Exploring Tobit (Ch.10-11)

Chapter 10:1-7a

Now Tobit his father counted every day: and when the days of the journey were expired, and they came not, Then Tobit said, Are they detained? or is Gabael dead, and there is no man to give him the money? Therefore he was very sorry. Then his wife said unto him, My son is dead, seeing he stayeth long; and she began to wail him, and said, Now I care for nothing, my son, since I have let thee go, the light of mine eyes.

To whom Tobit said, Hold thy peace, take no care, for he is safe. But she said, Hold thy peace, and deceive me not; my son is dead. And she went out every day into the way which they went, and did eat no meat on the daytime, and ceased not whole nights to bewail her son Tobias, until the fourteen days of the wedding were expired, which Raguel had sworn that he should spend there. 

I know I’ve felt this kind of worry in my own heart.  I had a dear friend that would go off the grid for months at a time.  She was homeless, and I couldn’t help but worry about her.  It wasn’t until after her death I realized I probably should have been a great deal more worried.  All those times she ran, she was running from human trafficking.  Today, my worry is towards my husband who rides a scooter (on par with the power of a motorcycle) everywhere.  When he’s not home on time and hasn’t told me he’s going to be out for more than an hour longer, I get worried.

But unlike Tobit and Anna, I can look up where my husband is via the “Where’s my iPhone” app if it gets too late.

This trial is huge for them.  Tobit promises God will keep Tobias, and now he’s probably feeling like God didn’t see fit for that to be the case.

Chapter 10:7b-12

Then Tobias said to Raguel, Let me go, for my father and my mother look no more to see me. But his father in law said unto him, Tarry with me, and I will send to thy father, and they shall declare unto him how things go with thee. But Tobias said, No; but let me go to my father.

Nice to see that Tobias was thinking about his parents.  The fact that he wanted to go back speaks volumes of the family ties they had to one another too.  

Chapter 10:11- 13

Then Raguel arose, and gave him Sara his wife, and half his goods, servants, and cattle, and money: And he blessed them, and sent them away, saying, The God of heaven give you a prosperous journey, my children. And he said to his daughter, Honour thy father and thy mother in law, which are now thy parents, that I may hear good report of thee. And he kissed her. Edna also said to Tobias, The Lord of heaven restore thee, my dear brother, and grant that I may see thy children of my daughter Sara before I die, that I may rejoice before the Lord: behold, I commit my daughter unto thee of special trust; where are do not entreat her evil.

I didn’t really have a father that could give me away.  I actually had three candidates (godfather, uncle, stepfather), but my family made me feel absolutely terrible about choosing between them- to the point I almost asked a teacher none of them knew to perform the rite.  Of course, he lived states away and on such short notice it wasn’t likely he could make that happen.  Then, I had this brilliant idea, my mother could give me away at my wedding!  It’s kind of cool to see Edna as the one that says “I commit my daughter” in this story.

Chapter 11:1-6

After these things Tobias went his way, praising God that he had given him a prosperous journey, and blessed Raguel and Edna his wife, and went on his way till they drew near unto Nineve.  Then Raphael said to Tobias, Thou knowest, brother, how thou didst leave thy father:  Let us haste before thy wife, and prepare the house.  And take in thine hand the gall of the fish. So they went their way, and the dog went after them.  Now Anna sat looking about toward the way for her son.  And when she espied him coming, she said to his father, Behold, thy son cometh, and the man that went with him.

We’re back at the fish gall…But, I have to give Raphael some credit here.  Pretty cool that he thought to have Tobias get rid of the whiteness before his new wife Sara arrived.  That way Tobit will be able to see his new daughter.

You know, I’m going to harp on this a bit more. For the life of me I cannot figure out how this tidbit got past the councils which established them as valid canon. Prior to this chapter, I didn’t look to see what others had said about this book. The most I found was that it was excluded because protestants were anti-Catholic. But it seems I’m not the only person that had concerns about the fish parts. In the book “Table Talk of Martin Luther”, which documents a number reconstructed of conversations he had, Dr. Justus Jonas brings this very concern “May ridiculous things are contained in this book, especially about the three nights, the liver of broiled fish, wherewith the devil was scared and driven away.”  To which Martin Luther retorts “Tis a Jewish conceit; the devil, a fierce and powerful enenmy, will not be hunted away in such sort, for he has the spear of Goliah; but God gives him such weapons, that, when he is overcome by the godly, it may be the greater terror and vexation unto him.”

Another person that brought up concern was William Craig Brownlee in “Letters in the Roman Catholic Controversy” where he says “They [books of Apocrypha] were not sent of God: they nowhere affirm this: their writings have none of the evidence of their divine mission, as prophets: they abound with puerility, filthiness, errors, and glaring contradictions.  Let me only direct your attention to the fictions about the angel’s grave recommendation to make smoke out of the heart and liver of a fish, to frighten away devils out of men!” (I reserve the right to determine for myself the disposition of the other Apocryphal books).

It’s of note, that Jerome of Stridon even wondered why there was an insistence upon getting Tobit translated into Latin, after the Jewish people had cut it from their own canon. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why such a blatant display of pharmakeia would be considered viable for the Christian canon. Though there may be some saving grace in the consideration of the Early church that neither Melito nor Cyril of Jerusaleum included it in their own canonical lists.

Chapter 11:7-8

Then said Raphael, I know, Tobias, that thy father will open his eyes.  Therefore anoint thou his eyes with the gall, and being pricked therewith, he shall rub, and the whiteness shall fall away, and he shall see thee.

There are a few stories where people were blind and they were able to see again.  Each time through prayer, spoken word or laying of hands, with the exception of Christ using mud.

The next few verses are about Anna, Tobit and Tobias being reunited; and Tobit’s eyes being healed.  It goes on to speak of how everyone rejoiced that God had restored their family, and added to them.  

Both of these chapters speak to familial ties.  I didn’t really give a contemplation in the last two entries, so I’ll pick it back up here:

How do you feel about your own family?  What does it mean to Honor Your Father and Mother to you?  Whereas this story is of a family that clearly loved each other, maybe yours isn’t quite the same way, so how can you reconcile the commandment to honor your parent(s) if they were horrible examples of what it means to be [a] parent(s)?

Published by alethealeland

Author of "A Wicked & Adulterous Generation"

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