Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Then, retiring, ver. 25. — Tears. He manifests no degree of impatience. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Judgment. Even in punishing, God remembers mercy, (Haydock) and never fails to perform what he has promised.
Ver. 3. Parents, so as to punish me on their account. (Menochius) — The Scripture frequently seems to indicate that this is the case; (Exodus xx. 5.) and the Church still prays, Remember not, O Lord, our offences, nor those of our parents. (Calmet) — But children are only punished when they imitate the wicked conduct of their ancestors: they may be afflicted, though innocent, as their virtue will thus be tried, and shine more gloriously. (Haydock) — The pagans, being convinced that God can be guilty of no injustice, and perceiving that people who appeared to be free from sin were yet unhappy, concluded that they were explaining the sins committed in another world. (Plotin. ii. 13.; Origen, prin. iii.) (Calmet) — This might arise from a confused notion of original sin. (Pascal’s Thoughts.) (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Peace. Greek, “that I may be dissolved, and return to the earth; (literally, become earth) because it is more advantageous for me to die than to live, since I have heard false reproaches, and am much grieved. Command that I may be freed from this necessity, to go to my eternal place.” (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Rages. In the Greek it is Ecbatana which was also called Rages. For there were two cities in Media of the name of Rages: Raguel dwelt in one of them and Gabelus in the other. (Challoner; Menochius) — Profane authors mention a Rages in the vicinity of Ecbatana. (Diod. Bib. 19.) — It may here denote the province. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Asmodeus, “the fire of Media.” Hebrew, “king of the devils,” of that country, exciting people to lust, (Menochius; Serarius, q. 8.) and destroying them. (Worthington) — Unto her. Greek and Hebrew intimate, when they first entered the nuptial chamber, chap. vi. 14.
Ver. 9. Murder. Greek, “Dost thou not understand that thou hast suffocated thy husbands. Thou hast already had seven husbands, and hast not received the name of any of them. Why dost thou strike us on their account? If they be dead, go along with them. May we,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. At. Greek And Hebrew, “Hearing these things she was much grieved, so as to be unable to breath; (Haydock; oste apagxasthai) or, on the point of strangling herself.” (Grotius) (Calmet) — But this interpretation is groundless, (Houbigant) and very injurious to Sara. (Haydock) — She could not entertain the thought without sin. Yet the Jews had very relaxed notions on this head, Judges xvi. 30., and 1Kings xxxi. 4. God approved of the conduct of Sara. (Calmet) — Greek continues, “and she said, I am the only daughter of my father. If I do this thing, (as the servants suggested) it will be a disgrace for him….and she prayed before the window; and said, Blessed,” ver. 13. (Haydock) — There is no mention of the three days. Hebrew and Syriac also omit ver. 16 to 24. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Name. Greek, “Blessed art thou O Lord, my God, and blessed the name of thy glory, holy and glorious for ever. May all thy works praise thee for ever.” (Haydock) — As she prayed for a long time, the Vulgate gives some sentences; and the Greek and Hebrew others. (Serarius; Salien) (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Earth. Holy men have thus desired to die, as was the case with Moses, Elias, Job, and St. Paul provided God was willing. (Menochius)
Ver. 16. Coveted, through impure love. Greek, “I am pure from all the sin of a man, and I have not defiled my name, nor the name of my father, in the land of our captivity. I am an only child, ” &c. (Haydock) — Lust: a very high encomium; which Sara mentions without vanity, placing her confidence in God. (Menochius) (Proverbs xx. 9.)
Ver. 17. Play, lasciviously, (Menochius) or dance. (Hugo.) (Exodus xxxii. 1.)
Ver. 21. Crowned. James i. 12. — Delivered from falling, (Menochius) and in due time from affliction. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Raphael, “the medicine of God.” He is invoked not only for health, but also in journeys. (Calmet) — Both. Greek and Hebrew of Fagius add, “Tobit, by taking away the white film, and to give Sara….for a wife to Tobias….and to bind Asmodeus, the wicked devil; because Tobias was to have her. At the same hour, Tobit returning entered his own house, and Sara….descended from her upper room.” (Haydock) — Lord, by the angel, Acts x., and Apocalypse v. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prayer of Tobias, and of Sara, in their several afflictions, are heard by God, and the angel Raphael is sent to relieve them.
1 Then Tobias sighed, and began to pray with tears,
2 Saying: Thou art just, O Lord, and all thy judgments are just, and all thy ways are mercy, and truth, and judgment:
3 And now, O Lord, think of me, and take not revenge of my sins, neither remember my offences, nor those of my parents.
4 *For we have not obeyed thy commandments, therefore are we delivered to spoil and to captivity, and death, and are made a fable, and a reproach to all nations, amongst which thou hast scattered us.
5 And now, O Lord, great are thy judgments, because we have not done according to thy precepts, and have not walked sincerely before thee:
6 And now, O Lord, do with me according to thy will, and command my spirit to be received in peace: for it is better for me to die, than to live.
7 Now it happened on the same day, that Sara, daughter of Raguel, in Rages, a city of the Medes, received a reproach from one of her father’s servant-maids,
8 Because she had been given to seven husbands, and a devil named Asmodeus had killed them, at their first going in unto her.
9 So when she reproved the maid for her fault, she answered her, saying: May we never see son, or daughter of thee upon the earth, thou murderer of thy husbands.
10 Wilt thou kill me also, as thou hast already killed seven husbands? At these words she went into an upper chamber of her house: and for three days and three nights did neither eat, nor drink:
11 But continuing in prayer, with tears besought God, that he would deliver her from this reproach.
12 And it came to pass on the third day, when she was making an end of her prayer, blessing the Lord,
13 She said: Blessed is thy name, O God of our fathers: who when thou hast been angry, wilt shew mercy, and in the time of tribulation forgivest the sins of them that call upon thee.
14 To thee, O Lord, I turn my face, to thee I direct my eyes.
15 I beg, O Lord, that thou loose me from the bond of this reproach, or else take me away from the earth.
16 Thou knowest, O Lord, that I never coveted a husband, and have kept my soul clean from all lust.
17 Never have I joined myself with them that play: neither have I made myself partaker with them that walk in lightness.
18 But a husband I consented to take, with thy fear, not with my lust.
19 And either I was unworthy of them, or they, perhaps, were not worthy of me: because, perhaps, thou hast kept me for another man.
20 For thy counsel is not in man’s power.
21 But this every one is sure of that worshippeth thee, that his life, if it be under trial, shall be crowned: and if it be under tribulation, it shall be delivered: and if it be under correction, it shall be allowed to come to thy mercy.
22 For thou art not delighted in our being lost: because, after a storm thou makest a calm, and after tears and weeping thou pourest in joyfulness.
23 Be thy name, O God of Israel, blessed for ever.
24 At that time the prayers of them both were heard in the sight of the glory of the most high God:
25 And the holy angel of the Lord, Raphael, was sent to heal them both, whose prayers at one time were rehearsed in the sight of the Lord.
4: Deuteronomy xxviii. 15.