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Book of Tobit 11-12: The Reward of the Righteous

Greco-Roman Period
Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.308-310 and Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Apocrypha, copyright 1957 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

An example of an apocryphal book, Tobit illustrates the moral that healing and blessing come as a result of righteousness. Although significant parts of the book are preserved in the original Aramaic amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, the full text of this book is preserved only in Greek. The following excerpt illustrates the pious religious outlook of this book.

11-1 After this 15 Tobias went on his way, praising God because he had made his journey
a success. And he blessed Raguel and his wife Edna.

So he continued on his way until they came near to Nineveh. 2 Then Raphael l6 said to
Tobias. “Are you not aware, brother, of how you left your father? 3 Let us run ahead of
your wife and prepare the house. 4 And take the gall of the fish with you.” So they went
their way, and the dog went along behind them.

5 Now Anna 17 sat looking intently down the road for her son. 6 And she caught sight of
him coming, and said to his father. “Behold, your son is coming, and so is the man who
went with him!”

7 Raphael said, “I know, Tobias, that your father will open his eyes. 8 You therefore
must anoint his eyes with the gall; and when they smart he will rub them, and will cause
the white films to fall away, and he will see you.”

9 Then Anna ran to meet them, and embraced her son, and said to him, “I have seen
you, my child; now I am ready to die.” And they both wept. 10 Tobit started toward the
door, and stumbled. But his son ran to him 11 and took hold of his father, and he
sprinkled the gall upon his father’s eyes, saying, “Be of good cheer, father.” 12 And
when his eyes began to smart he rubbed them, 13 and the white films scaled off from the
corners of his eyes. 14 Then he saw his son and embraced him, and he wept and said,
“Blessed art thou, O God, and blessed is thy name for ever, and blessed are all thy holy
angels. 15 For thou hast afflicted me, but thou hast had mercy upon me; here I see my son
Tobias!” And his son went inrejoicing, and he reported to his father the great things that
had happened to him in Media.

16 Then Tobit went out to meet his daughter-in-law at the gate of Nineveh, rejoicing
and praising God. Those who saw him as he went were amazed because he could see. 17
And Tobit gave thanks before them that God had been merciful to him. When Tobit came
near to Sarah his daughter-in-law, he blessed her, saying, “Welcome, daughter! Blessed is
God who has brought you to us, and blessed are your father and your mother.” So there
was rejoicing among all his brethren in Nineveh. 18 Ahikar and his nephew Nadab came,
19 and Tobias’ marriage was celebrated for seven days with great festivity.

12-1 Tobit then called his son Tobias and said to him, “My son, see to the wages of the
man who went with you; and he must also be given more.” 2 He replied, “Father, it
would do me no harm to give him half of what I have brought back. 3 For he has led me
back to you safely, he cured my wife, he obtained the money for me, and he also healed
you.” 4 The old man said. “He deserves it.” 5 So he called the angel and said to him,
“Take half of all that you two have brought back.”

6 Then the angel called the two of them privately and said to them- “Praise God and
give thanks to him; exalt him and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for
what he has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily
declaring the works of God. Do not be slow to give him thanks. 7 It is good to guard the
secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God. Do good, and evil will not
overtake you.

11 “I will not conceal anything from you. I have said, ‘It is good to guard the secret of a
king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God.’ 12 And so, when you and your
daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of your prayer before the Holy One-
and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you. 13 When you did not
hesitate to rise and leave your dinner in order to go and lay out the dead, your good deed
was not hidden from me, but I was with you. 14 So now God sent me to heal you and
your daughter-in-law Sarah. 15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present
the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.”

16 They were both alarmed; and they fell upon their faces, for they were afraid. 17 But
he said to them, “Do not be afraid- you will be safe. But praise God for ever. 18 For I did
not come as a favor on my part, but by the will of our God. Therefore praise him forever.
19 All these days I merely appeared to you and did not eat or drink, but you were seeing a
vision. 20 And now give thanks to God, for I am ascending to him whosent me. Write in
a book everything that has happened.” 21 Then they stood up; but they saw him no more.
22 So they confessed the great and wonderful works of God, and acknowledged that the
angel of the Lord had appeared to them.

14. All texts from the Apocrypha taken from the Revised Standard Version Apocrypha (New York-
National Council of Churches, 1957).

15. Tobias had journeyed to Ecbatana to the house of Raguel to marry his daughter, Sarah.

16. The angel, Raphael, was employed as Tobias’ travel guide and helped him to thwart the demon that
killed Sarah’s previous husbands by burning the heart and liver of a fish. The gall he reserved for curing the
blind father of Tobias, Tobit.

17. The mother of Tobias.

Posted in: Biblical Literature

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