Tobias xi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Charan. Not the residence of Abraham, Genesis xii. 4. Syriac reads, “Bazri,” or “Carrac.” Old Vulgate, ibat Caracha, quĉ est civitas in Ninive. Arrian places Carcha in Assyria, and Ptolemy mentions a Characa in Susiana. — Midway. At this rate, the distance from Ninive to Ecbatana would be 22 days’ journey. But it is not half so much for a man travelling expeditiously. (Calmet) — Tobias had much luggage. Leaving it with his wife, (Haydock) he went from this city to Ninive in three or four days, ver. 18. (Calmet) — Greek, “And he travelled on till he came near to Ninive. And Raphael said,” &c.

Ver. 3. If. Greek, “Let us go quickly before thy wife, and prepare the house.” (Haydock) — This would be necessary, for the reception of so many goods, as well as to relieve the anxiety (Calmet) of the aged parents, and prevent surprise.

Ver. 4. And. Greek, “Take now in thy hand the gall of the fish. And they went on. And the dog followed close up to them; (Haydock; Syriac, “ran before them.” Calmet) and Anna.”

Ver. 6. Cometh. Greek adds, “and the man who went with him.”

Ver. 7. To. Greek, “I know, Tobias, that thy father will open his eyes. Anoint, therefore, the gall upon his eyes, and feeling the smart, he will rub and remove the white specks, and shall see thee.” (Haydock) — God. This laudable custom was observed by the ancient solitaries, and prescribed by the rule of St. Benedict, chap. 53.

Ver. 9. The dog, &c. This may seem a very minute circumstance to be recorded in sacred history; but, as we learn from our Saviour, (St. Matthew v. 18) there are iotas and tittles in the word of God, that is to say, things that appear minute, but which have indeed a deep mysterious meaning in them. (Challoner) — (Ven. Bede; St. Jerome in Isaias lvi. 8.; St. Augustine, contra Faust. xxii. 56.; Worthington) — The other versions relate this event, ver. 4.

Ver. 10. And. After ver. 7., Greek adds, “and Anna running before, fell upon the neck of her son, and said to him, I have beheld thee, son; henceforth I may die. And they both wept. And Tobit went out towards the door, and he stumbled. But his son ran up to him, and took hold of his father, and spread the gall upon his father’s eyes, saying, Have confidence, father. But as soon as they began to smart, he rubbed his eyes, and the white specks came off like skins from the corners: and beholding his son, he fell upon his neck, and wept. Then he said,” ver. 17. (Haydock)

Ver. 14. Hour. This is not in the other versions. (Calmet) — It would intimate that the operation was natural. (Menochius) — Yet some think that the cure was too instantaneous; (Drusius) or that the miracle consisted in the revelation of a remedy, till then unknown. (Serarius) — The effect seems to have been of the same nature as that produced by the heart, &c., chap. vi. 8. (Worthington; Calmet) — Estius believes that the optic nerve was entirely burnt. If the external coat of the eyes was only covered with a sort of skin, it might be removed by the gall of several fishes. (Calmet) — Callionymi fel cicatrices sanat & carnes oculorum supervacuas consumit. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xxxii 4. (Menochius)

Ver. 17. Lord. Greek, “Blessed be God, and blessed be thy name for ever, and blessed be all thy holy angels; because thou hast scourged, and hast shewn mercy, and,” &c.

Ver. 18. Days. Or perhaps hours; (Haydock) as the other versions intimate that Sara arrived the same day. (Calmet) — Greek, “And his son entered, rejoicing, and related to his father the great things which had taken place in Media. And Tobit went out to meet his daughter-in-law, rejoicing, and blessing God, to the gate of Ninive. And those who saw him walking were astonished, because he saw. And Tobit confessed before them that God had taken pity on him. And as Tobit approached to Sarra, his daughter-in-law, he blessed her, saying, Mayst thou come with safety, daughter. Blessed be God, who has brought thee to us, and blessed be thy father and thy mother. And there was joy among all his brethren at Ninive. And,” ver. 20. (Haydock)

Ver. 20. Achior. Greek, “Achiachar,” mentioned [in] chap. i. 24. This text insinuates that he was also styled Anael (Haydock) and Nasbas, and was the nephew of Tobit. (Grotius) (Calmet) — Greek, “And there came Achiachar, and Nasbas, his brother’s son, and the wedding of Tobias was kept in joy for seven days.” (Haydock)

Ver. 21. Joy. Old Vulgate adds, “and many presents were made to him.”

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Tobias anointeth his father’s eyes with the fish’s gall, and he recovereth his sight.

1 And *as they were returning they came to Charan, which is in the midway to Ninive, the eleventh day.

2 And the angel said: Brother Tobias, thou knowest how thou didst leave thy father.

3 If it please thee, therefore, let us go before, and let the family follow softly after us, together with thy wife, and with the beasts.

4 And as this their going pleased him, Raphael said to Tobias: Take with thee of the gall of the fish, for it will be necessary. So Tobias took some of that gall and departed.

5 But Anna sat beside the way daily, on the top of a hill, from whence she might see afar off.

6 And while she watched his coming from that place, she saw him afar off, and presently perceived it was her son coming: and returning, she told her husband, saying: Behold thy son cometh.

7 And Raphael said to Tobias: As soon as thou shalt come into thy house, forthwith adore the Lord, thy God: and giving thanks to him, go to thy father, and kiss him:

8 And immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish, which thou carriest with thee. For be assured that his eyes shall be presently opened, and thy father shall see the light of heaven, and shall rejoice in the sight of thee.

9 Then the dog, which had been with them in the way, ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail.

10 And his father, that was blind, rising up, began to run, stumbling with his feet: and giving a servant his hand, went to meet his son.

11 And receiving him, kissed him, as did also his wife, and they began to weep for joy.

12 And when they had adored God, and given him thanks, they sat down together.

13 Then Tobias taking of the gall of the fish, anointed his father’s eyes.

14 And he stayed about half an hour: and a white skin began to come out of his eyes, like the skin of an egg.

15 And Tobias took hold of it, and drew it from his eyes, and immediately he recovered his sight.

16 And they glorified God, both he and his wife, and all that knew them.

17 And Tobias said: I bless thee, O Lord, God of Israel, because thou hast chastised me, and thou hast saved me: and behold I see Tobias, my son.

18 And after seven days, Sara, his son’s wife, and all the family, arrived safe, and the cattle, and the camels, and an abundance of money of his wife’s: and that money, also, which he had received of Gabelus:

19 And he told his parents all the benefits of God, which he had done to him by the man that conducted him.

20 And Achior, and Nabath, the kinsmen of Tobias, came, rejoicing for Tobias, and congratulating with him for all the good things that God had done for him.

21 And for seven days they feasted and rejoiced, all with great joy.



1: Year of the World 3299.