Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. What. Greek, Hebrew and Syriac (Calmet), “See thou give the man who has come with thee his hire, and something must be added to it;” (Haydock) as he had promised (chap. vii. 19.) a drachm a day, (Calmet) and more if they returned safe. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Said. Greek, “Father, I shall not be hurt if I give him half of what I have brought, since he has conducted me safe back to thee, and has healed my wife, and brought my money, and likewise has cured thee. And the old man said, he justly deserves it. And he called the angel, and said to him, Take half of what you have brought, and depart in health. Then,” ver. 6.
Ver. 6. Said. Greek, “Calling the two, in private, he said to them.”
Ver. 7. Hide. Greek, “To bless God, and to extol his name, exposing with honour the words of God, and delay not to confess unto him. For,” &c. (Haydock) — The Old Vulgate greatly abridges the remainder of this book, having only, “Then Raphael having called the two Tobies, said to them, Since thou hast not delayed to arise, and to leave thy meals to bury the dead, I have been sent to try thee to heal thee, and to deliver thy daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the angels who assist and appear before the brightness of God. Hereupon the two Tobies were startled, and fell prostrate on the ground, and were seized with fear. And Raphael said, Fear not, Peace be with you. Bless the Lord all the days of your life, and sing his praises. You thought that I eat when I was at table with you. But you saw with your eyes; (Haydock; only a vision, Calmet) wherefore bless the Lord upon the earth, and praise his goodness. As for me, I return to him who sent me. Write down all that has happened. The angel having spoken thus to Tobias, the latter wrote this prayer as a monument of his joy, and said, Blessed be the Lord, who is great in eternity, because his reign endures for ever. It is He who strikes, and who shews mercy, who conducts to the grave, and who, by his majesty, rescues from the greatest miseries; and no one can withdraw himself from his hands. End of Tobias the just.” (Haydock) — King. Secrecy is the soul of human councils, to prevent an enemy from thwarting our designs: but nothing can withstand the divine power. It is therefore proper to testify our gratitude for favours received, as the ancient saints have done by their canticles. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Alms. Greek adds, “and justice. Better is a little with justice, than much with iniquity.” (Haydock) — Fasting and alms are like the wings of prayer. (Worthington) See chap. iv. 11.
Ver. 9. Everlasting. This word is not found in Greek, though sufficiently implied; as liberality does not always secure a person’s life, or temporal happiness. (Calmet) — Greek, “Those who perform alms-deeds and justice, shall be filled with life. But sinners are enemies,” &c.
Ver. 10. Soul. If this were understood of the present life, nothing could be less accurate, as the wicked often prosper. See Psalm x. 6., and John xii. 25. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. I. Greek, “I will not hide from you any word or thing. I said then, It is good to conceal the mystery of the king, but glorious to manifest the works of God. And now, when thou and thy daughter-in-law, Sarra, did pray, I brought forward the memorial of your prayer before the holy one.” (Haydock) — The angels are represented as God’s ministers, offering our prayers to him, Apocalypse viii. 3. (Calmet) (St. Augustine) (Worthington) — Philo styles them ambassadors. Socrates says, “every demon (or good spirit) is between God and mortals.” (Plutarch) — Inter homines cælicolasque, vectores hinc precum, inde donorum. (Apuleius de Deo Socrat.) (Calmet) — Greek continues, “and when thou didst bury the dead, in like manner, I was present with thee; when thou didst not delay to rise and leave thy dinner, that going thou mightest cover the dead; in thy good work, thou wast not hidden from me: but I was with thee. And,” &c., ver. 14. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Thee. This rule is invariable, that the good may advance in virtue, and set a pattern to the world, (Hebrews ii. 18., and xii. 6., and Acts xiv. 21.; Calmet) and cancel their smallest faults.
Ver. 14. From the devil, is not in Greek. (Haydock) — In this history, as well as in other parts of Scripture, we have convincing proofs of the good which each one receives from his angel guardian, and from the other blessed spirits. See St. Luke xv., and xvi.; St. Chrysostom in col. hom. 3.; St. Augustine, City of God xi. 31., &c. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Raphael. We know also the names of Michael and Gabriel. All others are apocryphal; such as Uriel, Saltiel, Jeadriel Barachiel, &c. — Seven. This number is clearly specified by St. John, Apocalypse i. 4. A mass in their honour was approved by Pius IV. It is supposed that the seven deacons in the Church of Rome, and of Jerusalem, were instituted in imitation of them. The kings, Assuerus, &c., had seven chief officers, Esther i. 10. (Calmet) — Lord, ready to fulfil his orders, as innumerable other angels, of inferior degree, are likewise. (Menochius) (Daniel vii. 10.) — These were the princes of the heavenly court. St. Jerome (contra Jovin.) admits only seven orders of angels. (Calmet) — Greek, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who offer up the prayers of the saints, and go out before the glory of the Holy One. And they were both troubled,” &c., (Haydock) at so unusual a thing, (Menochius) and filled with reverential awe. (Haydock) — They might also suspect that death would shortly follow. (Calmet) (Genesis xvi. 13.)
Ver. 17. Be. Greek, “shall be with you. But praise God: for I came not of my own accord, but by the will of our God. Wherefore praise him for ever.”
Ver. 19. I. Greek, “I appeared to you all the days; yet I did not eat nor drink. But you beheld a vision.” (Haydock) — Having an aerial body, he made the provisions disappear, as the sun melts snow, Genesis xviii. 9. (Calmet) — He might swallow, though he had no need of meat, (St. Augustine, City of God xiii. 22.) or digestion, (Grotius) so as to convert it into his substance. (Menochius) — Men. I constantly enjoy the beatific vision, Matthew xviii. 10. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. It. Greek, “And now confess to God, because I ascend to him who sent me. Write ye all these occurrences in a book. And they arose, and beheld him no longer; and they proclaimed the great and wonderful works of God, and how the angel of the Lord had appeared to them.” (Haydock) — Almost all interpreters infer from this injunction, (Calmet) that the work before us was originally composed by these holy men. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Raphael maketh himself known.
1 Then *Tobias called to him his son, and said to him: What can we give to this holy man that is come with thee?
2 Tobias answering, said to his father: Father, what wages shall we give him? or what can be worthy of his benefits?
3 He conducted me and brought me safe again, he received the money of Gabelus, he caused me to have my wife, and he chased from her the evil spirit, he gave joy to her parents, myself he delivered from being devoured by the fish, thee also he hath made to see the light of heaven, and we are filled with all good things through him. What can we give him sufficient for these things?
4 But I beseech thee, my father, to desire him, that he would vouchsafe to accept of one half of all things that have been brought.
5 So the father and the son calling him, took him aside: and began to desire him that he would vouchsafe to accept of half of all things that they had brought.
6 Then he said to them secretly: Bless ye the God of heaven, give glory to him in the sight of all that live, because he hath shewn his mercy to you.
7 For it is good to hide the secret of a king: but honourable to reveal and confess the works of God.
8 Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold:
9 For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting.
10 But they that commit sin and iniquity, are enemies to their own soul.
11 I discover then the truth unto you, and I will not hide the secret from you.
12 When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead, by day, in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord.
13 And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee.
14 And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara, thy son’s wife, from the devil.
15 For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.
16 And when they had heard these things, they were troubled, and being seized with fear, they fell upon the ground on their face.
17 And the angel said to them: Peace be to you, fear not.
18 For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him.
19 I seemed, indeed, to eat, and to drink with you: but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men.
20 It is time, therefore, that I return to him that sent me: but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works.
21 And when he had said these things, he was taken from their sight, and they could see him no more.
22 Then they lying prostrate for three hours upon their face, blessed God: and rising up, they told all his wonderful works.
1: Year of the World 3299.