2:10 Sanballat. A Babylonian name, meaning “Sin (the moon god) gives life.” Sanballat and his descendants served for more than a century as the governors of Samaria, the area north of Judah. He may have worshiped the God of Israel in some fashion (2 Kin. 17:24–41), since the names of his sons, Delaiah and Shelemiah, end with a short form of “Yahweh.”
Tobiah. Probably the governor of Ammon, east of Judah. The name means “the Lord is good,” indicating that he, too, may have worshiped the God of Israel (6:17, 18; 13:4).
heard. References to the enemies having “heard” will punctuate the rest of 1:1–7:3 like a refrain (v. 19; 4:1, 7, 15; 6:1, 16). The conflict escalates until it is resolved in 6:16.
displeased them greatly. The opposition had a political aspect, but was religious at its root (v. 20; Ezra 4:13 notes).