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The Book of TOBIT

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SKU: Tobias_Judit_Ester-001 Categories: ,

God is always present in this book. God’s concern for us is revealed discreetly. This ‘holy story’ and its prophecy create impulses towards a more pious and therefore moral way of thinking about life. The book, which originated in the 3rd or 4th century before Christ (certainly by 168 BC) contains parts of patriarchal episodes as well as pagan incidents. For instance the ghost of the ape, obligations towards the dead, and marriage in Christian belief.
Esther, Judith, and Tobit are called books of mercy “midrashim.” (A midrash = a didactic story based on biblical characters.) Thus, the book of Tobit is actually an exquisite romance novel. The everyday occurrences in it reach us in unnoticed parallelisms. The images of hope in the story, which move out of the darkness and into the light, are the fertile ground out of which religious guidelines develop through the coherencies of the story. Faith, hope, and love (Cor 13:13, but the greatest of these is love.) encompass the range of characteristics represented by these biblical symbols, these figures uplifted to become creatures of God: Tobias and Sarah. Tobit, Tobias’s father, sends his son to sinful humanity in order to ransom him later. This Bible adventure is full of wisdom, but it is a wisdom permeated by love. Historically: After the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, Tobit was deported to Nineveh in Assyria as a Jew of the house of Naphtali. There, he lived, law-abiding and prosperous, with his wife Hannah, achieving status and riches. As Tobias’s father, he buried the bodies of Jews who had been thrown over the city wall; this caused the king Sennacherib to persecute him. He was forced to flee and once again lost all of his property in Nineveh. Once, after a burial beyond the city wall, Tobit lay down to sleep. Bird droppings got into his eyes, and he became blind. Trusting God, he was mocked by his wife Hannah: “Mercy? Power? What is the use?” – Tobit begged God to be allowed to die. The pious Jewess Sarah – a relative of Tobit’s – asked for the same thing in Ecbatana, since the demon Asmodeus had killed her seven husbands on their wedding nights before they could consummate their marriages. God sent the (apostle) angel Raphael to both of them. He brought his son, Tobias, to the city of Rages in Media unnoticed. Upon catching a large fish from the Tigris, the angel Raphael counseled Tobias to keep the animal’s heart, liver, and gall, for if the demon was afflicting any person, he should burn these innards in the presence of that person so that he could be freed from the plague of the evil spirit. He should also spread the fish’s gall onto white scales on the eyes, which would heal them (from blindness). On the way, Tobias and Sarah spent the night with their family, which was intended to lead to marriage. On the wedding night, Tobias burnt the heart and liver to drive away the demon. Upon their return to Nineveh, Tobit was also thus freed from his blindness. There, they then celebrated the wedding on a large scale. But when Tobit and Tobias wanted to pay their traveling companion richly, they recognized him as the archangel, who then disappeared suddenly. …..


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