29:7-10:


‘When I went to the gate of the city

and took my seat in the public square,

the young men saw me and stepped aside

and the old men rose to their feet;

the chief men refrained from speaking

and covered their mouths with their hands;

the voices of the nobles were hushed,

and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths’.




Tobias and Shalmaneser




“At the ripe old age of 117 Tobias died, having lived long enough to hear about the destruction of Nineveh and to see King Cyaxares of Media take the people away as captives. Tobias praised God for the way that he had punished the people of Nineveh and Assyria.

As long as he lived he gave thanks for what God had done to Nineveh”.


Tobit 14:14-15




Biblical numbers


A slight problem for my identification of Tobias, son of Tobit, with the prophet Job:


Job’s Life and Times


is that, whereas Job is said to have “lived a hundred and forty years” (Job 42:16), Tobias appears to have fallen somewhat short of 140. The numbers given for his age at death vary: 99 years (Douay), 117 years, or 127 years.

As biblical scholars are very much aware, however, numbers can be somewhat unreliable – a classic case being 1 Samuel 13:1: “Saul was … years old when he became king; and he reigned two years over Israel” (בֶּן-שָׁנָה, שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ; וּשְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים, מָלַךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל).

Looking at those four figures for Tobias/Job: 99, 117, 127, 140, totalling 483, we get an average figure of approximately 120 years.

As the Book of Tobit describes it, the death of Tobias occurred at “ripe old age”. Compare the Septuagint version of the Book of Job: “And Job died, an old man and full of days …”. His was a life long enough for him to have witnessed the rise and fall of many great people. As I wrote about this in my article:


Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted


The prophet Job too, man of vast experience as he was, had witnessed such things (Job 13:1): “My eyes have seen all this …”. All what things? “All this” (Job 12:17-25):


[God] leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.

[End of quote]


Again, as I wrote previously: “The Book of Tobit spans the lengthy neo-Assyrian period from king “Shalmaneser” until the destruction of Nineveh (cf. Tobit 1:2 and 14:15), thereby anchoring Job chronologically”.

According to the conventional listing of neo-Assyrian kings, the life of Tobias/Job would have been contemporaneous with all of the following kings (though, by the terms of my revision, several of these are actually duplicates, e.g. Tiglath-pileser III = Shalmaneser V; Sargon II = Sennacherib):


Tiglath-Pileser III 745–727 BC son of Ashur-nirari (V)
Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
End of the document known as Assyrian King List; the following kings reigned after the list had been composed.
Sargon II 722–705 BC
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC
The dates of the last kings are not certain.
Ashurbanipal 669–between 631 and 627 BC
Ashur-etil-ilani ca. 631–627 BC
Sin-shumu-lishir 626 BC
Sin-shar-ishkun ca. 627–612 BC fall of Nineveh
In 612 BC, Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, fell to the Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians; supported by the Egyptians, an Assyrian general continued to rule for a few years from Harran.
Ashur-uballit II 612 BC–ca. 608 BC Harran defeated by Cyaxares of Media and Nabopolassar of Babylonia


Apart from these Assyrian kings, Tobias/Job would have lived during the reigns of – and all of the dramatic events associated with – various of the kings of Judah, such as Hezekiah, Manasseh and Josiah.


He was born during the reign of “Shalmaneser” (this king greatly expanded in my revision).


King Shalmaneser


Tobit tells us (Tobit 1:9): “When I grew up, I married Anna, a member of my own tribe”. That was the tribe of Naphtali (1:1).

As we learned in the series on Tobit as a high official of the Assyrians, it was Shalmaneser who had taken into captivity Tobit and his tribe of Naphtali and who had then so exalted Tobit as to allow him almost a free hand as the king’s quartermaster (Tobit 1:2, 12-13).

It appears from the following verses that Tobias, son of Tobit and Anna, was born before the deportation by king Shalmaneser (vv. 9-10): “We had a son and named him Tobias.Later, I was taken captive and deported to Assyria, and that is how I came to live in Nineveh”.


During the next reign, however, that of Sennacherib (my Sargon II), the fortunes of the family fluctuated considerably.



Tobias and Sennacherib



When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor. It soon became so dangerous to travel on the roads in Media that I could no longer go there”.


Tobit 1:15





As we have found in this series, the Book of Tobit gives a neo-Assyrian succession, from Shalmaneser to Sennacherib, that – whilst it does not accord with the view of modern Assyriology, that Shalmaneser (V) was succeeded by Sargon II – is the one that I have accepted.

However, although I consider the Book of Tobit to be an accurate historical record of events, it does contain – in those various versions of it that have come down to us – some contradictions and inaccuracies. We saw this clearly earlier, with three different figures being given for the age of Tobias at death: namely, 99 years, 117 years, and 127 years.

The geography of the book, too, which – as it presently stands – has Tobias and the angel Raphael travelling in the wrong direction, eastwards instead of westwards, needs to be restored back to its original which then makes perfect sense:


A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit


Different age numbers are also given in the case of Tobit, the father of Tobias. According to the Douay account, Tobit lost his sight at the age of 56, recovered it at the age of 60 (14:3), and lived after that for 42 years (14:1), dying at the age of 102 (14:2). The NRSV version, though, has Tobit losing his sight at 62 (14:2, with the note: “Other ancient authorities read fifty-eight”), and: “For four years I remained unable to see …” (2:10). And he died at the age of 112 (14:2).


Tobit 1 Overview


Tobit 1 gives a summary of events in the life of Tobit and his family from the early days of Tobit: ‘When I was young … I was the only one in my family who regularly went to Jerusalem to celebrate the religious festivals, as the Law of Moses commands everyone to do’ (1:4, 6), to his return to Nineveh, thanks to the intervention of his nephew, Ahikar, after persecution from king Sennacherib (v. 22). Tobit was by then a married man with a son, Tobias.

Indeed, life would become far bumpier for the family during the reign of Sennacherib. The Douay version of Tobit 1:18 adds the extra piece of information that “Sennacherib … had a hatred for the children of Israel”.

That same verse also adds another note that is most interesting from a chronological point of view: “… after a long time, Salmanasar [Shalmaneser] the king being dead … Sennacherib his son … reigned in his place …”. Shalmaneser V is supposed to have reigned for only the short period of 726/7-722 BC. Tobit’s version, “after a long time”, would better accord with my expanded king Shalmaneser of Assyria, which includes various alter egos, such as the potent Tiglath-pileser III. For Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” does as did Tiglath-pileser III. He takes the tribe of Naphtali into captivity (1:2): “During the time that Shalmaneser was emperor of Assyria, I was taken captive in my hometown of Thisbe, located in northern Galilee …”.

Commentators immediately jump in here. For example R. Littman (Tobit: The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus) writes, p. 47:


The information is inaccurate here and probably represents a confusion of the historical details by the book of Tobit, written 500 years after the events. According to 2 Kgs 15:29 it was Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BCE), the father of Shalmaneser V (727-722 BCE), who conquered the Galilee and the land of Naphtali and deported the people around 732 BCE.





Tobit 1:15-22 recalls the dramatic events that occurred during the reign of Sennacherib, which I give here with the addition of some comments (v. 15):


When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor. It soon became so dangerous to travel on the roads in Media that I could no longer go there.


Comment: Tobit’s “Media” needs to be understood as “Midian”, to the west, not east, of Nineveh. (Refer back to my “A Common Sense Geography …”).

From Sennacherib’s Years 9-11, it would have become most dangerous for anyone to have travelled the western road. For, according to the chronological estimations of my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




Sennacherib’s Year 9 was the year when his military might really began to be felt in Palestine. It was “the year”, I believe, to which the prophet Isaiah had referred (Isaiah 20:1): “In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon [= Sennacherib] king of Assyria, came to Ashdod [= Lachish] and attacked and captured it …”. On “Ashdod” as Lachish, see my:


Sargon II’s “Ashdod” – the Strong Fort of Lachish


Sennacherib’s Year 10 saw a revolt against Assyria by one Yatna of Ashdod (= Lachish).

Sennacherib’s Year 11 was a most triumphant one for the king of Assyria, with his great western campaign and conquest of king Hezekiah of Judah and his city of Jerusalem.


Tobit continues his narrative, harking back to Shalmaneser for a moment (vv. 16-17), before continuing on with Sennacherib (v. 18):

Tobit Buries the Dead


While Shalmaneser was still emperor, I took good care of my own people whenever they were in need. If they were hungry, I shared my food with them; if they needed clothes, I gave them some of my own. Whenever I saw that the dead body of one of my people had been thrown outside the city wall, I gave it a decent burial.


One day Sennacherib cursed God, the King of Heaven; God punished him, and Sennacherib had to retreat from Judah. On his way back to Media he was so furious that he killed many Israelites. But I secretly removed the bodies and buried them; and when Sennacherib later searched for the bodies, he could not find them.


Comment: This verse actually condenses two separate campaigns of Sennacherib, the one referred to above, when he was totally victorious over king Hezekiah of Judah – during the course of which the Assyrian king had blasphemed God – and another, about a decade later, when his massive army of 185,000 was famously routed (“had to retreat”). This last corresponds to the victory of Israel over Assyria as set in motion by the heroic intervention of the pious Simeonite woman, Judith.

One can easily imagine that Sennacherib would have been “furious”.

Meanwhile, back in Nineveh, the ageing Tobit had continued on with his corporal works of mercy. An informer notified the angry Sennacherib, and Tobit was forced to flee for his life with his family (vv. 19-20):


Then someone from Nineveh told the emperor that I was the one who had been burying his victims. As soon as I realized that the emperor knew all about me and that my life was in danger, I became frightened. So I ran away and hid. Everything I owned was seized and put in the royal treasury. My wife Anna and my son Tobias were all I had left.




Sennacherib and Esarhaddon



Then someone from Nineveh told the emperor that I was the one who had been burying his victims. As soon as I realized that the emperor knew all about me and that my life was in danger, I became frightened. So I ran away and hid. Everything I owned was seized and put in the royal treasury. My wife Anna and my son Tobias were all I had left”.


Tobit 1:19-20




Sennacherib or Esarhaddon?


There is no mention at all of the famed Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, in the Douay version of the Book of Tobit. The Septuagint, telling of the assassination of Sennacherib whilst Tobit was in hiding, explicitly refers to a king successor of Sennacherib’s, though it does not name him as Esarhaddon, but, instead, as “Sarchedonus”.

This name is generally taken to mean Esarhaddon:

sar-ked’-o-nus (Codex Vaticanus Sacherdonos; Codex Alexandrinus Sacherdan, but Sacherdonosos in Tobit 1:22): An incorrect spelling, both in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), for Sacherdonus in Tobit 1:21, another form of Esar-haddon.


Here are the relevant verses (Tobit 1:21-22):


And there passed not five and fifty days, before two of his sons killed [Sennacherib], and they fled into the mountains of Ararath [Urartu]; and Sarchedonus his son reigned in his stead; who appointed over his father’s accounts, and over all his affairs, Achiacharus [Ahikar] my brother Anael’s son. And Achiacharus intreating for me, I returned to Nineve. Now Achiacharus was cupbearer, and keeper of the signet, and steward, and overseer of the accounts: and Sarchedonus appointed him next to him: and he was my brother’s son.


That discrepancy in numbers that we considered earlier amongst the various versions of the Book of Tobit raises its ugly head here again – for, regarding the 55 (“five and fifty”) days referred to in the above text, other ancient authorities read 40, 45, or 50.

The Douay, whilst never actually mentioning Esarhaddon, seems to make it quite clear, nonetheless, that the next important set of events in the life of Tobit and his family, commencing with Tobit’s becoming blind, all occurred after the death of Sennacherib, “killed by his own sons. And Tobias returned to his house, and all his substance” (1:24-25). For, at the beginning of the very next chapter we read (2:1): “Now when I was come home again, and my wife Anna was restored to me, with my son Tobias, in the feast of Pentecost, which is the holy feast of the seven weeks, there was a good dinner prepared me, in the which I sat down to eat”.

This chapter 2 is the very one that recounts Tobit’s becoming afflicted with blindness.

The NRSV is even more explicit (2:1): “Then during the reign of Esarhaddon I returned home”.


If this be the case, then the incident of Tobit’s blindness as narrated in Tobit 2, leading to the westwards journey of Tobias and the angel Raphael (Tobit 6), and the marriage of Tobias to Sarah (Tobit 7-8), the return journey to Nineveh and the recovery of Tobit’s sight (Tobit 11), all belong chronologically after the death of Sennacherib.

And that may well be the case.


However, I have reasons for suspecting that it may not have been the case, and that all of Tobit 2-11, as well, had occurred during the reign of Sennacherib, and not in the time of Esarhaddon. In the next section, I shall give my reasons for thinking this.




mostly in Sennacherib’s reign



Some errors chronological, numerical, and geographical, can be found in our current versions of the Book of Tobit. These, I think, can easily be corrected. But there may also be a more tricky situation whereby the main body of material in the Book of Tobit (chapters 2-14) has confused the reigns of two neo-Assyrian kings, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.






A surface reading of the various versions of the Book of Tobit would suggest, as we have found, a chronological sequence according to which there occurred – almost immediately following the assassination death of Sennacherib who had been seeking the life of Tobit – now during the reign of Esarhaddon, Tobit’s return to his home thanks to the intervention of his nephew, Ahikar; Tobit’s subsequent blindness; and then all of the other marvellous events that are narrated as having occurred after this (Tobit 2-14). That is how the different texts would appear to read. And, as noted earlier, that may indeed be the way that the Book of Tobit is meant to be interpreted.

However, as I have already suggested, Tobit chapter 1 provides a kind of overview of at least the earlier events narrated. Hence it may need to be read as a summary. This, then, would allow for the possibility that some, or all, of what follows it is meant to be folded within the chronology of Tobit 1. And that is what I think is actually the case, that the remainder of the narrative following the account of Sennacherib’s assassination – with the exception of the death and burial of Tobit and his wife, Anna; the account of Tobias’s flight from Nineveh, over whose destruction he will greatly rejoice; and his subsequent death (14:14-17 Douay) – belongs entirely within the reign of Sennacherib, and not Esarhaddon (who is never even mentioned in the Douay version).

My reasons for saying this are very much influenced by previous reconstructions of mine in relation to the Book of Judith, as set out in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




Whilst a full discussion of this will be reserved for the next section (below), I would like here to make a relevant preliminary point. As we came to consider king Sennacherib earlier, we read this text (Tobit 1:18):


One day Sennacherib cursed God, the King of Heaven; God punished him, and Sennacherib had to retreat from Judah. On his way back to Media he was so furious that he killed many Israelites. But I secretly removed the bodies and buried them; and when Sennacherib later searched for the bodies, he could not find them.


About which I wrote:


Comment: This verse actually condenses two separate campaigns of Sennacherib, the one referred to above, when he was totally victorious over king Hezekiah of Judah – during the course of which the Assyrian king had blasphemed God – and another, about a decade later, when his massive army of 185,000 was famously routed (“had to retreat”). This last corresponds to the victory of Israel over Assyria as set in motion by the heroic intervention of the pious Simeonite woman, Judith.

[End of quote]

Biblical telescoping of events, such as the campaigns of king Sennacherib of Assyria, can be a source of many headaches for modern biblicists and historians alike – very difficult to untangle. And I think that a mis-reading of Sennacherib’s campaigns may indeed be the source of a confusion of chronology in relation to the Book of Tobit.



My Reasons for Rejecting Esarhaddon


These are largely chronologically-based.


(i) Age of Tobias


Tobias, at the time of his wedding, is referred to as being a “young man” (Greek: νεανίσκος) (e.g. Tobit 7:2). That would work far better, I would suggest, if Tobias had married Sarah at some point of time between Sennacherib’s two invasions, these being dated in my thesis to, respectively, Sennacherib’s Years 10-11 and 19-20.

Sennacherib’s first major invasion of the west was a massive success, and he went on from there, in his Year 12, to punish the troublesome Merodach-baladan of Babylon (cf. Judith 1:5, where the latter is called “Arphaxad”): “In the twelfth year of his reign King Nebuchadnezzar [= Sennacherib] went to war against King Arphaxad …”. So when Tobit 1:21 (Douay) speaks of the Assyrian armies “fleeing … by reason of the slaughter that God had made”, this cannot refer to the successful first invasion, but only to the second invasion, led by the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith. The phrase “fleeing from Judea” as given in this verse only serves to add to the confusion, I believe. For, whereas the successful Assyrian invasion conquered Judah, the second one failed to reach there thanks to the intervention of Judith situated in the north (Bethulia near Dothan).

The rout that followed that disastrous campaign for Assyria around Year 20 of Sennacherib must be what is referred to in connection with Tobit 1:24 (Douay): “But after forty-five days, the king was killed by his own sons”. Tobit chapter 1 appears to be a summary of events that occurred during the reigns of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, culminating in the assassination of Sennacherib.

Reconsidering the life of young Tobias, he was born – we have learned – during the reign of Shalmaneser, but before the family was taken into captivity. My expanded Shalmaneser (beyond the conventionally short-reigning Shalmaneser V) has enabled for Tobit to have officiated on behalf of Shlamaneser for a substantial period of time (Tobit 1:18, Douay): “But after a long time, [Shalmaneser] the king being dead, when Sennacherib his son, who reigned in his place …”. Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” included, in my revision, the mighty Shalmaneser III, who reigned for more than 30 years, and who campaigned in Tobit’s home region of the Hauran as early as his 18th year ( “In the 18th year of my reign I crossed the Euphrates for the sixteenth time. …. As far as the mountains of Hauran I marched”.

We do not know how old Tobias was when the family was taken into Assyrian captivity by this Shalmaneser. But let us take a small figure, 2-5. A “long time” during the reign of Shalmaneser had followed that, say 10-20 years. Tobias, when still a “young man” (νεανίσκος can also men “youth”), married Sarah. I have located that after Sennacherib’s return from Judah in about his Year 11. An estimated minimum figure for the age of Tobias when he, as a young man, married Sarah, would be (2+10+11=) 23 years, whilst an estimated maximum figure would be (5+20+11=) 36 years.

To either of these figures we would need (for Esarhaddon to be the reigning king) to add an extra, say, 10 years until the death of Sennacherib, plus at least the 2 years during the reign of Esarhaddon when Ahikar had tended to Tobit’s blindness before Ahikar himself went to Elymaïs (Tobit 2:10, NRSV). That would lift our estimated minimum figure for the age of Tobias at marriage to (23+10+2=) 35 years, whilst our estimated maximum figure would now become an impossible (36+10+2=) 48 years.


Tobit 1:15: “But when Shalmaneser died, and his son Sennacherib reigned in his place, the highways into Media [read Midian] became unsafe and I could no longer go there”, presumably applied to the period when Sennacherib’s armies were campaigning westwards (Years 9-11), making it unsafe to travel there. By the time of Tobit’s blindness, these major western campaigns had recently ceased, but Tobit could still not travel because he could no longer see.


(ii) Ahikar in Elymaïs


As, noted, the Douay version of the Book of Tobit never once refers to Esarhaddon. However, there are several references to Esarhaddon, presumably, as “Sarchedonus”, in the Septuagint – these being rendered in modern versions as “Esarhaddon”. The references to Esarhaddon in the Tobit 1 overview, when read as a summary, are not at all problematical to my theory that the events narrated in Tobit chapters 2-14 belong to the reign of Sennacherib.

Tobit 1:21-22 (NSRV) reads:


But not forty days passed before two of Sennacherib’s sons killed him, and they fled to the mountains of Ararat, and his son Esar-haddon reigned after him. He appointed Ahikar, the son of my brother Hanael over all the accounts of his kingdom, and he had authority over the entire administration. Ahikar interceded for me, and I returned to Nineveh. Now Ahikar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esar-haddon reappointed him. He was my nephew and so a close relative.


This overview provides some further information about Ahikar admittedly beyond the reign of Sennacherib. However, Ahikar would presumably have been in very good standing with Sennacherib for his so skilfully having served as the king’s mouthpiece, being able to speak Hebrew, before the people of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:28) during Assyria’s successful invasion of Judah. Hence it is quite plausible that Ahikar was able to “intercede” with Sennacherib on behalf of Tobit, thereby allowing Tobit to return home.

What is definitely problematical for my reconstruction, though, is Tobit 2:1 (NRSV): “Then during the reign of Esarhaddon I [Tobit] returned home”.

The Book of Judith, verse 1:6, may come to my aid here, at least as I have interpreted it in my thesis. For, during the reign of Sennacherib (= “Nebuchadnezzar”), one “Arioch” (or “Erioch”) is found to be ruling “the Elymeans”, and he, I believe, was the same Ahikar.

Thus I wrote (Volume Two, pp. 46-47):


Verses 1:6: “Arioch, king of the Elymeans”


In [the Book of Judith] 1:6, which gives a description of the geographical locations from which Arphaxad’s allies came, we learn that some of these had hailed from the region of the “Hydaspes, and, on the plain, Arioch, king of the Elymeans”. I disagree with Charles

that: …. “The name Arioch is borrowed from Gen. xiv. i, in accordance with the author’s

love of archaism”. This piece of information, I am going to argue here, is actually a later

gloss to the original text. And I hope to give a specific identification to this king, since, according to Leahy: …. “The identity of Arioch (Vg Erioch) has not been established …”.

What I am going to propose is that Arioch was not actually one of those who had rallied

to the cause of Arphaxad in Year 12 of Nebuchadnezzar, as a superficial reading of [the Book of Judith] though might suggest, but that this was a later addition to the text for the purpose of making more precise for the reader the geographical region from whence came Arphaxad’s allies, specifically the Elamite troops. In other words, this was the very same region as that which Arioch had ruled ….

But commentators express puzzlement about him. Who was this Arioch? And if he were

such an unknown, then what was the value of this gloss for the early readers?

Arioch, I believe, was the very Achior who figures so prominently in the story of Judith.

He was also the legendary Ahikar, a most famous character as we read in Chapter 7. Therefore he was entirely familiar to the Jews, who would have known that he had eventually governed the Assyrian province of Elam. I shall tell about this in a moment.

Some later editor/translator presumably, apparently failing to realise that the person named in this gloss was the very same as the Achior who figures so prominently throughout the main story of [the Book of Judith], has confused matters by calling him by the different name of Arioch. He should have written: “Achior ruled the Elymeans”.

[The Book of Tobit] tells us more. …. he who had been Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh was appointed governor (or ‘king’) of Elymaïs (Elam) (cf. 1:18, 21: 2:10). This was Tobit’s very nephew, Ahikar/Achior. …. From there it is an easy matter to make this comparison:


“Achior … Elymeans” [Book of Judith]; “Ahikar (var. Achior) … Elymaïs” [Book of Tobit].


[End of quote]


Tobit had apparently again – even after his persecution and having to flee for his life from king Sennacherib for burying the dead, and then being restored thanks to Ahikar – risen up from his festival of Pentecost meal to bury a murdered compatriot (2:1-4), thereby eliciting this response from his neighbours (v. 8): “And my neighbors laughed and said, ‘Is he still not afraid? He has already been hunted down to be put to death for doing this, and he ran away; yet here he is again burying the dead!’ This reaction of Tobit’s neighbours would, I think, make more sense had it occurred still during the reign of Sennacherib, rather than of Esarhaddon about whom we know of no such animosity towards Tobit or any of his relatives.


(iii) Ahikar and Nadin


Late in the Book of Tobit, after Tobias had returned home to Nineveh with his wife, Sarah, and old Tobit had been cured of his blindness, we read (11:17-18): “That day brought joy to the Jews of Nineveh, and his cousins Ahikar and Nadin [Nadab] came to share in Tobit’s happiness”. (“Cousins” appears to be used in a very loose sense here). If this event really occurred during the reign of Esarhaddon, then it would be devastating to my reconstruction in:


“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”


that has equated this “Nadin” with the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith, who should be well and truly dead by the time that Esarhaddon had come to the throne. A mere three chapters after we are told that Nadin had shared in Tobit’s happiness, we read these Tobit’s horrifying words about Nadin’s betrayal of Ahikar (14:10):


‘Remember what Nadin did to Ahikar his own uncle who had brought him up. He tried to kill Ahikar and forced him to go into hiding in a tomb. Ahikar came back into the light of day, but God sent Nadin down into everlasting darkness for what he had done. Ahikar escaped the deadly trap which Nadin had set for him, because Ahikar had given generously to the poor. But Nadin fell into that fatal trap and it destroyed him’.


I, being confident that this can only refer to the Achior and Holofernes incident of the Judith drama, must definitely favour Sennacherib over Esarhaddon as the Assyrian ruler at this time.



  1. Officiating in Egypt



“In folktale manner in the style of Jewish aggada … [the Testament of Job]

elaborates upon the Book of Job making Job a king in Egypt”.





We left Tobias (= Job) as a young married man, and with the family and friends rejoicing over the ageing Tobit now cured of his blindness.

All of this in the reign of Sennacherib.


With the assassination death of Sennacherib, and his perhaps more favourably-disposed son Esarhaddon’s rise to the throne of Assyria, Esarhaddon, in contrast to usual Assyrian practice, is moderate in the implementation of the occupation of Egypt compared to past policies in other provinces, respecting local traditions as far as possible.


the way now lies open for a new phase of career for Tobit – who had so faithfully served king Shalmaneser, father of Sennacherib, and with yet some 40 years of health to look forward to – and for the long-lived Tobias/Job.

The illustrious career of Tobias/Job, not covered in the Book of Tobit, is glimpsed through Job’s recollections in various places, most notably in, as we have read, Job 29.

For any further information, we need to go outside the books of Tobit and Job, to writings such as The Testament of Job and, perhaps (for Catholic readers), the visions of the holy mystic, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

According to The Testament of Job, the prophet Job was a king in Egypt. David deSilva tells of this (

Scholars generally agree that the work was composed in Egypt, especially since the author situates Job himself in Egypt as a king (T. Job 28:7) in contrast with the biblical setting in “Uz” (Job 1:1). Attempts to link the work more closely with the Therapeutae, a Jewish sect in Egypt with some resemblances to the Essenes, are interesting but inconclusive.20


But that is not all, for it seems that strong Egyptian influences can also be detected throughout the Book of Job, at least according to the Rev. G. Knight, in Nile and Jordan (1921).

This would make perfect sense if Job – and/or the author[s] of the book – had spent a substantial period of time in that country.


What I would be looking for at this stage in my historical search for an illustrious career for Tobias/Job – and perhaps also for his father, Tobit – would be an appointment during the reign of king Esarhaddon of Assyria (continuing on with Ashurbanipal in the case of Tobias/Job), and one that included serving in Egypt, presumably at a very high level.

And I think that, in Montuemhat [Mantimanhe] and his father Nesptah, at Thebes in Egypt, I may have found just the sort of pattern that I am looking for. We read about these two most significant characters at:


Mayor Montuemhat is perhaps the most interesting Theban figure known to Egyptologists from the complex period of transition between the Kushite 25th and Saite 26th Dynasties. This was also, of course, the time of the invasions of Egypt by the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal which included the sacking of Thebes in 664 BC. His standing in the Theban community during this turbulent period of Egyptian history cannot

simply be measured by the great number of titles and offices which he held. Montuemhat was certainly more influential than a mere ‘mayor’ or ‘Fourth Prophet of Amun’. Indeed, Ashurbanipal records him as ‘king of Thebes’ on the ‘Rassam Cylinder where his name appears in the Akkadian writing as ‘Mantimanhe’.


Comment: This is the precise chronological era in neo-Assyrian history that I would expect to find Tobias/Job serving as an official, from the reign of Esarhaddon through to Ashurbanipal. “Esarhaddon appoints various native [sic?] noblemen as governors, functionaries and scribes in the provinces of Egypt” (

Note, too, that Montuemhat was a “Prophet”, and also that he was a servant of the god, Amun, like Senenmut (Solomon in Egypt). See my:


Solomon and Sheba


according to which (Amun) Amon-Ra was the King of All Gods.

Thomas C. Hamilton has written along similar lines in his “Amunism and Atenism” (


I have pointed out in the past that the descriptions of Amun in Egyptian literature converge in fascinating ways with the biblical description of God. Amun-Re is a sun-god. The sun, of course, is one of the Lord’s chief symbols in Scripture, and the nations worshiped God as the “God of Heaven.” This is why the phenomenon of original monotheism is called the “sky-god” phenomenon. That a god was associated with the sun does not mean that he had always been identified with the sun. Indeed, I think the “fusion” of Amun and Re was the recovery of a pristine monotheistic religion. Just as Yahweh and El were two titles for one God, so also Amun and Re. Imhotep, whom I have identified with Joseph, served as High Priest of Re at Heliopolis.

[End of quote]


Above all, Montuemhat was – as tradition has recorded of the prophet Job – a “king”.

The great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, graces him with the title, “king of Thebes”.

Further on, we shall read that Montuemhat had ruled over a massive portion of Egypt. This would have become possible as the neo-Assyrian kings managed to push far southwards the Kushite rulers of 25th dynasty of Egypt.

Finally, Ashurbanipal even conquered the great city of Thebes (664 BC, conventional dating). This would likely mean that Montuemhat, who lived beyond this cataclysmic event, would have been an actual witness to it. No wonder then that he – if as Job, as Nahum:


Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted


could write of Nineveh (Nahum 3:8): “… are you better than No Amon [Thebes] …?”

The article continues:


Montuemhat’s noble descent was certainly of help in his acquisition of the various offices of state, positions which had been handed down for generations from father to son. Already before him his great grandfather, Harsiese, and grand-father, Khaemhor, had been mayors of Thebes, viziers and prophets of Amun during the late 22nd Dynasty and also under the hegemony of the early Kushite pharaohs Shabaka and Shabataka.

From his father, Nesptah, he directly inherited the title of ‘Mayor of Thebes’ and, in addition, he was holder of the office of ‘Governor of Upper Egypt’. Besides these significant civil and administrative posts, Montuemhat also acted as a religious functionary for the cult of Amun. However, in spite of his dominant position as mayor of the great religious centre of Egypt, he only reached the rank of ‘Fourth Prophet of Amun’

within the great temple of Amun at Karnak itself. He did record the title of ‘Second Prophet’ on certain monuments, but unfortunately without mentioning the deity to whom the post obtained. The position of ‘Prophet of Montu’, which also had been within the inheritance of this powerful Theban family, was transferred to his brother, Harsiese, who then handed the title down to his own son. Nevertheless, a son of Montuemhat named Paherienmut later rose to the rank of a ‘Third Prophet of Montu’.


Comment: Who were these illustrious forbears of Montuemhat from whom he could apparently boast “noble descent”? Surely not, though (in my context), “native” Egyptians, as historians naturally think. In this series we have observed that Tobit and other of his relatives, especially Ahikar – and later Tobias/Job himself – were extremely significant public figures, some attaining to the very highest official positions in the kingdom of Assyria. The legendary ‘Story of Ahikar’ tells of Ahikar’s involvement with Egypt and its Pharaoh on behalf of king Sennacherib.

As we deepen our knowledge of the presumed Theban mayors, Khaemhor and Harsiese, “during the late 22nd Dynasty”, we may be able to get a better handle on the tortuous Third Intermediate Period [TIP] of Egyptian history (21st-25th dynasties).

The article continues, turning now to more of a consideration of Montuemhat’s father, Nesptah (Nesiptah):


While we possess a significant amount of information concerning Montuemhat’s father, Nesptah, very little is known about his mother, Istemkheb, a very common name of the time. Montuemhat seems to have had three wives. His principal spouse was apparently the lady Neskhons, for her son, Nesptah, became Montuemhat’s heir and successor. In his father’s tomb in Asasif (Western Thebes) Nesptah is depicted performing the funeral rites and making offerings to his deceased father (for the discovery of the burial of Nesptah see JACF 2, p. 82). His other wives were the lady Shepenmut and a Nubian princess named Udjarenes. The latter appears in the tomb of Montuemhat in statue groups and reliefs accompanying her husband. It seems likely that the marriage of Montuemhat to this Nubian princess was undertaken as a gesture of loyalty towards the Kushite kings under whose rule he began his career.


Comment: All of the names here are Egyptian: Montuemhat, his father, Nesptah, his mother, Istemkheb, his wife, Neskhons. The Hebrew versions, I suggest, were, respectively, Tobias/Job, (his father) Tobit, (his mother) Anna, (his wife) Sarah.

The name Montuemhat itself may have great significance following on from my argument, albeit most controversial, that Tobias/Job was the matrix for the Prophet Mohammed:


Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage


In that article, I wrote this about the name similarities, or even equivalents:


Birth of Mohammed


Given as c. 570 … the “Year of the Elephant”. But revised here to the reign of Sennacherib. Mohammed’s parents are traditionally given as ‘Abdullah and Aminah, or Amna. Now, this information is what really confirms me in my view that Tobias is a major influence in the biography of Mohammed, because the names of Tobias’s parents boil down to very much the same as those of Mohammed. Tobit is a Greek version of the name ‘Obad-iah, the Hebrew yod having been replaced by a ‘T’.

And ‘Obadiah, or ‘Abdiel, is, in Arabic ‘Abdullah, the name of Mohammed’s father.

And Amna is as close a name as one could get to Anna, the wife of Tobit ….

Tobias (my Job) is the biblico-historical foundation for the young Mohammed!


[End of quote]


May we now include, alongside Tobit = ‘Abdullah and Anna = Amna, our alter ego for Tobias/Job, Montuemhat = Mohammad?

Whilst I have thought to identify Job’s wife as Sarah of the Book of Tobit:


Did Job’s Wife really say to the Prophet: ‘Curse God and die’? Part Two. Job’s Wife as Sarah of Book of Tobit.


and now potentially, in an Egyptian context: “His principal spouse … lady Neskhons”, it is quite credible, given the progeny of Job, that he had other, lesser, wives as well.

“Montuemhat seems to have had three wives”, we read above.

And, according to Bl. Catherine Emmerich (The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary:, who has located Job to pre-Abrahamic times, the holy man had a total of four wives: “Job’s first wife was of the tribe of Peleg: after many adventures, when he was living in his third home, he married three more wives of the same tribe”. Compare Tobit 6:15: “The angel replied, ‘Have you already forgotten your father’s instructions? He told you to marry a woman from your own tribe. So, listen carefully to what I say. Don’t worry about the demon. Marry Sarah!’.”

Anne Catherine Emmerich also has Job for a time in Egypt:

The spring which appeared at Matarea in answer to the Blessed Virgin’s prayers was not a new one, but an old one which gushed forth afresh. It had been choked but was still lined with masonry. I saw that Job had been in Egypt … and had dwelt on this spot in this place. [172] It was he who found the spring, and he made sacrifices on the great stone lying here. Job was the youngest of thirteen brothers. His father was a great chieftain ….

[Job] made a great expedition to Egypt, a land which at that time was ruled by foreign kings …. They ruled over only a part of Egypt, and were later driven out by an Egyptian king. [174]

…. The king of these shepherds from Job’s country desired a wife for his son … and Job brought this royal bride (who was related to him) to Egypt with a great following. He had thirty camels with him, and many menservants and rich presents. He was still young–a tall man of a pleasing yellow-brown color, with reddish hair. The people in Egypt were dirty brown in color. At that time Egypt was not thickly populated; only here and there were large masses of people. ….

The king showed Job great honor, and was unwilling to let him go away again. He was very anxious for him to emigrate to Egypt with his whole tribe ….

Job was to be sure a heathen [sic], but he was an upright man who acknowledged the true God and worshipped Him as the Creator of all that he saw in nature, the stars, and the ever-changing light. He was never tired of speaking with God of His wonderful creations. He worshipped none of the horrible figures of beasts adored by the other races of mankind in his time ….

Job found a terrible form of idolatry here in this city, descending from the heathen magical rites practiced at the building of the Tower of Babel. They had an idol with a broad ox’s head, rising to a point at the top. Its mouth was open, and behind its head were twisted horns. Its body was hollow, fire was made in it, and live children were thrust into its glowing arms. …

There were intervals of calm between the great misfortunes that befell Job: the first interval lasted nine years, the second seven, and the third twelve. The words in the Book of Job: “And while he (the messenger of evil) was yet speaking” mean “This misfortune of his was still the talk of the people when the following befell him”. ….

[End of quote]



Also of relevance is mention of Montuemhat’s “making offerings to his deceased father” in light of Tobit 14:11: “Then they laid Tobit on his bed. He died and was given an honorable burial”.

According to the Montuemhat article, he was a man of “undoubted political skills”:

The first time we come across Montuemhat in the texts is during the reign of pharaoh Taharka (690-664BC). He continues in office, no doubt as a result of his undoubted political skills, throughout the trauma of the Assyrian sack of Thebes and is still attending to his duties when the Saite pharaoh, Psamtek I, sends his daughter, Nitocris, to Thebes to become the ‘God’s Wife of Amun at a special adoption ceremony in 655 BC. As was the tradition of the period, the incumbent God’s Wife, Shepenupet (daughter of the last Nubian king Tanutamun) formerly accepted the young Nitocris as her successor, thus handing over to the Saite princess much of the power and authority of the Amun cult and its estates. Since Montuemhat was the effective ruler of Thebes following the departure of the Assyrian forces in around 662, he was undoubtedly directly involved in the political manoeuvres which brought Nitocris to Upper Egypt and his long term experience of the machinations of Theban political life may have presented him with the opportunity to act as mediator in the negotiations between the Kushite faction still at Thebes and the new dynastic power of the western Delta which was based at the new capital of Sais.


Comment: Was this situation involving Montuemhat and Nitocris, the ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, what Catherine Emmerich had recollected: “Job brought this royal bride (who was related to him) to Egypt with a great following”?

Montuemhat’s territory of rule was extremely vast and he officiated there for a long period of time, “a full 30 years” according to the following:


With the Thebaid as his residence, Montuemhat ruled a region stretching as far south as Elepha[n]tine at the First Cataract and up to Hermopolis in the north. At Abydos he was responsible for restoration work in the Osireion and at Karnak he constructed, or at least decorated, some of the chambers of the Temple of Mut, just to the south of the Amun temple complex at Karnak. The political ups and downs of the time are also reflected in the contemporary art. By chance, numerous statues of Montuemhat have come down to us in remarkable condition – more than a dozen cut from dark hardstone. The early pieces, made during the 25th Dynasty, show the typical style of the Kushite rulers, in spite of the fact that Montuemhat was himself a native Egyptian [sic]. It is likely, therefore, that Kushite craftsmen were commissioned to undertake the work for the Theban mayor, or at least their influence was predominant at the local court. His later representations, on the

other hand, are characteristic of early Saite art, with the typical archaising canon which was such a feature of the 26th Dynasty ‘renaissance’. Even in his old age Montuemhat was responsible for an expedition to the quarries of the Wadi Gasus in the Eastern Desert. The rock-carved inscription left there by him is actually the last dated record of Montuemhat known to us. He died sometime around 648 BC. Thus his career continued on through the first 16 years of Psamtek 1’s reign and in total spanned a full 30 years.


His tomb (Asasif no. TT. 34) is the most significant monument in the eastern area of the

giant cliff bay of Deir el-Bahri. The impressive mudbrick pylon even today dominates the land-scape of this part of the necropolis, marking the location of the largest private tomb in Western Thebes. ….





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