An unknown author wrote the Book of Tobit, written sometime during the second century B.C.E. (Bergant 1989, 832) or the third century B.C.E. (Mays 1988, 720), in an unknown location. Even though the date is not known exactly, it is widely thought to have been written during the Diaspora due to the intricate narrative story presented. The Book of Tobit was written for Jews who were concerned about being faithful to God and who were questioning God's fidelity to them in the midst of this cultural turmoil (Bergant 1989, 833).There are two different versions of the book. Written originally in Aramaic, the text existed in two different Greek translations, a long form and a short form. Scholarly evidence of fragments from the Qumran and Aramaic manuscripts points to the longer form of Tobit to be more true to the original text.
[...] The book of Tobit encourages the Jewish people reading the text to continue following the Mosaic Laws and doing what is right even in the face of hardships, such as the ones seen by the people during the Diaspora (Mays 1988, 720). The story begins with a short genealogy of Tobit, the main hero of the story. Genealogies are important in many other Hebrew texts such as the genealogy of Abraham seen in Genesis 11:10-32. Genealogies provide family history and context to the family of the character. [...]
[...] After the wedding feast, Tobit instructed Tobias to give Raphael half of all he had received from Raguel. Raphael took the two men aside and explained to them that almsgiving and praise of God are very important. Many Jews believed praising God is the greatest privilege and duty towards God. Raphael then reveals himself to Tobit and Tobias as one of seven angels that intercedes in the lives of humans for God. The idea of angels and the whole development of Angelology was becoming a very large deal during the time of the text's creation (Attridge 2006, 1308). [...]
[...] Raguel gave to Tobias half of all his possessions, and wished them a save journey. Before they arrived home, Raphael suggested to Tobias that the two of them journey ahead of the rest to prepare his father and mother for the arrivals. Tobias agreed and took with him the gall from the fish. Upon entering the courtyard, Tobit hurried to his son. Tobias smeared the gall on his father's eyes and immediately Tobit was able to see. Tobit exclaimed to God thanks and praise. [...]
[...] Upon entering the city of Media, Raphael explains to Tobias that they have to stay with Tobias' relative Raguel, who is the father of Sarah. Raphael continues to lay out a plan for Tobias to marry Sarah, since he is the next closest relative, and according to ancient tradition set out in Deuteronomy, has the right to marry her. Tobias has heard the stories about Sarah's many husbands, and fears to marry her. Raphael reminds Tobias of his father's order of only marrying relatives, and Sarah is a relative of Tobias. [...]
[...] The author uses both Tobit and Sarah as literary devices in that they show the readers that fidelity and the action of turning to God will bring about healing. They both have courage and trust in God, even though they do not know the outcome, and their courage brings about God healing them (Bergant 1989, 838). Tobit remembers that he had delivered a large sum of money a long time before in Media. He believes it to be only right that he sends his son to retrieve his money before his death. [...]
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