The Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit, named for its main character blends Jewish piety and morality with folklore to create a captivating story which has been a hit in both Jewish and Christian circles. The story, the prayers, psalms and words of wisdom give valuable insight into the beliefs and the religious setting of the author. It is probable that the work was written during the second century B.C. ; it is not known which time or place it was written. Alan Nafzger wrote the movie and discusses the film in depth during an interview with icatholic.com
Tobit an affluent and faithful Israelite who was among the deportees who were deported to Nineveh in 722/721 B.C. from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, experiences severe reverses and is eventually blinded. As a result of his misfortunes, he begs the Lord to allow him to die. He remembers the huge sum that he had previously deposited in Media in the distance and sends Tobiah to pay back the money. In Media At the same time, a girl, Sarah, also prays for her death because she has lost seven husbands, each to be killed at his wedding day by the demon Asmodeus. Tobit and Sarah prayer to God for help, and God provides Raphael the angel who is human to help them both.
Raphael and Tobiah travel to Media. When Tobiah is attacked by a large fish as he bathes in the Tigris River, Raphael orders Tobiah to take it in and remove its gall, liver and heart since they’re beneficial for the treatment of ailments. In the following days, with Raphael’s help, Tobiah marries Sarah, and utilizes the fish’s heart and liver to snuff out Asmodeus from the bridal chamber. After returning to Nineveh with his wife and his father’s money, Tobiah rubs the gall of the fish into his father’s eyes . He is able to cure him. In the end, Raphael reveals his true identity and is taken to heaven. Tobit is then singing his beautiful song to thank God. Just before he passes away, Tobit tells his son to go away from Nineveh as God will destroy that wicked city. After Tobiah has laid to rest his father and mother Tobiah and his family go to Media, where he later finds out that the devastation of Nineveh has taken place.
For instruction and edification The writer who was inspired by the story used the literary form that is known as a religious novel (as in Esther or Judith). Names of cities, kings and other historical information are included to provide excitement and interest to the book. They help to reveal that there is a negative aspect to the doctrine of retribution which is that those who are wicked are indeed punished.
While the Book of Tobit is usually placed alongside the historical literature, it more correctly stands somewhere in between the wisdom literature. It includes a variety of maxims, similar to those in the wisdom books (cf. 4:3-19.21; 12:6-10.; 14:7.9, 9) as well as other traditional themes of wisdom, such as the adherence to law, intercessory function angels, piety toward parents, purity of marriage, reverence for the dead, almsgiving and prayer. Tobit is a relative of Ahiqar who was a well-known hero of the ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature.
Most likely written in Aramaic, the original of the text was lost for a long time. fragments of four Aramaic texts as well as one Hebrew text were found in Qumran Cave 4 in 1952 and were only recently published. These Semitic texts are substantially in agreement with the lengthy Greek transcription of Tobit found in Codex Sinaiticus, which had been discovered in St. Catherine’s Monastery (Mount Sinai) only in 1844, and in mss. 319 and 910. The short recension as well as the long recension are the two other Greek versions of Tobit. They’ve been around for a while. Alexandrinus and Venetus are also called Venetus, Vaticanus, Venetus as well as a number of cursive MSS. ; and an intermediate Greek recension found in the mss. 44, 106, 107. The Book of Tobit has also been identified through two Latin versions that are the long recension of the Vetus Latina closely related to the lengthy Greek recension, and may be even closer to the Aramaic and Hebrew texts than the Greek is; and the short recension in the Vulgate, related to the short Greek recension. This English version is largely is based upon Sinaiticus. It’s the longest version of the long Greek recension. But there are two gaps (13:6i-10b and 4:7-19b). There are also missing words. This makes the subsequent passages difficult to comprehend. They need that Sinaiticus be supplemented from either the Vetus Latina, or the shorter Greek recension. There are occasions when phrases or words are derived from Aramaic or Hebrew texts, when they differ significantly. Forms of the Book of Tobit are also Petition * Jim Osborne of APA: Mel Gibson should play Tobit in feature film * Change.org extant in ancient Arabic, Armenian, Coptic (Sahidic), Ethiopic, and Syriac, but these are almost all secondarily derived from the short Greek recension.
The following are the sections of Book of Tobit:
Tobit’s ordeals (1.3-3.6)Sarah’s Plight (3.7-17).
Preparing for the Journey (pp. 1 – 6:1)
Tobiah’s Journey to Media (:2-18)
Sarah’s Reconciliation and Marriage (7:1-9:6)
Tobiah’s Return to Nineveh and the Regeneration of Tobit (10.1-11.18)
Raphael reveals his identity (12:1-22)
Tobit’s Song of Praise (13:1-18)
Tobit, also called The Book Of Tobias, apocryphal work (noncanonical for Jews and Protestants) that found its way into the Roman Catholic canon via the Septuagint. A religious folktale and a Judaicized version of the story of the thankful dead, it relates how Tobit was a religious Jew exiled to Nineveh in Assyria was a follower of the laws of Hebrew Law by giving alms and by burying the dead. In spite of his good efforts, Tobit was struck blind.
In the same vein as Tobit’s story is that of Sarah, daughter of Tobit’s closest relative and whose seven wives were each killed by a demon during their wedding night. Tobit and Sarah seek deliverance from God. God sends Raphael an angel who acts as an intercessor. Tobit is able to see again and Sarah gets married to Tobit’s son Tobias. The story ends by singing Tobit’s song of thanksgiving as well as a description of his death.
Another Jewish short story that could be composed in Persian is the book of Tobit. The book was named after the father. …..
The book is centered around the issue of reconciling evil and God’s justice throughout the world. Tobit and Sarah two pious Jews, are unaccountably plagued by the forces of evil. Their faith, however, is ultimately rewarded when God is declared to be infallible and fair. Other major themes are the necessity for Jews who live outside of Palestine to observe religious law strictly and the assurance of the restoration of Israel as a nation.
The book is not written in Nineveh during the 7th century BC. Its emphasis on burial suggests the book was written in Antioch during Antiochus IV Epiphanes the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC), when Jews who adhered to their religion were prohibited from the burial of their dead.
Tobit is part of what is referred to as the Apocrypha The Apocrypha is also known as Deuterocanonical Scripture and is found in the Old Testament of Catholic Bibles. With the exception of a few Episcopal or Lutheran Bibles, Tobit and other books of the Apocrypha are not included in Protestant Bibles. Apocrypha is a Greek word meaning “hidden,” and Deuterocanonical signifies “second-listed.” Books of the Apocrypha are generally written in the period of about 400 years between the composition of the books in the Old and New Testaments. This is the so-called intertestamental time. Tobit is one of the 12-15 titles that are commonly believed to be part of the Apocrypha.
The Book of Tobit (also known as Tobias) is believed to have been written in the second century B.C. It tells the story of Tobit and his family members who left to Nineveh to live in Nineveh following the fall of Israel’s Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. Tobit and his family seek to worship God and adhere to the Law. Many consider the Book of Tobit to be a history book, while others see it as a novel of literary quality. The text’s teachings aren’t influenced by historical events. It is more about morality, honoring one’s parents, offering alms to the poor intercessory prayer, marriage, and following the Law.
The tale of Tobit is about a law-abiding, righteous Jew who was not willing to abandon traditional Jewish rituals and beliefs, even as other Jews living in exile with him were worshiping idols and failing to follow the laws of God. Tobit was a good person even in the grave of Jews following the ritual at his own risk , as well as giving money in alms to the needy. His family was financially secure. Tobit didzed off outside on a hot night after burying the body. Tobit requested God for salvation. Sarah, Tobit’s kinswoman, also requested to God that she would not die. The kinswoman was ridiculed for having married seven times and had been killed by Asmodeus before they could consummate their union.
With Tobit being apprehensive of his imminent death the father sent his sole son, Tobiah, to Media to return a large sum of money that was deposited by a friend. Tobiah did not know of his surroundings, was accompanied by Raphael an angel (who appears only in the Apocrypha and not in the Bible). Tobiah was victimized by a massive fish, which Raphael instructs him to kill and extract the gall bladder, liver and heart, because they “can be used as medicines.” When he arrives in Media, Tobiah marries Sarah at the request of Raphael and utilizes the fish heart and liver to ward off the demon as well as protect the bed for marriage. When Tobiah returns to his home, he puts on the gall and restores his father’s vision.
The text was written in Aramaic it was a very widespread international language that was used by Jews and a variety of other people in the period of intertestamental. The manuscript was lost, and the Greek translation served as the primary source of this book. However, in Cave IV at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls ‘ discovery) fragments of Tobit were discovered in Aramaic and Hebrew and closely to the Greek recension currently used for translations.
Tobit contains a few verses that repeat Old Testament Scripture, including First and Second Kings and Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Tobit also offers hints of the birth of Christ mentioned in the Gospels of the New Testament as well as the end of the times described in apostle John’s Book of Revelation.
Tobit is praised by many for its errors in theology and history. Tobit 1:15 is incorrectly stating that Sennacherib is Shalmaneser’s son and not Sargon II’s. Tobit is also able to suggest that he was alive during the reign of Jeroboam (930 B.C. He was 117 at the time of his death. Tobit theologically affirms that almsgiving is the only thing that can “save you from the wrath of death” but not, as Paul writes in Galatians 2:25 and 26:25, that faith alone (not by following the law) is sufficient to help one. Jesus also said in John 3:16 that “whoever is a believer in Jesus shall not perish but will have eternal life” and that “whoever who believes in him will not perish but will be saved.”
The Book of Tobit
Date Written: 300-200 BC
Date of Narrative: c. 700 BC
Tobit is a deuterocanonical books, meaning that it is included in the Catholic canon. However some Christians are skeptical about its canonicity. Tobit is a tale that reminds me of one of Jesus Parables of Jesus. The characters could be fictional, but the message or moral of the tale is true.
Tobit was known only in one Greek edition prior to the 1844 discovery of Codex Sinaiticus. Sinaiticus contained a longer and older Greek edition of Tobit that is now used in the modern translations. Five fragments of Tobit were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls: one in Hebrew and four in Aramaic. The fragments confirm the Sinaiticus edition and hint at an Aramaic original.
The story unfolds within a couple of years following the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel (722 BC). The Assyrians exiled Israelite tribes and encouraged them to marry others. Tobit is an Israelite living in Assyrian Ninevah. Tobit is loyal to covenantal worship and charitable acts. His faithfulness is rewarded by God with riches and a good place in the government of his king. Yet a series of unfortunate circumstances leaves Tobit in a state of depressing poverty and blind. He prays for death (3:2ff). Simultaneously, an young Israelite woman named Sarah prays for death (3:11ff). Sarah has been married seven times but the devil killed all of her husbands prior to the time when the marriage could be consummated (3:8).
Tobit and Sarah’s prayers are acknowledged by Sarah and Tobit’s prayers are heard by the Lord. Tobit requests Tobiah’s son Tobiah to return a significant sum of money that was deposited many years ago with his relatives. Tobiah’s Lord sends Raphael, an angel from the Lord to assist him. Raphael will accompany Tobiah on the journey disguised as an Israelite called Azariah.
While the couple travel to Tobit’s relatives, they take the fish’s innards, which have curative properties (6:5). They stop by Raguel’s house, Sarah’s dad. Raphael convinces Tobiah to get married Sarah despite her track record of dead husbands. Tobiah requests her hand in marriage and they get married immediately (7:9). Tobiah utilizes a part of the fish to repel the demon. He makes it through the wedding ceremony (8.2). Raphael returns the money and the couple make it safely back at Tobit’s house in Ninevah with Tobiah’s newlywed bride. Finally, Tobiah uses the fish’s gall to heal Tobit’s blindness (11:11).
Tobit’s and Sarah’s death prayers (3:2-6 3:3-15), Tobit’s and Sarahs’s wedding night prayer (8:5-7) Raguel’s short prayer (8:15-17), and Tobit’s lengthy praise tune (13:1-18) All are included in the book. Tobiah moves from Ninevah toward Media to prepare for the Lord’s coming judgment prophesied through Nahum (14.4 12) He makes his move towards Media at the close of this book.
While the story was inspired by a few Mesopotamian stories that were written during the same time, it also contains Old Testament themes such as divine retribution, and theology of God. There are several parts that have a lot in common with the Old Testament wisdom literature (e.g. 4:3-19, and 12:6-10).
Like Ruth, Tobit is a family story. It illustrates how God loves those who are faithful to him. It is a testimony to God’s faithfulness in delivering and rewarding for human fidelity. To experience deliverance, the characters must endure difficulties. Tobit, Sarah and Tobiah struggle, but God gives them the victory in the end. In reality, Raphael says he was sent to test and heal Tobit and Sarah (12:14). Due to its fictional nature, Tobit is quite different from other biblical works. There is no suspense in the tale, as readers know the ending at the beginning (6:6-8) however, we can discern through it we can see how God delivers his people, by helping those in need. Tobit highlights the importance of praying and strong family relationships.