Tobias viii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. To her, in the nuptial chamber. See Genesis xxix. 23.

Ver. 2. Bag, (cassidili) resembling a wallet or pannier, for provisions. (Calmet) — Liver. (Chap. vi. 8.) This mystically represented the Passion of Christ, by which the devil is expelled from men’s hearts. (St. Augustine, ser. 28, de Sanct.; Prosper, promis. ii. c. 39.) (Worthington) — Greek, “and he took the ashes of incense, and placed thereon the heart of the fish and the liver, causing them to smoke. And when the devil perceived the odour, he fled to the highest parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him,” (Haydock) confining his malice to those deserts. Jesus Christ insinuates that the devil walks through dry places, Matthew xii. 24. The angel was not seen to absent himself: (Calmet) — This country was chosen as being very remote from Media. (Houbigant) — It was afterwards sanctified by the presence of many Christian solitaries. (Haydock) — Our adversaries laugh at this account. But surely Christ has used similar expressions of binding the devil, who cannot molest people, when he is not present; (Houbigant) or do any thing without the divine permission, chap. vi. 17. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Then. Greek, “and when they were shut up together, Tobias ascended the bed, (klines, on which it was customary to sit, (Haydock) or rather according to the Roman edition, he rose from the bed) and said, Arise, sister, and let us pray, that the Lord may take pity on us. And Tobias began to say,” ver. 7. (Haydock) — The rest is omitted. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. Lord. Greek, “Blessed art thou, the God of our fathers, and blessed is thy name, holy and glorious for ever. May the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee.” (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Of. Greek, “And gavest him Eve for his wife, an assistant, and a support. From these all the seed of men was formed. Thou didst say, It is not good for man to be alone: Let us make for him a helper like unto himself. And now Lord,” &c.

Ver. 9. Only. Greek, “for truth,” resolving to be ever faithful to her. (Haydock) — We cannot read the pure sentiments of Tobias and Sara, brought up in the midst of infidels, without surprise. Nothing more perfect could be required of Christians (Calmet) in the married state. (Haydock) — St. Augustine (Doct. x. and xviii.) adduces this text to shew the true intent of marriage.

Ver. 10. And. Greek, “Order pity to be shewn me, and that I may grow old with this woman. And she said along with him, Amen. And they both slept the night,” probably on separate beds, ver. 15. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. It. Greek, “Raguel arising, went and dug a grave, saying, lest this man also should die. Then Raguel came to his own house, and said to Edna, his wife.”

Ver. 14. Dead. Greek, “alive. But if not, that I may bury him, and no body may know,” The custom of burying too soon ought to be avoided, as many have thus been consigned to the tomb before they were really dead!

Ver. 15. Together. In the same chamber, (Haydock) or with their clothes on. (Serarius, q. 21.) The Vulgate specifies that the three first nights were to be spent in continence. But the other versions are silent on this head. (Calmet) — Greek, “And the girl entered, having opened the door, and found the two sleeping; and going out, she told them that he was alive. And Raguel blessed,” &c.

Ver. 17. And. Greek, “saying, Blessed art thou, O God, in all pure and holy benediction; and may all thy saints, and all thy creatures, bless thee. Yea, may all thy angels, and thy elect, bless thee for all ages. Blessed art thou, because thou hast filled me with joy, and it has not happened as I suspected: but thou hast done unto us according to thy great mercy. And,” ver. 19.

Ver. 19. Make. Greek, “Shew them mercy, Lord. Perfect their life in health, with gladness and mercy. But he ordered his domestics to fill up the grave, and he made them a marriage feast for fourteen days. And,” ver. 23. The ancient Vulgate seems rather more conformable to the present. “Raguel ordered his wife to make several loaves, and going himself to the flock, he brought two cows and four rams, and ordered them to prepare a feast. He called Tobias, and swore to him, saying, Thou shalt not depart hence these 14 days, but remain here eating and drinking with me, and shalt fill with joy me and my daughter, who has been greatly afflicted. Receive half of my goods, and thou shalt return safe and sound to thy father; and after my death, and that of my wife, thou shalt have the other half.” (Haydock) — Greek and Hebrew mention nothing of the beasts slaughtered, or of Raguel’s testament. (Calmet)

Ver. 21. Journey. He expected that Tobias would proceed to Rages. (Menochius)

Ver. 23. Adjured. Greek, “said to him before the two days of the marriage were accomplished, with an oath, that he should not depart till the 14 days of marriage were over; and then taking half of his goods, he might depart in health to his father, and receive the rest when I and my wife shall be no more.” (Haydock) — Weeks. The usual term was doubled, (Genesis xxix. 27.) on account of the mercy shewn to Sara, and her marriage. (Menochius)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Tobias burneth part of the fish’s liver, and Raphael bindeth the devil. Tobias and Sara pray.

1 And *after they had supped, they brought in the young man to her.

2 And Tobias, remembering the angel’s word, took out of his bag part of the liver, and laid it upon burning coals.

3 Then the angel, Raphael, took the devil, and bound him in the desert of Upper Egypt.

4 Then Tobias exhorted the virgin, and said to her: Sara, arise, and let us pray to God to-day, and to-morrow, and the next day: because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock.

5 For we are the children of saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God.

6 So they both arose, and prayed earnestly both together that health might be given them.

7 And Tobias said: Lord God of our father, may the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains, and the rivers, and all thy creatures that are in them, bless thee.

8 *Thou madest Adam of the slime of the earth, and gavest him Eve for a helper.

9 And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.

10 Sara also said: Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.

11 And it came to pass about the cock crowing, Raguel ordered his servants to be called for, and they went with him together to dig a grave.

12 For he said: Lest, perhaps it may have happened to him, in like manner as it did to the other seven husbands that went in unto her.

13 And when they had prepared the pit, Raguel went back to his wife, and said to her:

14 Send one of thy maids, and let her see if he be dead, that I may bury him before it be day.

15 So she sent one of her maid-servants, who went into the chamber, and found them safe and sound, sleeping both together.

16 And returning, she brought the good news: and Raguel, and Anna, his wife, blessed the Lord,

17 And said: We bless thee, O Lord God of Israel, because it hath not happened as we suspected.

18 For thou hast shewn thy mercy to us, and hast shut out from us the enemy that persecuted us.

19 And thou hast taken pity upon two only children. Make them, O Lord, bless thee more fully: and to offer up to thee a sacrifice of thy praise, and of their health, that all nations may know, that thou alone art God in all the earth.

20 And immediately Raguel commanded his servants to fill up the pit they had made, before it was day.

21 And he spoke to his wife to make ready a feast, and prepare all kind of provisions that are necessary for such as go a journey.

22 He caused also two fat kine, and four wethers to be killed, and a banquet to be prepared for all his neighbours, and all his friends.

23 And Raguel adjured Tobias, to abide with him two weeks.

24 And of all things which Raguel possessed, he gave one half to Tobias, and made a writing, that the half that remained, should after their decease, come also to Tobias.



1: Year of the World 3299.

8: Genesis ii. 7.