Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Tobias. Greek, “Tobit wrote a prayer for exultation, and said.” (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Hell; death. (Menochius) — Out of hell there is no redemption or return. (Haydock) (1 Kings ii. 6.)
Ver. 4. Therefore, is not in Greek. (Haydock) — But God had the good of the Gentiles in view, that they might become acquainted with his law, and behold the conduct of his saints, Tobias, Esther, Daniel, &c., (Calmet) as well as to punish his people. (Haydock) — Temporal afflictions are sometimes for the spiritual good of others. (Worthington) — Greek, “because he has scattered you among them. There shew forth his grandeur, and extol him before every one living: for he is our Lord and God, our Father for ever. Yea, he hath chastised us in our iniquities, again he will have mercy, and will gather us from all nations where he has scattered us, if ye be converted to him with all your heart, and with all your soul, to act sincerely. Then he will turn towards you, and will not hide his face from you; and ye shall behold what he will do with you, and ye shall confess to him with all your mouth, and bless the Lord of power, and extol the king of ages. I,” &c., ver. 7. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Mercy. He can discover nothing in the sinner. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Nation; the Israelites, (Menochius) whom he has chastised. (Haydock) — Ninive was still flourishing. Yet the Greek seems to refer to the Assyrian idolaters, (Calmet) or to both. Greek, “and I shew his power and magnificence to a sinful nation. Who knows if he will love and shew his mercy to you? I exalt my God, and my soul magnifies the King of heaven, and shall gladly proclaim his greatness: let all speak and confess to him in justice.”
Ver. 11. Jerusalem. What is prophetically delivered here, and in the following chapter, with relation to Jerusalem, is partly to be understood of the rebuilding the city after the captivity, and partly of the spiritual Jerusalem, which is the Church of Christ, and the eternal Jerusalem in heaven. (Challoner) — It would seem that Jerusalem and the temple were now destroyed, which is contrary to chronology, as Manasses had not yet began to reign, (Calmet) and Tobias died when he had been on the throne fifty-two years. (Houbigant) — But the Greek shews that (Calmet) he speaks prophetically: (Worthington) “Jerusalem, holy city, He will chastise thee for the works of thy children, and again he will shew mercy on the children of the just. Confess to the Lord, for he is good; and bless the king of ages, that his tabernacle may be again rebuilt in thee, with joy.” (Haydock) — The Hebrew of Munster had only a few verses of this and the following chapter. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Call. Greek, “cause thy captives to rejoice in thee, and love in thee all the distressed unto eternity.”
Ver. 13. Thou. Greek, “Many nations from afar shall come to the name of the Lord God, with presents in their hands, presents for the king of heaven; race after race shall praise thee, and give exultation. They,” &c., ver. 16. (Haydock) — How many potent monarchs of Persia, Egypt, Rome, &c., honoured the temple of Jerusalem! How many wars have been carried on by Christian potentates, to rescue that favourite spot out of the hands of infidels! all out of respect for Christ. These priests are still better verified in his Church, to which the powers of the earth have submitted, (Calmet) esteeming it an honour and happiness to be members of this holy society. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Holy. This soil has been carried into distant countries, out of reverence, (4 Kings v. 17.; St. Augustine, City of God xxii.8.) and has been honoured with miracles. (St. Gregory Turon. i. 7.)
Ver. 16. Despise. Greek, “hate thee, and blessed shall be those who love thee for ever.” (Haydock)
Ver. 17. But. Greek, “rejoice, and exult for the children of the just, because they shall be gathered together, and shall bless the Lord of the just.” (Haydock) — The people of God, in the old law, have often this title, as those of the new are styled saints. Both have a claim to this prediction. The Jews became more faithful after the captivity, so that the most cruel persecution of Epiphanes could not overcome their resolution; and the world was astonished at the courage of the martyrs, and the exemplary conduct of the primitive Christians. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Peace. Greek adds, “blessed are those who have mourned on account of thy chastisements, because they shall rejoice, beholding all thy glory, and their joy shall endure for ever.” (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Thou. Greek, “God, the great king: For Jerusalem,” &c., ver. 21. (Haydock) — Troubles. This regards only the heavenly Jerusalem. (Worthington)
Ver. 20. Seed. Hence it appears that Tobias did not speak of an approaching event, (Calmet) or at least he wished that his posterity might be set free.
Ver. 21. Emerald. Greek adds, “and precious stone: thy walls, and towers, and battlements, of pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be strewed with beryl and carbuncle, and stone from Soupheir.” (Haydock) — This description resembles that of Isaias, (liv. 11.) who lived a little before. St. John (Apocalypse xxi.10.) represents the church in the same ornaments, denoting the merits of Christ and the virtues of his saints. All are convinced that such expressions are not to be taken in the literal sense. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Alleluia. A sound of praise. St. Augustine (ep. 86.) means, “Praise ye the Lord (Haydock) with joy.” (Worthington) — It is disused in times of penance. (Calmet) — Greek adds, ” and they shall praise, saying, Blessed be God, who has exalted it for ever.”
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Tobias, the father, praiseth God, exhorting all Israel to do the same. Prophesieth the restoration and better state of Jerusalem.
1 And *Tobias, the elder, opening his mouth, blessed the Lord, and said: Thou art great, O Lord, for ever, and thy kingdom is unto all ages:
2 *For thou scourgest, and thou savest: thou leadest down to hell, and bringest up again: and there is none that can escape thy hand.
3 Give glory to the Lord, ye children of Israel, and praise him in the sight of the Gentiles:
4 Because he hath therefore scattered you among the Gentiles, who know not him, that you may declare his wonderful works, and make them know that there is no other Almighty God besides him.
5 He hath chastised us for our iniquities: and he will save us for his own mercy.
6 See then what he hath done with us, and with fear and trembling give ye glory to him: and extol the eternal king of worlds in your works.
7 As for me, I will praise him in the land of my captivity: because he hath shewn his majesty toward a sinful nation.
8 Be converted, therefore, ye sinners, and do justice before God, believing that he will shew his mercy to you.
9 And I and my soul will rejoice in him.
10 Bless ye the Lord, all his elect, keep days of joy, and give glory to him.
11 Jerusalem, city of God, the Lord hath chastised thee for the works of thy hands.
12 Give glory to the Lord for thy good things, and bless the God eternal, that he may rebuild his tabernacle in thee, and may call back all the captives to thee, and thou mayst rejoice for ever and ever.
13 Thou shalt shine with a glorious light: and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee.
14 *Nations from afar shall come to thee: and shall bring gifts, and shall adore the Lord in thee, and shall esteem thy land as holy.
15 For they shall call upon the great name in thee.
16 They shall be cursed that shall despise thee: and they shall be condemned that shall blaspheme thee: and blessed shall they be that shall build thee up.
17 But thou shalt rejoice in thy children, because they shall all be blessed, and shall be gathered together to the Lord.
18 Blessed are all they that love thee, and that rejoice in thy peace.
19 My soul, bless thou the Lord, because the Lord, our God, hath delivered Jerusalem, his city, from all her troubles.
20 Happy shall I be if there shall remain of my seed, to see the glory of Jerusalem.
21 *The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of sapphire, and of emerald, and all the walls thereof round about of precious stones.
22 All its streets shall be paved with white and clean stones: and Alleluia shall be sung in its streets.
23 Blessed be the Lord, who hath exalted it, and may he reign over it for ever and ever, Amen.
1: Year of the World 3299.
2: Deuteronomy xxxii. 39.; 1 Kings ii. 6.; Wisdom xvi. 13.
14: Isaias lx. 5.
21: Apocalypse xxi. 16.