Young Tobias and the Angel Raphael

(Tobias (Tobit) 5:5-8, 10-14, 15, 21-22; 6: 1-5, 7-9; 8: 1-4, 6, 11-18, 23-24; 11: 7-16; 12: 1, 5-7, 11-18, 20-22, NACE)

During the time of the Assyrian Captivity, a righteous man named Tobias lives with his wife, Anna, and their son, Tobias, in Ninive. He comforts and gives alms to his fellow Jews, risking death at the hands of the authorities for his refusal to leave the dead unburied. While sleeping one day, Tobias is blinded by falling bird dung. In a parallel story, Sara, the daughter of Raguel of Rages, is married seven times but cannot consummate the unions, because her husbands are killed on their wedding night by the demon, Asmodeus. Tobias and Sara beseech God for healing and deliverance, and the Angel Raphael is sent in answer to their prayers. He assumes the identity of a traveler, named Azarias, and offers to accompany the Young Tobias, when he sets out to receive payment for a debt from his kinsman, Gabelus, who also lives in the city of Rages.

Then Tobias going forth, found a beautiful young man, standing girded, and as it were ready to walk. And not knowing that he was an angel of God, he saluted him, and said: From whence art thou, good young man?

But he answered: Of the children of Israel.

And Tobias said to him: Knowest thou the way that leadeth to the country of the Medes?

And he answered: I know it; and I have often walked through all the ways thereof.

Then Tobias going in told all these things to his father. Upon which his father being in admiration, desired that [the young man] would come in unto him. So going in he saluted him, and said: Joy be to thee always.

And Tobias said: What manner of joy shall be to me, who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven?

And the young man said to him: Be of good courage; thy cure from God is at hand.

And Tobias said to him: Canst thou conduct my son to Gabelus at Rages, a city of the Medes?

And the angel said to him: I will conduct him thither, and bring him back to thee.

And Tobias answering, said: May you have a good journey; and God be with you in your way; and his angel accompany you.

Then, all things being ready, that were to be carried in their journey, Tobias bade his father and his mother farewell: and they set out both together. And Tobias went forward; and the dog followed him. And he lodged the first night by the river of Tigris.

And he went out to wash his feet: and behold a monstrous fish came up to devour him. And Tobias, being afraid of him, cried out in a loud voice, saying: Sir, he cometh upon me.

And the angel said to him: Take him by the gill, and draw him to thee.

And when he had done so, he drew him out upon the land: and [the fish] began to pant before his feet.

Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee. For these are necessary for useful medicines.

Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish?

And the angel answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them. And the gall is good for anointing the eyes, in which there is white speck: and they shall be cured.

As the Angel Raphael and Young Tobias approach Rages, the angel tells him they are to stay at the house of Raguel. Furthermore, he instructs Young Tobias to ask for the hand of Raguel’s daughter, Sara, in marriage. Knowing the fate of her previous seven husbands, Young Tobias is reluctant to wed Sara, but Raphael assures him that no harm will come to him, if he does not consummate the marriage for three days and throws the fish entrails on the fire. Raguel receives the travelers with joy and agrees to give his daughter in marriage to Young Tobias, although he is fearful of the consequences.

And after they had supped, they brought the young man to her. And Tobias, remembering the angel’s word, took out of his bag part of the liver, and laid it upon burning coals. Then, the angel Raphael took the devil, and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt.

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.

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

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. 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.

And when they had prepared the pit, Raguel went back to his wife, and said to her: Send one of thy maids, and let her see if he be dead, that I may bury him before it be day.

So she sent one of her maidservants, who went into the chamber, and found them safe and sound, sleeping both together. And returning she brought the good news. And Raguel and Anna his wife blessed the Lord, and said: We bless thee, O Lord God of Israel, because it hath not happened as we suspected. For thou hast shewn thy mercy to us: and hast shut out from us the enemy that persecuted us.

And Raguel adjured Tobias to abide with him two weeks. And of all things which Raguel possessed, he gave one half to Tobias: and made a writing, that the half that remained should after decease come also to Tobias.

The Angel Raphael completes Young Tobias’ errand and brings back his kinsman, Gabelus, to join in the festivities. Meanwhile, the elder Tobias and Anna grow anxious, awaiting the return of their son. Young Tobias also longs to be home. He takes leave of his in-laws and returns to Ninive with his new bride, Sara, and his constant traveling companions, the Angel Raphael and the dog.

And Raphael said to Tobias: As soon as thou shalt come into thy house, forthwith adore the Lord thy God; and giving thanks to him, go to thy father and kiss him. And immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish, which thou carriest with thee. For be assured that his eyes shall be opened, and thy father shall see the light of heaven and shall rejoice in the sight of thee.

Then the dog, which had been with them in the way, ran before; and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. And his father that was blind, rising up, began to run, stumbling with his feet: and giving a servant his hand, went to meet his son. And receiving him kissed him, as did also his wife. And they began to weep for joy.

And when they had adored God, and given him thanks, they sat down together. Then Tobias taking the gall of the fish, anointed his father’s eyes. And he stayed about half an hour: and a white skin began to come out of his eyes, like the skin of an egg. And Tobias took hold of it, and drew it from his eyes. And immediately he recovered his sight. And they glorified God, both he and his wife and all that knew him.

Then Tobias called to him his son, and said to him: What can we give to this holy man, that is come with thee?

So the father and the son calling him, took him aside; and began to desire him that he would vouchsafe to accept half of all the things that they had brought.

Then he said to them secretly: Bless ye the God of heaven, give glory to him in the sight of all that live, because he hath shewn his mercy to you. For it is good to hide the secret of a king: but honorable to reveal and confess the works of God.

I discover then the truth unto you: and I will not hide the secret from you. When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.

And when they had heard these things, they were troubled: and being seized with fear they fell upon the ground on their face.

And the angel said to them: Peace be to you. Fear not. For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him. It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me: but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works.

And when he had said these things, he was taken from their sight: and they could see him no more. Then they lying prostrate for three hours upon their face, blessed God: and rising up, they told all his wonderful works.

The Book of Tobias (Tobit) can be found in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles. It is not included in the Jewish or Protestant Scriptures. This translation is taken from The New American Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible [NACE], Confraternity Version, (Benziger Brothers, Inc.:1961)