I’m reading the Book of Tobit and i came across an intriguing verse. the verse is 12:19. Raphael talks about how he uses an invisible meat and drink which cannot be seen by men. i was wondering what some of your takes would be on the possible meaning of his statement.
Jesus said the same thing in John 4:
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
31 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.
This could be viewed as a prophecy of Jesus’ words by Saint Raphael. Since he is an angel, he has no need of earthly food. His nourishment is in the spiritual realm.
Another translation (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) reads:
Although you were watching me, I really did not eat or drink anything—but what you saw was a vision.
Perhaps someone familiar with manuscripts and translation could comment.
From the Haydock Commentary:
I. Gr. “I appeared to you all the days; yet I did not eat nor drink. But you beheld a vision.” H. — Having an aerial body, he made the provisions disappear, as the sun melts snow. Gen. xviii. 9. C. — He might swallow, though he had no need of meat, (S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xiii. 22.) or digestion, (Grotius) so as to convert it into his substance. M. — Men. I constantly enjoy the beatific vision. Mat. xviii. 10. C.
The Greek, from which the Latin (and therefore, the English) is based, reads:
“πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ὠπτανόμην ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγον οὐδὲ ἔπιον ἀλλὰ ὅρασιν ὑμεῖς ἐθεωρεῖτε”
A rough literal translation might read, “every day, I appeared to you and I did not eat nor drink, but a vision to you, you beheld.”
I love the book of Tobit. It was the scripture being read at weekday Mass upon my return to the Faith. Thank you for reminding me of it, and for the above answers.
=caescob2;11533952]I’m reading the Book of Tobit and i came across an intriguing verse. the verse is 12:19. Raphael talks about how he uses an invisible meat and drink which cannot be seen by men. i was wondering what some of your takes would be on the possible meaning of his statement.
The angel like God is a SPIRITUAL reality, with no need for REAL food or drink. The implication here is that he [the angel] is always in the Beatific Vision. And that alone surfices ALL needs.
John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth.”
St. Thomas sheds some light on this in his Summa
But the food taken by angels was neither changed into the assumed body, nor was the body of such a nature that food could be changed into it; consequently, it was not a true eating, but figurative of spiritual eating. This is what the angel said to Tobias: “When I was with you, I seemed indeed to eat and to drink; but I use an invisible meat and drink”
St. Augustine says
For neither are we to suppose, when men receive them as guests, that the angels eat only in appearance, though to any who did not know them to be angels they might seem to eat from the same necessity as ourselves. So these words spoken in the Book of Tobit, “You saw me eat, but you saw it but in vision;”612 that is, you thought I took food as you do for the sake of refreshing my body.
Aramaic (4Q196 17 i 2): “When I [w]as with you, …] I did [n]ot drink …]”
Greek II: καὶ ἐθεωρεῖτέ με ὅτι οὐκ ἔφαγον οὐθέν, ἀλλὰ ὅρασις ὑμῖν ἐθεωρεῖτο. “Now you were watching me; I did not eat anything, but a vision was being seen by you.”
Greek I: πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ὠπτανόμην ὑμῖν, καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγον οὐδὲ ἔπιον, ἀλλὰ ὅρασιν ὑμεῖς ἐθεωρεῖτε. “All the days I appeared to you, but I did not eat or drink; rather, you were seeing a vision.”
Vetus Latina (Sangermanensis 15): Uidebatis enim me quia manducabam sed uisu uestro uidebatis. “For you used to see me eating, but you were seeing with your own (faculty of) sight.”
Vetus Latina (Monacensis; Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 6239): Nam et quando uidebatis me manducantem uisui uestro uidebatis me quia bibebam. “And when you saw me eating, you were seeing with your own sight that I was drinking.”
Vetus Latina (Bobbiensis): Et uidebatis me quia manducabam sed uiso uestro uidebatis. “And you used to see me eating, but you were seeing with your own sight.”
Vulgate: Uidebar quidem uobiscum manducare et bibere sed ego cibo inuisibili et potu qui ab hominibus uideri non potest utor. “I seemed indeed to eat and drink with you, but I use invisible food and a drink that cannot be seen by human beings.”