The book of Tobit, sometimes called Tobias, is named after its main character, Tobit (Tobias). Listed as an historical book, some say the book of Tobit is more appropriately understood as a cross between history and wisdom literature. Regardless, Tobit is an epic story.
The book is the account of Tobit, an Israelite originally from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who was deported to Nineveh. In distress over his life, misfortune, and blindness, he asks God to let him die. In another city, Sarah also giving up on life, makes a similar request. God hears both their prayers, sending the angel Raphael in disguise to help them both, with the help of Tobit’s son Tobiah.
Tobiah makes a journey with Raphael on his father‘s behalf to retrieve some money. Along the way he is attacked by a fish, which he seizes at Raphael’s prompting. He later meets and marries Sarah.
From the fish he makes a potion that he uses to drive the demon Asmedeus from Sarah and to restore his father’s sight.
Raphael reveals his true identity as an angel, and Tobit sings a song of praise. The book ends with Tobit telling Tobiah to leave Nineveh before it is destroyed. Tobit dies at the ripe age of 112.
Tobit is an Apocrypha book and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Good News Translation (GNT), and Douay-Rheims (DRA) all include Tobit. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains Tobit, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the book of Tobit.
For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”
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