Exploring Tobit (Ch.7-9)

Chapter 7 Recap

Chapter 7 is basically how Tobias and Raphael meet up with Raguel and discuss Tobias’ soon marriage to Sara.  Raguel knows Tobit and is sad to hear that he’s gone blind, but is excited because it means there is someone that his daughter can marry.  Raguel is also very up front about the misfortune that follows Sara.  But having been encouraged by Raphael before coming to Raguel’s home, Tobias still agrees to the marriage.

Moving onto Chapter 8-

Chapter 8:1-3

And when they had supped, they brought Tobias in unto her.  And as he went, he remembered the words of Raphael, and took the ashes of the perfumes, and put the heart and the liver of the fish thereupon, and made a smoke therewith.  The which smell when the evil spirit had smelled, he fled into the utmost parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him.

I know a ranted a good bit about this in Chapter 6, but I’m going to harp on it more.  This whole scene really makes Raphael look bad.  In Angelology, Raphael isn’t just any angel, he’s an Archangel.  If Christ was made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9) wouldn’t that mean that Raphael could have easily dealt with Asmodeus no problem?  First, it doesn’t appear as though Raphael was the one that ultimately dealt with the demon.  Another Angel seems to have locked him up, hundreds of miles away.  Then there’s the fact that Raphael had Tobias rely upon, what looks like, pharmakeia to deal with the demon.

In thinking more on this, there is a singular tradition in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 16) that talks about how David soothed an evil spirit which was placed upon King Saul with his harp. The spirit didn’t leave Saul alone though. It came upon him several times, and is acknowledged as having been directly sent by God. Then, in chapter 18, we find that David can no longer calm the evil spirit because Saul’s hatred for David causes him to have to leave. Since the spirit keeps coming back, it’s evident that only God can get rid of it permanently. Which, in the story of Tobias does happen here- some far off angel takes out Asmodeus. However, I’ll reiterate here that a harp and animal parts are very different things; and even then if there is an animal that would have been considered approprirate it would have been one either a ram, goat, sheep or doves, as these are the only animals permitted for sacrifice under Mosaic law.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox…for now.

Chapter 8:4-8

And after that they were both shut in together, Tobias rose out of the bed, and said, Sister, arise, and let us pray that God would have pity on us. Then began Tobias to say, Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed is thy holy and glorious name for ever; let the heavens bless thee, and all thy creatures. Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve his wife for an helper and stay: of them came mankind: thou hast said, It is not good that man should be alone; let us make unto him an aid like unto himself. And now, O Lord, I take not this my sister for lush but uprightly: therefore mercifully ordain that we may become aged together. And she said with him, Amen.

This is actually a beautiful prayer, in my opinion.  Tobias leads Sara in prayer before they consummate the marriage.  I’m actually quite curious if Sara’s previous husbands had entered into prayer before consummating the marriage.  The prayer acknowledges the incredible importance placed upon a marriage from the beginning.

What I find even more important here, is that despite the fact that Tobias has heeded everything Raphael has said- even going as far as to convincing him that Sara was promised to him, Tobias didn’t just take his word for it.  He placed the decision into the hands of God.  Trusting in God’s decision, rather than trusting the word of a stranger who seems to be right about and know things he probably shouldn’t. 

The rest of the chapter is about how Raguel finds out that Tobias is still alive, and rejoices praising God.  It also tells us that the wedding feast was 14 days long.  In Chapter 9, Tobias asks Raphael to go to Gabael and grab up the money they set out to get in the first place, because he’s going to be stuck at the wedding feast until the 14 days are over.  Raphael does so, and brings it all back.  Once he does, it ends the chapter by saying that Tobias blessed his wife.  Not really sure what that means, did he give her a gift?  Or did he say a prayer of blessing?

In an earlier chapter I mentioned that I heard this story about a Catholic who sent out his angel (Columbo, btw, he named his angel Columbo) to go and do something.  In some respects, I have to wonder if the basis for that idea comes from this story?  I don’t know, and I certainly hope that is no the case.  I should note, that I haven’t really found much in the way of Catholic philosophy that supports this notion of being able to send your angels out, so it may be a minority belief.  In either case, the story here of how Tobias asks Raphael to make the rest of the trip isn’t the same as what we see in the story of a man asking his guardian angel Columbo to go out and do something on his behalf.  In the case of Tobias, he is still addressing Raphael as Azarias by this point, indicating that he hasn’t figured it out yet.  With the disguise still up, and Raphael apparently not wanting to give up his position, he carries on as though he’s another human being.

Published by alethealeland

Author of "A Wicked & Adulterous Generation"

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